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

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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.