Slickrock heaven for biking

Text/pics/video: Simen Berg

How about endless slickrock terrain with marked trails for biking in daytime, combined with high end hotel accommodation and food? Including massage, sauna, hot tub and bonfire story telling on top of this. Canvas Hotel in Telemark offers this incredible mix of adrenaline biking and soothing comfort.

Normally, groups of guests arrive by bike on an hour long trail. Others want to arrive on the 1.5 or 3 hour long trails. The latter on the DNT-trail from Gautefall. Luggage is taken care of. Once in the camp there’s a selection of marked trails, for the time being from 3 to 15 kilometers. Guests are divided in groups based on distance ambitions or technical levels, and guides bring them along to give everyone what they came for. Upon request, guides can easily organize multi-day trips in the area as well.

The trails are flowy and not very steep. The slickrock formations offer any imaginable feature, including streams, lakes and deep and wide cracks in the landscape. These are negotiated with bridges and woodwork in to the necessary extent. Luckily, the trailmaster himself is the landowner, who also is eager riding his bike. So in the years to come, there are loads of trail gems in pipeline here.

FACILITIES
The hotel itself consists of 12 comfy yurts with two beds, heated with firewood. There’s a kitchen tent, sauna and bathrooms.
More information:
canvashotel.no
facebook.com/canvashotelnewsite

EQUIPMENT
The trails are super smooth, so you’ll be fine on everything from a 100mm full suspension bike. 160mm will be overkill, but no problem. You’ll be OK on a hardtail, but should consider renting a Lapierre Zesty at Canvas.

GETTING HERE
Go on E18 to Porsgrunn and follow signs to Drangedal. Or you continue south on E18 and go on Drangedal signs from there. When passing Drangedal, keep going until Gautefall signs show up. Follow them, and stick to the plan you made when booking at the hotel. Allow 3.5 hours from Oslo and a bit more than 1 hour from Porsgrunn.

GPS-TRACKS
15 km/500 vertical meters from the hotel:
connect.garmin.com/course/133893

Gautefall – Canvas Hotel. 15 km/600 vertical one way on DNT trail. Walking trail that lacks the Canvas flow:
connect.garmin.com/course/211728

More info:
Guide at Terrengsykkel.no (in Norwegian) – terrengsykkel.no/index.php?stid=472
Story in Norwegian – terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=3941


1327 vertical meters in one run

Text/pics/video: Simen Berg

Only 1.5 hours by car from Oslo, you can do one of Norway’s most amazing All Mountain rides on your mountainbike.  The climb starts at approximately 800 meters (from the tree line), and follows a truly biker-friendly DNT trail to Høgevarde (peak at 1459m, DNT-hut at 1400m). If you go back down all the way to Krøderen Lake (132m),  you’ll have one of the most majestic singletrack/doubletrack runs you can find in Norway. 25 kilometers downhill, of which only 3 kms on gravel/tarmac roads. And only a couple of handfulls of climbing meters.

From the Høgevarde peak you can enjoy a 360 degree view only surpassed by Gaustatoppen in southeastern Norway (straight to your west when standing there). You can also see Tryvannstårnet in Oslo on clear days.

EQUIPMENT
There’s just one short passage on the climb that’s a bit hard to climb, mostly because of loose rocks. In other words, you’ll be fine on a 120 mm full suspension mountainbike. With more travel, you’ll obviously be more comfy at higher speeds back down the hill. A hardtail will also be OK, but not ideal. Additional protection other than the helmet really isn’t necessary, but I’ll wear light knee/elbow pads the next time I go (watch the video and judge for yourself). Two cars make the shuttling easier, but you might get a lift back to the top, or call the taxi (could be expensive).

GETTING HERE
By car from Oslo, you go on E16 from Sandvika and Riksvei 7 from Hønefoss until you get to Noresund. Then you wanna take a look at the map and start planning. It’s 1.5 hours from Oslo, a little less from Drammen.

Resources:
Guide at Terrengsykkel.no (in Norwegian) – terrengsykkel.no/index.php?stid=471
Map/GPS-track – connect.garmin.com/course/983534
Norefjell – norefjell.com
Weather forecast Norefjell (800m) – http://www.yr.no/sted/Norge/Buskerud/Kr%C3%B8dsherad/Norefjell_skisenter

Accomodation:
Quality Spa & Resort Norefjell (Hotel at Bøseter) – norefjellsparesort.no
DNT (Høgevarde) – turistforeningen.no