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.

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.

New Bike Park in Oslo Sommerpark Tryvann

Text: Simen Berg Photo/Video: Simen Berg

PLEASE NOTE – THE BIKE PARK WILL NOT BE OPEN AFTER THE 2013 SEASON!
Drammen Skisenter (half hour drive) and Hafjell Bike Park (two hours drive) are the closest alternatives.

On June 29th 2012, Norway got an addition to the list of lift served bike parks aimed at those who like to fly down trails on full suspension downhill/freeride bikes. Oslo Sommerpark now offers five trails, of which one is a hand built DH race track. Next year they will add another three trails.

Fairly new sport in Norway
Gravity based biking in bike parks really started off for real in Hafjell around 2005. Until then, most of the action happened in Frognerseteren, close to Holmenkollen. Served by line 1 on the Oslo subway system between Skådalen and Frognerseteren. And that’s the same stop you will get the closest to Oslo Sommerpark by the Tryvann tower. More about the other bike parks later.

About the park
This bike park is a totally incredible accomplishment, taking into consideration that it all was built from scratch in less than two months.

But here it actually is, and five trails are up and running, with three more to come in 2013. Bike Park guru Snorre Pedersen from Hafjell Bike Park designs the trails, so no rookie mistakes around here.

The five trails are:

  • Begynnern: Flowy and bermy out in the open.
  • Eastside: Some tables and berms, but mostly tight corners on a narrower, machine built trail in the forest.
  • Fri Flyt: High speed trail with a lot of air time.
  • Stiknuser’n: Singletrack
  • Ryehufsa: Sportsklubben Rye built a downhill track for Norwegian Cup events.

Note: Please note that the videos were filmed on the very first opening day, with loose and wet conditions.

BEGYNNER’N TRAIL June 27th

EASTSIDE TRAIL June 27th

FRI FLYT TRAIL June 27th

About the bikes
Begynnern and Eastside are smooth enough for hard tails until the brake bumps get to tiresome. With a full suspension trail / AM bike you’ll be fine in Stiknusern as well.
With a freeride/downhill bike you’ll be happy all over the place.

Links:
OsloSommerpark.no

More Norwegian parks
Hafjell is the best bike park in Norway. Half an hour from Oslo, Drammen Skisenter offers excellent biking. In addition, you can enjoy lift served downhill biking at Geilo, Hemsedal, Ål, Narvik, Vrådal, Hovden, Ulriksbanen (Bergen), Fjellheisen (Tromsø).

Bike Park Stories Åre, Gesundaberget, Hafjell and Oppdal

Oppdal Bike Park - Erik Gravem

Oppdal Bike Park - Erik Gravem. Photo: Simen - Bergphoto.net

Unfortunately in Norwegian only, but you might wanna check out the pics:

Oppdal, Norway: http://terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=2361

Hafjell, Norway:
http://www.friflyt.no/index.php?pagenr=12&articlenr=55403
http://terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=2420

Åre, Sweden: http://terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=2366

Gesundaberget, Sweden: http://terrengsykkel.no/index.php?id=2242