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.

Hemsedal – the premium 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.

BUT
Skistar Hemsedal is (proudly) the most expensive resort in Norway, and snow conditions and the quality of the slopes may not necessarily reflect that. A two day lift pass will set you back 860 NOK, about a hundred euros (Oct. 2016). Unfortunately it is only the price that is premium.
A lot of young people go there to party, and if you’re not paying attention to where you book your stay, you could be sorry.
On Saturdays and holidays, the slopes to get crowded, so do the lift lines.
If you are good skier who goes there for off piste skiing or on not so busy days, you’ll normally be fine.

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 around in Hemsedal
In high season, the ski buss service is really good. Unfortunately the taxi service in Hemsedal normally is a disaster.

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:

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

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.

Stryn Sommerski/summer skiing back on track

SimenBerg-Stryn-5382Baksida: Kathrine cruising on May 18th.

Text/photo: Simen Berg

With an impressive 540 meter vertical drop, Stryn Sommerski summer skiing offers better freeride terrain than a lot of winter resorts.

Read stories in Norwegian: May 2013 and June 2005

This year, I returned for the first time since biking took over as the number one spring activity seven years ago. And MAN, how great it was to be back. We lucked out with warm summer temperatures already 17th to 20th of May, with both lifts running from the very start on the pre-opening weekend.

After quite a few years with issues concerning the running of the resort, it now seems to be solved with new owners and an experienced and dedicated crew.

As long as Stryn didn’t live up to it’s potential for a period of time, both Juvass and Folgefonna have gained ground lately. Especially when it comes to the terrain park and photo sessions at Folgefonna.

The freeriders know what they get here, and are certainly on their way back. Because Folgefonna/Juvass can’t match the terrain. And with Stryn hosting the Snowboard national championships the second weekend of June in a killer park, they will work their way back to the top.

Facts below the pics

Facts

Season:
Mid May – July (or whenever the snow melts)

Stryn and Folven Accommodation, Eating, Night Life
If you come here to go skiing and hang out with skiers, you need to be in the Hjelle and Folven area. Stryn is another 20 minutes by car further away from the skiing at Tystigen. With Folven camping as the happening place, it might be a bit loud on weekends. So if you admit to be too old, check out Nygård Camping or Hjelle Hotel. If you’re not into happy people at a bar, you should stay at Grotli, Strynevatnet or “downtown” Stryn.

Stryn Travel
For a hassle-free life at Stryn you would like to go by car. Nor-Way buses pass Folven Camping that has a ski bus service on weekends this summer.

What else to do
Ski touring, Glacier walking at Olden, Mountain biking, Beach volley at Hjelle, Surfing at Stad.

Resources:
Stryn sommerski
Folven
Tourist office

Folven rando-festival by Tommy Aslaksen

Why go to Juvass (Galdhøpiggen sommarskisenter) instead?
Fresh snow and long season. They normally run from May until the winter resorts open. Amazing early season skiing down to the valley.

Why go to Folgefonna instead?
Snowboard and ski camps and a great terrain park. Opens early May.

More on Norway’s best skiing and ski resorts (work in progress):
Narvik skisenter ski resort
Bjorli skisenter ski resort
Hemsedal skisenter ski resort
Turtagrø Hotel Hurrungane Jotunheimen topptur backcountry touring skiing

Bjorli Skisenter early season powder skiing


Text/Photo/Film: Simen Berg

According to the rumours, Bjorli Skisenter isn’t steep enough for proper skiing. That’s wrong.

Snow conditions
My two visits were both on a search for early season powder skiing. Bjorli is known to be among the first ski resorts in Norway to open every season. And as you see, the last weekends of October and November respectively, can provide powder snow in line with January dumps. Low pressure hitting from northwest is your cue to plan your trip to Bjorli.

Read Bjorli stories in Norwegian: October 2012 and November 2008

The Bjorli Resort
The back bone of the lift system is the chair lift that takes you right above the tree line. From there, you can go further up, but I never tried this terrain because of early/pre season visits. The top lift goes to 1250 meters above sea level, and leaves you with a decent 675 vertical meters.
The slopes are popular among ski racers, and before Christmas there’s normally quite a few crews there to practice, including national teams.
The off pist skiing from the tree line and down is a bit dense, but if you’re used to tree skiing, you’ll be fine. Have a look at the video below. Above the tree line there’s wide open areas, though you won’t find steep skiing here without bringing your skins for touring in the area. The nearby Romsdalen area got ranked among the five top places for touring in Norway. The home of Romsdalshorn, Trollveggen, Trollstigen, Kirketaket and Vengetind is a must if you like a sea view with your touring.

My “Best of”-pics from Norwegian ski resorts

Bjorli Eating/Night Life
Normally there isn’t much going on after the lifts close. You can eat dinner at Bjorligard Hotel, where they also have a bar. Fem Stuer is a nice little café/restaurant.

Bjorli Travel/Accommodation
The train stops at Bjorli, just pay attention to distances and logistics when you book a place to stay.

Resources:
Ski Resort: BjorliSkisenter.no
Booking: Accomodation, etc.
Snow conditions: skiinfo.no/ostlandet/bjorli

Facts:
Bjorligard: For my first visit, I stayed at Bjorligard Hotel. A nice place, with nice food and an outdoor jacuzzi.
Gear testing: During my last visit, we tested the new Rottefella NTN Freedom Binding, mounted on Völkl Mantra and Katana. For reference, we had both skis with NTN Freeride on them as well. On top of that, we spent some time on Shiro and Kuro, too. A true Völkl convention, so to speak. I’ll return with my take on the NTN Freedom binding. In short, I like it a lot.

October 27/28th 2012

Pics from November 2008 and October 2012

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

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).

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

Narvik offers Norway’s best freeride skiing – diving into the fjord

Text/pics: Simen Berg/Kathrine Duun Moen

The best lift-served skiing in Norway is by far Narvikfjellet. The 1832 meter long gondola ride itself is worth the trip to Narvik.

2013 Links and video added below

Unfortunately it is far to travel, also for most of us Norwegians. But if you leave Oslo Thursday evening, and return Monday morning in time for work, anyone can do it without wrecking the relationship to your boss, smashing your budget or planning months ahead. Because you do want to know that the conditions are right. And in late April, you might very well encounter 30 cms of fresh snow that stays dry for the top 800 vertical meters.

The reasons why I rate it the best skiing in Norway (ahead of Hemsedal) is:
– The vast freeride terrain facing three directions right off a fairly effective lift system.
– The view of the fjord and the surrounding mountains.
– The runs from Mørkholla/Tredjetoppen that you reach after a 25 min hike.
– The fact that you’re in an actual city.
– The easy access by plane/bus (Widerøe to local Fagernes airport, Norwegian/SAS to Evenes)
– The short distance to epic touring in Lofoten or guaranteed snow at Riksgränsen.

Riders: Kathrine Duun Moen/Simen Berg

Obviously it’s an awesome place for freeride/downhill biking. This is Emil Carlson bombing. In 2011, locals started working on the not-so-downhill “Black kids” track, that will attract more normal riders. As opposed to the old and more hard core downhill track. Also Rallarveien from Bjørnfjell to Rombaksbotn is totally awesome on a FS or HT mountain bike.

Check out a full run, top to bottom, 888 vertical meters:

FACTS
To go to Narvik, you catch a plane to Evenes/Harstad airport, and catch a bus transfer. Or go via Bodø to catch a Widerøe flight directly to Narvik.
narvikfjellet.no | facebook.com/Narvikfjellet
destinasjonnarvik.com | facebook.com/DestinationNarvik

ACCOMMODATION
On the main street, you can stay at Quality Hotel Grand Royal (redecorated in 2012) or the new landmark Rica Hotel Narvik from 2012. They both have nice rooms, great food and awesome sky bars.

MORE PICS
April 2013 pics on Fri Flyt
More powder freeride pics in my “Best of Norwegian Ski Resorts” gallery
(featuring skiing/snowboarding in Hemsedal, Narvik, Stranda, Fjellsetra and Norefjell)

MORE ON APRIL SKIING IN NARVIK
2013 Fri Flyt story | 2010 Fri Flyt story

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