Norway offers some of the best cross-country skiing in the world with reliable snow
and stable weather offering almost perfect conditions from Christmas through to mid-April.
In many areas there are extensive networks of marked trails over rolling hills,
through forests, over frozen lakes and in the mountains. The trails are prepared
by machines at regular intervals so they can be used by almost everyone, from beginners
to expert alike. Marked but unprepared trails are also available for more adventurous
and experienced skiers.
If you have not tried cross-country skiing before it is quite easy to learn and does
not need to be any more energetic than walking. Gliding on lightweight skis through
wonderful snow-covered scenery far from crowds and noise is a totally different experience
from downhill skiing. Ski hire is inexpensive, lift passes are not required and a
few hours tuition will get you started. Even with only a little experience you will
be able ski independently on well-marked trails using local trail maps.
All the well known downhill ski resorts also have cross-country trail networks, but
if you want the best experience you need to get away from the big ski lifts. Fortunately,
most of the best areas are easily reached by train or car from Oslo’s main airport
in just a few hours.
Accommodation is always available in mountain hotels or in log cabins, with ski trails
running past the door. Some areas now offer high standard apartments with hotel facilities
on site, which are an increasingly popular option.
Many skiing centres also have one or two small ski lifts, which are great for a fun
afternoon with the kids or improving your technique. There is also nearly always
a floodlit trail which can be used for practice after dark, and can provide a great
adventure with children.
Where to go in winter
There is a superb online guide to cross-country skiing in Norway which can be seen
at www.skiingnorway.com. This gives details of all the basic aspects of the sport
and has details of many different areas. In fact there is probably far too much information
there to make sense of it at first, so we can recommend the following areas which
have excellent skiing, reliable snow conditions and weather, easy access from the
main airports, and a wide choice of accommodation. We can offer individual log cabins
in most areas, but the accommodation recommended below can be reached without having
to hire a car.
Nordseter / Sjusjoen
The two neighbouring villages of Nordseter and Sjujoen share the same trail network
in the hills above the charming town of Lillehammer. It is very easy to get there
by using the frequent train service from Oslo’s main airport to Lillehammer, and
from there a local bus or taxi will take you up to the resort. The total journey
time is about 2,5 hours, and this will be the same if you choose to hire a car.
The skiing here is relatively easy, with little high mountain terrain and few steep
ascents and descents. It is therefore ideal for beginners, but also for experienced
skiers who want to cover long distances. The Olympic competition trails at Lillehammer
are easily reached and open to the public, as well as some excellent new competition
and floodlit training tracks.
Nordseter Fjellstue in the village of Nordseter offers hotel rooms at reasonable
prices and a wide choice of apartments and log cabins nearby. The Rustad Hotel is
in a wonderful setting on the lake shore in the village of Sjusjoen, and offers high
standards of accommodation and food.
This area is a little further north from Nordseter, but also easily accessible by
train or car from Oslo airport. The Venabu Hotel here offers hotel rooms, log cabins
and a wide range of skiing tuition, guided trips and other winter activities.
This area is further north again on the rail line from Oslo airport and takes about
5 hours to get there. It is well worth the extra travel time though to enjoy the
spectacular scenery of the Rondane mountains. Experienced skiers have access to more
challenging mountain trails here, but there is also plenty for beginners and intermediates
to do. We recommend the Oigardseter Hotel here and there are many good log cabins
in the area.
Golsfjellet and Valdres
These adjacent areas can be reached in about 3 to 4 hours by car from Oslo airport,
or a little longer by train or bus from Oslo city centre. Golsfjellet can be reached
easily by using the train from Bergen, which will take you over the high mountains
of Hardangervidda. These areas are also the easiest to reach by car from Bergen,
which takes about 5 hours in winter.
The Kamben Hotel is an excellent hotel base for the Golsfjellet area, whether you
choose to go out on the open mountain plateau, or stay on countryside trails lower
down. Aurdal Fjellpark in the Valdres area offers a choice of apartments and log
cabins in wonderful woodland skiing terrain, just as you imagine Narnia would be
from the children’s book. Great views of the sunrise and sunset, and the Aurdal downhill
ski slopes are just 100m away, though well hidden from the accommodation. The web
site does not do justice to this place - we can highly recommend it.
These downhill ski resorts also have extensive networks of cross-country trails which
will take you far out into the surrounding countryside and mountains. Access is straightforward
in about 3 - 3,5 hours by train and a local bus or taxi from Oslo’s main airport.
More details can be found on their respective web sites and on the downhill skiing
This large downhill ski resort is the only one we can recommend for cross-country
skiing. There are some low-level trails near the town, and hundreds of kilometres
more in the surrounding mountains, right out into the Hardangervidda plateau. The
downhill ski lifts can be useful to gain height without effort at the start of the
day. See the downhill skiing page for more details. Geilo can be reached by train
from Bergen and Oslo, and also by using a direct transfer bus from Oslo airport.
Give us a call or send an email and we will be pleased to provide advice and further
There is an extensive network of cross-country skiing trails in Norway, with signposts
and maps at every junction. (Sjusjoen, Christmas)
Cross-country skiing offers a totally different experience from the downhill slopes.
Cross-country skiing in Norway is great for a family holiday (Golsfjellet, Christmas)
It is impossible to describe in words the beauty of a Norwegian winter sunrise or
sunset. (Aurdal, Christmas, 9 am).
More challenging cross-country skiing terrain. (near Geilo, late March).