Trysil Bike Arena – the unique singletrack experience

SimenBerg-Trysil-0333035
Text/Photo/Video: Simen Berg

Already in their first year of operation (2015), Trysil is the number one place for singletrack mountainbiking on all levels in Scandinavia. Hopefully the leading star that will inspire the rest of the destinations around.

In developing and designing an MTB product from scratch, Trysil does it by the book. And they need to. By 2020 they want to grow the number of summer visits (overnight stays) from 70 000 to 200 000.

Trysil Bike Arena aims at the singletrack mountainbikers, and already offers a well designed skills course and a green/blue 10 km trail in the Gullia. Add to that the typical Norwegian network of natural trails that are looked after, easy to find because of the signs and already on the Bike Trail Map. Not to mention biker friendly accommodation and excellent guides who also teach skills on the way. And there it is – Scandinavias leading mountainbike resort.

Downhill biking in Trysil? Not yet.
For now, the lift runs on Saturday and Sunday. But the downhill trails aren’t worth going there for. At this time. Already this fall (2015), they will start building a blue flow trail aimed at trail bikes. When opening in 2016, it will be an important addition to the red, handbuilt trail that is there now. The 26/28 trail might be OK for some beginners, but experienced riders will not be doing laps there. Sometime in the future there will be more challenging lift served trails, but it’s not a priority. For now, Sälen/Lindvallen and Gesundaberget and Hafjell are the nearest options for big bikes right now.

Heaven for trail biking beginners
The Gullia area opened in June 2015, with the blue trail. The green start of it is not yet ready, but will be shortly. The machine built flow trail is wide, with a gravel top layer. Winding through the landscape like a rollercoaster, this is fun on any mountainbike, at any age, and at any skill level. And suspension is not required at all.

Sweet Dreams is the favorite section, with no pedalling needed. Even the following climb is fun. This area will see more trails in the future.

Natural beauty
Like anywhere in Norway, there’s also a vast number of natural trails around Trysil. And it varies from Elvestien and Pilegrimsleden on the valley floor, to steeper runs like Grimsåsen, Fugleberget and Ørådalen, and up above the tree line from the top of the lift or starting from Fageråsen to do the Trysilrypa trail.

To have a full day on easy trails, you can go by car across the Swedish border to Rörbäcksnäs.

Where to eat in Trysil in summer
As most other things, even eating happens at Radisson Blu Resort Trysil. In addition to the good Italian pizza, they have an a la carte restaurant. On the Trysil main street, I would recommend Cafe Rialto for a double cortado and whatever you need for the next trail.

Where to stay in Trysil in summer
In my opinion, Radisson Blu Resort Trysil is Norway’s best year round resort hotel for active people. By far. Great location, nice rooms, good food, a variety of activities, like pools, indoor surfwave (video below) and bowling. They offer spa treatments and have a sports shop. And last, but not least, a really friendly and solution oriented staff. Each and every one whom I throw a curve ball every now and then seem to work anything out. Unfortunately that’s rare in this business in Norway.
BookTrysilonline.com| Skistar Booking | Trysil.no (Tourist office)

Bike Rental in Trysil
Go to the Sport Lodge’n at Radisson Blu, they have hard tail and full suspension bikes for rent. The same goes for Sentrum Sport down town. Freshen up your shirts and shorts at the Sweet Protection HQ outlet down town.
More info on biking, lift passes, etc in Trysil here

Download/View the Trysil bike map here:
http://www.trysil.no/no/sykkel-trysil/sykkelkart/

Scandinavian Bike Park Tour
If you’re already travelling far, Hafjell Bike Park is a must, so are Swedish Åre Bike Park and Järvsö Bergscykelpark. You might also want to check out Drammen Skisenter/Aronsløypa half an hour west of Oslo.

Sweet Dreams section from Gullia Trail Centre:

Ljørdalsvegen flow trail on Tim’s tail:

Ørådalen flow trail to high speed scare (full run):

Radisson Blu Resort Trysil is Norway’s best year round resort hotel for active people. They have an indoor FlowRider surf wave that is a lot of fun. Sigurd Warren Kristiansen has some tricks up his sleeve.

Verdens Ende til Slottsfjellet – på smalsti over Tjøme og Nøtterøy til Tønsberg

SimenBerg-Tjome-Stisykling-8027Text/pics/vid/gps: Simen Berg

36 kilometer på smalsti, med svaberg, skog, utsikt og flytpartier. Denne turen egner seg like godt nordover som sydover. På grunn av nærheten til sjøen er spesielt Tjøme normalt godt egna for piggfri sykling hele vinteren igjennom. Siden innbyggertallet på Tjøme femdobles i sommerferien, anbefales turen først og fremst fra september til april.

VARIGHET:
Lengden er 33 til 37 km avhengig av rutevalg, med omtrent 500-700 høydemeter ifølge Strava. Det tar fra tre til sju timer avhengig av form og brekkasje på folk og utstyr.

MAT og DRIKKE:
Før: På veien til Verdens ende passerer man helt syd på Nøtterøy Kiwi (inntil veien i Kjøpmannskjær i Vrengensundet). Statoil ved hovedveien i Tjøme sentrum er siste sted for bunkring. Sikkert også det greieste stedet for drikkevann også, selv om det er et servicebygg på Verdens ende (v/gjestehavna).
Under: Man passerer Rimi på Tjøme etter en drøy time, altså er det et egna sted for en teknisk hvil og bunkring. I Vrengensundet ligger 8 glass (åpent i sommerferien, sånn cirka) snublende nær ruta på Tjøme-sida. Kiwi Kjøpmannskjær ligger jo heller ikke så langt borte fra ruta hvis man er desperat. I Vestskogen passeres Statoil/Kiwi i Kjernåsveien, men da er det kort vei igjen til Slottsfjellet og Tønsberg Brygge.
Etter: Havariet på Tønsberg Brygge og Roar i Bua er fine steder å få seg en matbit.

KART, GPS-spor og SIKKERHET:
Langs ruta er det alltid kort vei til nærmeste bilvei, og nummeret til taxi er 33301111. Men det hjelper å vite hvor du er hvis noe skulle skje. Så husk fullada telefon! Der har du selvsagt installert nød-appen til Norsk Luftambulanse. Jeg bruker oftest Navida-appen, som har gode kart og kan vise min posisjon. I nettleseren er mtbmap.no sjukt bra, i tillegg til egen posisjon kan den også vise lag med Strava-heatmap (som blir bedre den dagen vi kan skille på MTB og Road).
På den fullada GPS‘en bruker du OSM lasta ned fra frikart.no, med mtb Norway layer, oppskrift her: mtbmap.no/garmin

Turkart for Tjøme: turkart-tjome.no
Turkart for Nøtterøy: Gå inn på denne lenka og last ned pdf

Hva skal du ha i sykkelsekken?
Ekstra slange(r), lappesaker, pumpe, kjedekutter, tørt skift, gjerne en varm jakke, førstehjelpskit, kontanter til villkiosken i Tokeneskilen, fullada mobil.

Hva slags sykkel egner seg best?
Fulldempa stisykkel med 100 til  130 mm vandring er best. Men det går finfint på hardtail også. Dekkvalg er en smakssak. Her er det alt fra sva og stein til jordbunn og røtter.

Kollektivt

For de som ikke sykler tur/retur fungerer bussing rimelig greit.
Se rutetider er her

Viktig: STIVETT
Vis hensyn til fotturister, de skal passeres med maksimal avstand, og hvis du ikke stopper opp for å la de gå først, skal du maks ha gangfart. OK?! Og låsing av bakhjul i nedkjøringer er ikke akseptert, og straffes som alltid med dårlig karma resten av livet. Det er FORBUDT å sykle i Moutmarka, som er en del av Færder Nasjonalpark. Så der må du eventuelt trille sykkelen.
For øvrig gjelder som alltid vanlig høflighet/folkeskikk, Kardemommeloven og NOTS’ stivettregler.

Her er Strava-sporet fra Slottsfjellet til Verdens Ende, med den ruta jeg anbefaler sydover:
https://www.strava.com/activities/284077837

Her er sporet på Trailguide, hvor du finner flere sløyfer på henholdsvis Nøtterøy og Tjøme:
http://trailguide.no/?trail=555a3e24a5776d3950000522

 

Hemsedal – the best ski resort in Norway

SimenBerg-Hemsedal-0217
Text/pics/video: Simen Berg

Hemsedal has it all. Predictable snow conditions, a central location, amazing offpiste, great variety in the slopes, in addition to nice restaurants and awesome night life. No other Norwegian resort can tick off as many boxes. Oh, and by the way, you have direct access to backcountry touring from “downtown” Hemsedal.

Lifts normally run from the first weekend of November to May. The longest run is more than 6 kilometers (see video below), and you can do offpist runs with a 800 vertical meter drop. You can ski in all aspects of the mountain, and the variety in the groomers section is the best in Norway. 10 to 15 minutes on foot will give you runs with all the challenges you need. And way less tracks.

Variation in slopes
My favorite slope is Hemsedalsløypa. It’s just a shame it isn’t four times as long with an express chairlift next to it. This is why Hemsedal can’t get the top rating for the slopes. The good sections are too short, and require too much traversing. The exception is if you’re into green slopes. Then you’ll be doing great all the way from the very top (1450 masl) down to the base area of the resort, or along Sentrumsløypa to the centre of Hemsedal (new for the ’15 season, requires you to catch the ski bus back to the lifts). For experienced skiers, the best run is from the top of Hamaren and down Såhaugløypa or Hemsedalsløypa. On Fridays you can ski until 10 pm (some other nights until 7 pm), and in the high season you can go skiing from 7:30 am and have breakfast by the slopes some mornings.

Watch Lodgen Spiseri boss Iren Halbjørhus go to work from Totten (1450 – 610 masl)

Offpist skiing in Hemsedal – straight from the lift
When conditions are right, the options off the slopes are countless. Especially if you master (dense) forest skiing. Straight from the Totten II lift and Tinden lift everyone can get a taste of offpiste skiing in easy conditions above the tree line. (Super)Breidalen and Skaanebollen are legendary runs. Experienced skiers and snowboarders enjoy classics like Reidarskaret and Gummiskogen. And everything in between. I’m sorry that I’m not giving away the best runs. Powder snow is too precious for that. Hemsedal used to be one of the stops for the Norwegian Freeride Tour, actually the first place to host a freeride comp i Norway. Nowadays they just host the junior tour in Mortenskaret.

Skiing with kids in Hemsedal
The kids love Hemsedal. The children’s slopes by the Lodge has a lot of great things going on. And the easy runs on the rest of the mountain gives access to the next level of riding alongside mum and dad. There’s also a nursery (barnehage), Valles Barnepass, for the babies and when the older ones want to stay in while the parents get a few runs on their own.
Ski lessons aren’t that common among Norwegians, but all of us would have a lot more fun if we just would hire a ski instructor every now and then. Just ask my dad who relearned alpine skiing at the age of 70…

Hemsedal terrain park
Thanks to Burton snowboards’ yearly May photo shoot, Hemsedal gained massive attention in the terrain park segment in the late 90’s and early ’00s. After a decade or so of fading, it seems like the resorts interest in park riders is picking up. But the pros tend to go elsewhere to ride big features. Mikkel Bang and Mads Jonsson are among the stars who consider Hemsedal their “Home Mountain”. Obviously the skiers outnumber the boarders. Jon Olsson and Henrik Windstedt did one of their first big jump competitions abroad here. Now the rising star Øystein Bråten from nearby Torpo can be spotted on a regular basis, so can his brother Gjermund Bråten.

Backcountry ski touring in Hemsedal
Over the past ten years, touring has exploded in Hemsedal. Along the road over Hemsedalsfjellet, you see tracks all over the place. Skogshorn, Nibbi, Skurvefjell are all nice mountains with easy access. The latter you can get to from the Hemsedal village without a car.

Cross country skiing in Hemsedal
Holdeskaret: Past the lifts you find groomed tracks to the south, including Flævasshytta by Flævassdammen. Some even take you to Bergsjøstølen and Ål.
Gravset: The cross country arena with partly lighted groomed tracks – for as long as you want to go. The network of tracks in the area connects with Golsfjellet and Lykkja/Vaset towards Valdres.
Follow the tracks: There are also tracks on the valley floor. Check where the run and when they got groomed on Skisporet.no

– Read my story on fatbiking in Hemsedal in winter

Night life and restaurants in Hemsedal
The party scene in Hemsedal is only matched by a few resorts when it comes to the apres ski (afterski). On weekends and during holidays, late night clubbing is only matched by Oslo (if you ride Tryvann/Oslo Vinterpark).
15 years ago it all happened at Hemsedal Café when the lifts closed. Now it’s more spread out. My favorite recipe is an offpist run from Roni to Skarsnuten Hotel. By far the best view, and normally my kind of music. If it gets to low key, you just ski down to Stavkroa for the club feeling and dancing on the tables. Skistua normally offers live cover bands. The more mellow options are Hollvin and Lodgen. In the centre of Hemsedal, Hemsedal Café will probably cater to the ones who finish the day with “Sentrumsløypa”. Some will go to T-kroken or Champagneria. Through this first season with “ski in” access “downtown”, the crowd will decide where the action is. Late at night, Hemsen offers DJ gigs and concerts. Downtown, Bar(t) is the place, unfortunately unpredictable when it comes to DJ bookings.

Where to eat on the slopes: Hemsedal has evolved a lot when it comes to food over the last few years. My favorite is Fjellkaféen (outside peak hours). When Skigaarden opens, Bølgen & Moi will grant excellent food experiences. Lodgen Spiseri has changed A LOT for the better for the ’15 season, and Hollvin and Skistua are nice as well. I haven’t tried Skarsnuten lately, hopefully they have improved like the rest of the restaurants in Hemsedal. (I’ll update this post as soon as I know.)

Where to eat at night: The best places to eat tend to change with the chefs in the kitchen. For a long time Kjøkkenkroken has been the safest bet for Hemsedal. At Skogstad Hotel you now have both a sushi restaurant, plus tapas at Champagneria. If you’re into pizza, Peppe’s is found downtown. Steaks are presumably good at Big Horn Steak House by Stavkroa at the resort base area. Lodgen Spiseri is probably the best stop for dinner. And nothing beats the view at Skarsnuten, but until I try it again, I can’t vouch for the food there. At Skigaarden, Bølgen & Moi opened around New Year’s 2014.

Where to stay in Hemsedal
There are lots of rental cabins and apartments available. You need to decide whether you want lodging to be ski in/ski out, if you can do with access to the ski bus or if you’re fine about relying on the car to get to the slopes. Skarsnuten Hotel and Skarsnuten Panorama is my favorite place to stay. Sunny and nice, ski in/ski out, and the greatest view.
Accommodation booking: Skistar | GoHemsedal

How to get to Hemsedal
From Oslo: By car the drive is up to 3 hours, depending on traffic (roads E16, RV7, RV52). You can go by bus or train+bus.

How to get out of Hemsedal
Hemsedal doesn’t always get massive snow falls. But often the West Coast resorts Sogndal (2 hrs) and Myrkdalen/Voss (2:15) pick up snow from low pressures coming from Iceland. In Hemsedal, they need the low pressure to come from the UK/Denmark. Wind directions east and southeast mean nice snow falls and powder conditions.

What to do in Hemsedal in summer?
Downhill biking:
Lifts run all summer, and the bike park is worth a visit. The area also offers gravel roads and singletrack trails for mountain biking.
Hiking: Trails are marked and all over the place.

Resources:
Ski Resort: Skistar.com/Hemsedal | facebook.com/Hemsedal
Booking: Skistar | GoHemsedal
Travel: Bus – Nor-Way.no | Train – NSB.no
Weather: YR.no

About me and Hemsedal: I’ve skied there for twenty years, worked there as a PR and communications manager one winter and write stories about it and shoot pictures there on a regular basis. As a skier I’m into easy access offpist skiing.

More on Norway’s best skiing and ski resorts (work in progress):
Narvik skisenter ski resort
Bjorli skisenter ski resort
Stryn Sommerskisenter Glacier summer skiing
Turtagrø Hotel Hurrungane Jotunheimen topptur backcountry touring skiing
Some forest pow skiing:

Järvsö Bergscykel Park – Quick Guide

Story in progress.

In a short time, Järvsö Bergscykel Park, has grown to become Scandinavia’s #3 bike park, behind Åre and Hafjell.
At first, the runs on the mountain might seem a bit short, but once you get into the groove, there’s plenty to get after over a few days.

If you’re into singletrack biking on a trail bike, check out Trysil Bike Arena.

Twist Twist (full run behind Kjell Arne)

Manolito –> Tuff Brud (full run behind Kjell Arne)

Malin –> Barbro (full run behind Kjell Arne and Julia)

Travel to Järvsö
A stopover in Järvsö Bike Park on the way to Åre Bike Park will do you good on the Scandinavian Bike Park Tour. Hafjell Bike Park in Norway is a must, and on weekends and some Wednesday nights, Drammen Skisenter, half an hour outside Oslo is also worth while.

Drammen Skisenter Bike Park – Quick Guide

SimenBerg-Aron-6114

Text/Photo/Video: Simen Berg

With a mix of man made and natural trails, Drammen Skisenter, has something for everyone. Including a network of top notch singletrack from the top of the lift. Normally called “Aronsløypa” by the locals, this urban hill is easily within range from Oslo, just 30 minutes away.

A lot has changed from my first visit in 2006. In a good way. Fortunately, the awesome locals and hosts Erik and Guri are still around.

About the Drammen Bike Park trails
Flyt is the easy trail that y0u easily could ride on your hardtail. The “113” trail has a few wooden features, and ,as the name implies, it requires a more dedicated riding style, with drops and gaps. Not too hard, but still not for beginners. On the easier note, you have Bollestien and Hennings. The first one fairly straight in the fall line along Kjøsterudjuvet, the latter less steep and a lot longer. From Flyt, you can mix it up with sections from NM-løypa.

About heavenly singletrack
From the top of the lift, you can access an enormous trail network, that will keep you smiling. A lot. And everytime you think back. With a mixture of slickrock and dense forest, the trails are smooth and flowy. The hillside is littered with trails, so with a full suspension trail bike, you can do lift supported runs all day. Or just do longer rides on the plateau and finish with some of the special stages from the DrammeEnduro that left grown men giggling (see map below).

Here’s the machine built Flyt, second by second.

Here’s one of my favorites, Bollestien. Full run, second by second.

Hennings trail, also full run, second by second:

NM-løypa + Rett ned (?)

TBE singletrack run, second by second. Not an official part of the bike park, but it gives you an idea of the terrain.

 

Scandinavian Bike Park Tour
If you’re already travelling far, Hafjell Bike Park is a must, so are Swedish Åre Bike Park and Järvsö Bergscykelpark.
If you’re into singletrack biking on a trail bike, check out Trysil Bike Arena.

Check my Strava Bike Park map for Drammen here

DrammenSkisenter.no
Facebook.com/Drammenskisenter
DrammEnduro comp:

 


Here’s the DrammEnduro 2014 trail map

Hafjell Bike Park – the best berms in the business (updated)

Hafjell Bike Park. Foto: Simen Berg

Makken flying high in Rollercoaster, Hafjell Bike Park. Foto: Simen Berg

Text/photo: Simen Berg

Hafjell BP opening hours 2015:
June 20th- through August: Thursday – Sunday (Mon-Wed closed)
September: Saturday + Sunday
October: Høstferien

Hafjell Bike Park continues (update Oct 27th ’14)
Alpinco threatened to shut down the bike park (see below), but now there are great news for the 2015 season (opening hours above). In a press release they announce a season running from June 20th to the beginning of October. Through August they will be open Thursday – Sunday. In other words, biking tourists will have to spend Monday – Wednesday on their trail bikes riding singletrack at Skeikampen or Hafjelltoppen/Pellestova area. The latter will, according to the press release, get more signs, and that’s a good thing.

The best biking trails in Scandinavia
180 kilometers north of Oslo, you find Hafjell, right by the Olympic city of Lillehammer. The host of the 2014 Mountain Bike World Championships.

Hafjell Bike Park already has a legendary status among the top downhill riders from the 2012 and 2013 World Cup events. Steve Smith named it “the best berms in the business”, and introduced #BermBoner. That tells you a lot, add to that Peaty’s remark from 2012, when he had to go back to the 90ies to remember a WC track that he liked as much as this.

For everyone
But Hafjell is far from just racing. You can easily have a laugh on your hardtail. From top to bottom: Moetown – Parkløypa – Nameless – Ekspressen – Brattlykkja – Dessert

For more challenging singletrack, take Gressløypa or Old School / New School or NM-løypa and add Råbølstien.

If you like airtime, Rollercoaster is a lot of jumps, combined with “the best berms in the business”. Just ask Makken.

 

Singletrack mecca as well
The network of trails for singletrack biking on a trailbike from the top of the lift is amazing. Birken (Birkebeinerrittet) and Ultrabirken trails and gravel roads are parts of what the Hafjell Plateau offers.
View/downoad gps tracks from trailguide.no: Hafjell -Hitfjell-Kriksfjell-Reinsfjell and Hafjell-Nevelfjell
The trails at Skeikampen only 30 minutes away, are some of the most flowy in Norway.

Hafjell Bike Park continues (update Oct 27th ’14)
Alpinco threatened to shut down the bike park (see below), but now there are great news for the 2015 season (opening hours above). In a press release they announce a season running from June 20th to the beginning of October. Through August they will be open Thursday – Sunday. In other words, biking tourists will have to spend Monday – Wednesday on their trail bikes riding singletrack at Skeikampen or Hafjelltoppen/Pellestova area. The latter will, according to the press release, get more signs, and that’s a good thing.

Last season? See update on top!
Unfortunately it seems like the Hafjell owner, Alpinco, with shareholders Pasab (Petter Stordalen/Buchardt) and Investinor are eager to shut Hafjell Bike Park down. With hardly any promotion at all and finishing off the season before they even have the “Closing weekend”, the most profitable weekend of the year, it seems obvious that the main goal is to make sure that the bike park loses money.
For one thing, closing the day after the World Championships Downhill final is a bad idea. All riders, media and crew have their first “day off” of the season. After they sleep off the hangover, they go riding. With cameras. Also the weekdays before the Masters Championships, no lifts are running.

Hafjell in winter time
Obviously, the 1994 Olympics venue for Alpine skiing (snowboard was hardly invented back then) is a winter destination as well. But not for me, as I don’t care much for the slopes. But if you do, Hafjell is among top ten in Norway for carving.

Here’s Moetown and Parkløypa for you:

Here’s Expressen:

Hafjell eating and nightlife
Skavlen on top of the gondola serves lunch, I really enjoy the Pulled Pork with coleslaw and the Pizza. Waffles + “Kanelbolle” are OK, and although they don’t have a coffe machine, the Americano is OK.
The only place for afterbike beer is Woody’s in the base area. They also serve sad burgers, but 2015 news is that they finally have decent coffee.
At night there are no other options than going to Lillehammer, unless it’s the opening/closing weekend. Then there’s a party above the bike shop. 2015 news is that this place, Ryk & Reis offers a place in the sun for great pizza and burgers. Not to mention a beer, glass of wine, etc.

Hafjell accommodation
There are three major booking options. This far none of them seem interested enough to offer bundled packages with lift pass/accommodation/bike rental. Make sure that the place you book isn’t far away on the top of the mountain.
norskhytteudlejning.dk
hafjellresort.no
hafjellbooking.com

Travel to Hafjell
Driving from Oslo takes 2 hours and 15 minutes on the main road between Trondheim and Oslo/Gardermoen Airport.
The train stops at Hunderfossen and Lillehammer – NSB.no (note that bringing bikes on the train could be a hassle)
The bus stops in Øyer, right by Hafjell. NOR-WAY.no  (note that bringing bikes on the bus could be a hassle)

Scandinavian Bike Park Tour
If you’re already travelling far, add Swedish Åre Bike Park and Järvsö Bergscykelpark to your Great Scandinavian Bike Park Tour. For natural trails, Drammen Skisenter/Aronsløypa (half hour from Oslo) is worth while as well.
If you’re into singletrack biking on a trail bike, check out Trysil Bike Arena.

Also in the Hafjell/Øyer/Hunderfossen area
Hunderfossen amusement park – an awesome place for all ages.
Lillehammer Olympic Bob & Luge Wheelbob, also at Hunderfossen
Lilleputthammer – mostly for kids below 10 years.

Here’s my first ever action shot in Hafjell Bike Park. The guru himself, Snorre Pedersen:

Snorre Pedersen (2005) NM-løypa. Foto: Simen Berg

Snorre Pedersen (2005) NM-løypa. Foto: Simen Berg

 

 

 

Hafjell Bike Park, NM rundbane XCO 2006. Foto: Simen Berg

Hafjell Bike Park, NM rundbane XCO 2006. Foto: Simen Berg

Åre Bike Park – the Whistler of Scandinavia

SimenBerg-AreBikePark-0150Text/Photo/Film: Simen Berg

Åre is a true mountain bike resort, with a Whistler vibe. Not only because of all the vertical meters from top to bottom, but also because the cozy town is all about biking.

Every year we spend a few days in Åre, and with some friends among the locals, we know the place fairly well.

For years, Åre Mountain Mayhem was the main summer event. Now Åre Freeride Festival organized by Åre Bergscyklister in early July is the busiest week of the season.

The Bike Park
The lift system runs from Åreskutan (lift to 1274 masl) down to 389 masl at VM 8:an.

From VM 6:an, Lilla Blå and Flinbanan (see film below) will get you started with a smile on your face. More hectic and challenging are Nelson/Tjernis and DH-banan. The next level is served by Hummeln, and gives access to quite a few trails, including the popular Shimano-leden. And the new (2014) trail Uffes, after the former bike park manager, Ulf Olofsson.

From VM 8:an you can do Månskogen/Getrappet and Bräckebäcksleden. Respectively smooth and rough happiness on two wheels. Keep going up, and you’re facing 9 km and 20 minutes of pleasure. Easy Rider is an amazing collection of berms, while 1000 metersleden and Hellrajd are all natural.

Preseason riding in May happens from Bergbanan on the lower slopes.

Åre Eating/Night Life
Get the daytime snack (fika) at Stormköket on top of Åreskutan. Fjällgården is more of a restaurant, but still on the hill.
The after bike spots are Dahlbom and Broken. The latter has amazing tex-mex.
Wersén’s has an excellent dinner menu. Including reindeer, that really blew my mind when I tried it.
At night, Dahlbom is the place for bubbles and drinks, if you didn’t get too many on their sunny terrasse in the afternoon. The best bar (by far) for bikers by bikers is Parkvillan.

Travel to Åre
The train connects Åre to Stockholm and Trondheim, just pay attention to distances and logistics when you book a place to stay. Getting the bike on the train in Trondheim might be tricky, but normally it works out. By plane you go to Trondheim or Östersund.
Driving from Oslo, I prefer to do 710 kms through Sweden (via Kongsvinger/Torsby). With a stopover in Järvsö Bike Park on the way. For the Scandinavian Bike Park Tour, add Swedish Järvsö and Hafjell Bike Park in Norway. On weekends and some Wednesday nights, Drammen Skisenter, half an hour outside Oslo is also worth while.
If you’re into singletrack biking on a trail bike, check out Trysil Bike Arena.

Åre Accommodation
To leave the car parked the whole visit, we usually stay close to the square. STF Åre Torg used to be a bargain, but still is a good deal in the midst of everything. We can also recommend bike in/bike out Hotel Granen. Skistar will normally have bike package deals, so check it out. Parkvillan also has accommodation.

Resources
Åre Bike Park
– ÅBP Facebook
Åre Bergscyklister (Local MTB bike club)

A couple of films to give you an idea (more to come).

Tobbe Spesial, starting at Hummeln
On Tobias Liljeroth’s tail: Örnnästet – Rydbergs väg – Shimano-leden – Västra Stjärnvägen – Solstigen – Getrappet

Sondre (10) – first day on the new bike
A young man, Sondre (10), got a new bike and got to try it out with his dad Rune Dahl on his tail in Flinbanan. Seems like the youngsters already has his bike sorted out.

Heliskiing Sestriere

SimenBerg-Sestriere-6046
Text/vid/pics: Simen Berg

Early March 2014, we did three runs with Pure Ski Company in Sestriere.

The soft snow was getting scarce in Monetier. It was a week after snowfall in Serre Chevalier, with some heavy winds destroying what was not protected by the trees. We called Mike at Pure Ski, and they had room for the two of us the following day.

Our guides were Filippo Armand and Denis Boudoin. We did three runs in Valle Argentera, and they were:
– Monti Della Luna (800 vertical meters)
– Telegraphe (600 vertical meters)
– Punta Rognosa, ending in the Sestriere ski resort (1000 vertical meters)

All runs were north facing, protected from the sun. However, the first had parts of it ruined by wind. The second and third were all untracked, fresh snow.

The runs were not particularly steep, but we felt that the guides gave us the liberty to ski the steep sections we could get to, and the only thing holding us back was my need for stopping to shoot pictures.

The first lift costs 200 euros, the following cost 150 euros per person.

We had a fantastic Borgata lunch at  Da Casse (Lou Brachettes) to finish off the day. We spent a couple of nights at Chalet Edelweiss, with an amazing view of the tracks from our last run from Punta Rognosa. A week after snowfall, we found dry, untracked pow in the steep forest, and were really impressed with the resort. As well as the Pure Ski heliskiing, of course.

More info:
Pure Ski  |  Sestriere / Vialattea  |  Chalet Edelweiss

Fatbike in the winter mountains of Hemsedal

Simen Berg, Bjøberg, Hemsedal

Simen Berg, Bjøberg, Hemsedal

Text/Photo/Video: Simen Berg

The Fatbike is gaining popularity around the world. In 2013 there were a few handfuls of bikes in Norway, now they’re in the thousands.

To try it out, we borrowed Surly bikes from the importer, Brown Couch, plus my friend Are. It also turned out he had done the ride we had planned for the day.

– Check out my quick guide to Hemsedal Skisenter/ski resort

BJØBERG – GRØNDALEN
We dropped one car off by the golf course in Grøndalen, not far from Solheisen. Then we got a lift to Bjøberg, close to the highest point of Hemsedalsfjellet.

The skiing tracks had not been prepared for many days, so the climb started off a bit loose. But it got a lot better as we gained some altitude. Basically there was from 5-10 cms of snow on a firm base. The ride was about 17 kms, with a moving time of 1:42.

Fatbike rental at Skarsnuten Hotell

IN SUM: DID WE LIKE IT?
It was our first experience with fatbikes. It is intriguing to be able to ride a bike on snow like this. But Kathrine and I agreed that we prefer skiing when conditions are like this. I can’t describe how frustrating it was to pedal downhill for kilometers, instead of going four times as fast on skis… And when the snow is gone, we prefer our full suspension trail bikes.

Sykkelkanalen – Telemarkskanalen

SimenBerg-Telemarkskanalen-6123Tekst/Bilder: Simen Berg
English story will follow shortly.

Joda, Telemarkskanalen er så absolutt Victoria og de andre kanalbåtene. Men det er veldig mye mer, og alt det andre gjør området virkelig attraktivt for aktive i alle aldre.

I tillegg til særdeles gode muligheter for kano og kajakk, ligger sykkel høyt på lista over aktuelle aktiviteter. Det er mange merkede sykkelruter i området. Vi testa en av disse i juni. For øvrig har området mellom Ulefoss og Murane en rik industri- og kulturhistorie, så det er viktig å ta seg god tid.

Vi tok utgangspunkt i Lunde, som er et knutepunkt i området, med serverings- og overnattingssteder og naturskjønne omgivelser. Telemark Kanalcamping og Lunde Slusekro har idyllisk beliggenhet ved kanalen, mens de som trenger tak over hodet bor høyt og luftig på Lunde Vandrerhjem.

Sykkeltur Lunde – Vrådal
Kortversjonen av disse 59 kilometerne: Dette er en flott tur på fredelige asfaltveier for de som har syklet noe før. God asfalt inviterer til treningssykling for landeveisfolket, og barn som har blitt tenåringer bør fint kunne ta hele turen. Med yngre barn bør dagsetappene kortes inn.

Vi fikk oss en solid frokost på Lunde Vandrerhjem før start. I bagasjen hadde vi med oss det vi trodde vi ville trenge av mat og drikke. Det skulle komme godt med.

Murane
Etter noen få kilometer på flat asfalt, kommer vi til Murane, som starter ved Hogga sluse. Dette er det mest idylliske partiet på denne turen, med en velfrisert grusvei på en opparbeidet veistubb som kom da demningen ved Hogga kom. Strekningen er 1,7  kilometer og ender ved Strengen bru.

Her begynner også det kuperte terrenget langs Flåvatn. Stedvis har vi flott utsikt ned på til vannet, som ligner mest på sen vestlandsfjord. Når vi nærmer oss Kilen Camping får vi kjenning med vannet som skvulper mot svabergene.

Matauk?
Vi slipper med skrekken på Kilen Camping. For etter noen timer på sykkelsetet er tiden nemlig overmoden for is og kaffe. På bunnen av isdisken finner vi hele tre Isabella og fire Lollipop, så da får det ikke hjelpe at de ikke selger kaffe denne soldagen midt i juni.

Sammen med Omnes Camping er Kilen eneste sted for forfriskninger, så du her avhengig av god planlegging.

Veien videre går småkupert mot Fjågesund, hvor veien krysser broa og følger Kviteseidvatnet på sydsida. Her blir oppover- og nedoverbakkene lengre.

Monsterbakken?
På Bygdetunet i bunnen av Kviteseidkleivene er det på tide å fylle på med både vått og tørt. For 270 høydemeter på 4 kilometer gir 7% stigning og en halvtime med pining av lårmuskulaturen på slutten av sykkeldagen. Da er det desto deiligere å slutte å tråkke på toppen av bakken og bare trille inn på tunet på Straand Hotell i Vrådal.

Straand Hotel
I gamlehuset på hotellet venter rom med utsikt til skiheisen og vannet. Mens vi nyter en god og innholdsrik middagsbuffet blir vi sittende å prate om hvor mye snillere enn ventet denne sykkelturen var. Og krampene vi satt og etter hvert lå og ventet på, kom aldri.

Retur med Victoria
Selv ikke da vi klatra på syklene igjen neste morgen, hadde vi noen plager. Verken med ømme bakender eller låste muskler. På halvannen time var vi på plass på brygga i Kviteseid. Som de eneste passasjerene ombord hadde vi god plass til å slumre under dekk i et par timer.

Fakta om denne turen fra GPS’en (se sporene under)
59 km, 978 høydemeter, tid i bevegelse 4 t 4 min, snittfart (av tiden i bevegelse) 14,5 maksfart 60 km/t.

Alternativer
Varianter av denne turen er enkelt å få til med å legge inn overnatting på Kilen Camping og eventuelt forlenge turen til Dalen. En innarbeidet variant er å ta båten til Dalen, og sykle motsatt vei. Med overnatting i Vrådal og Kilen. I tillegg er sykkelrundene rundt Lunde velegna for ekstra dager.

FAKTA
Telemarkskanalen har sesong fra 18. mai – 21. september (2013)

Reisen til Telemarkskanalen
Alle på vestsida av Oslofjorden har Telemarkskanalen godt innenfor dagsturavstand. Fra Oslo til Lunde tar det under 2,5 timer med bil. I tillegg stopper Sørlandsbanen samme sted. Fra Skien er det også forbindelse med båt og buss.

Tips:
– Kanalcampingen har det meste du trenger til sykkelturen, både for salg og utleie.  Hvis de mangler noe, er det bare en svipptur med bil til Ulefoss og Sport 1-butikken der.

– Bestill utstyr på forhånd for å være sikker på å få utstyr i riktig størrelse.

– Utenfor feriene er det god plass på båtene søndag. Så det kan være et behagelig alternativ til full båt på lørdagene. Bestill billett på forhånd i alle fall.

– Vann trenger du normalt ikke å bære med for mye av, siden det er bra med bekker langs veien.

Aktiviteter i området
Sommarland
Norsjø Kabelpark
Fisking
Kano og Kajakk
Sykling, både landevei og grus
Bruk egen båt
Klatring

LES MER

Telemark Kanalcamping

Lunde Vandrerhjem

Lunde Slusekro

Sport 1 Ulefoss

Straand Hotel

Telemarkreiser

Visit Telemark

GPS-spor
Lunde Vandrerhjem – Lunde Kanalcamping – Fjågesund – Kviteseid – Vrådal/Straand
http://connect.garmin.com/course/4017931
Straand – Kviteseid sentrum – Kanalbåten Victoria – Lunde
http://connect.garmin.com/course/4017922

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