Norway takes skiing pretty seriously. For them it is a way of life, entwined in their culture. A means to get about, simply put on a bit of wood and slide along to the cafe. But to the outside world, skiing in Norway doesn’t exist. Ask them to name its best known resorts and they could be racking their brains for days. Or even worse Googling it, once your back is turned (FYI; it is Geilo, Hemsedal and Beitostolen). So it is surprising, that it once sat at the popular table of ski resorts in Europe.
Year after year, British people flocked to Northern Europe. Drawn by the rolling hills, intersected by fjord after fjord. Combine that with their laid back nature and love of all things British, it became like a home from home. A home with plentiful powder and long seasons. And then for some reason, they stopped. The resorts became just for the locals benefit, overlooked by outsiders who favoured the Alps. Misconceptions and myths started to develop around the destination. There weren’t enough people to defend it. They spread like wildfire.
The most common of them were:
- It’s too expensive.
- There’s only fast food
- There is no alpine terrain
- The village are too rustic
- There is nothing to do but ski
All of them are untrue. So to dispel them, we will go through them one by one.
Skiing is too expensive
Claims that it is too expensive are ludicrous. Skiing in Norway is for everyone so the resorts are more affordable (or if you like a pun affjordable). They rely on weekend skiers, if the prices are too high they simply wouldn’t go. Where the prices have risen in the rest of Europe they have remained the same in Norway.
There’s only fast food
The claim that there is only fast food is a silly one. Not a lot of people know this, but Scandinavians are massive foodies. If a hotel opened up and served sub standard food in a Norwegian ski resort it would be quickly run out of town by the locals. That’s not to say, that fast food doesn’t exist (where in the world doesn’t it) but there is more to eating in Norway than just burgers.
There’s no alpine terrain
The existence of this myth is at least understandable. Norway has limited alpine runs, but they do exist. Hemsedal, is one that springs to mind. In fact, some of the downhill teams head there early in the season to get a bit of practice in. If it’s good enough for professionals then it is good enough for me.
The villages are too rustic
To say the villages are too rustic is stupid. It is purely aesthetics. Norway is rustic not rusty. There are numerous luxury options in resort and the cabins when you step inside are well laid out. You have to remember that Norway has one of the highest standards of living in Europe. So, to think that you will have it rough it for a week is stupid.
There is nothing to do but ski
Although skiing in Norway 24/7 is not a bad thing and actually quite feasible with the floodlit runs, there is so much more to it. Resorts like Geilo, offer treetop climbs, snow treks or dog sledding. There is even the possibility of seeing one of Norway’s greatest sights, the fjords. The rivers intersecting through the rolling hills will make you fall in love with the place.
So with all those myths banding about unchecked (until now), it is no surprise that the land of the midnight sun is overlooked. But for how long? With so many slopes in Western Europe becoming bloated, it will only be a matter of time before people look to go elsewhere. The quiet slopes of Norway are waiting there, curled, ready to pounce. Tour operators like Crystal Ski are re-entering the market. Once the people return, the myths will disappear and Norway can return to its place at the popular table. Doesn’t the country that invented deserve to be there?