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


Advertisements

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

Turtagrø – design hotel in the mountains

At 884 meters above sea level, you find one of Norway’s  architectural gems. Turtagrø Hotel has it’s origin back to 1880’s, when the Drægni family established their hotel business.

REOPENED 2002
Unfortunately the original hotel burned to the ground in 2001, but the late Ole Drægni decided to have a new hotel built. He hired the amazing architects Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter (jva.no), and from day one, the new hotel became a landmark. The pictures will have to speak for themselves. The interior and furniture is specifically designed, piece by piece.

Turtagrø Hotel. Photos: Bergphoto.net

HIKING and CLIMBING
The hotel is the natural starting point for many of the most stunning hikes in Norway. With the third highest peak in Norway, Store Skagastølstind (“Storen”, at 2405 meters), as the most attractive for climbers, there are still handfulls of of other peaks to be reached without the use of ropes. Fannaråken has a DNT-hut at 2067 meters, and it’s just a three hour walk from the hotel.
– Some pics from Fannaråken and Skogadalsbøen (also DNT)
– Read my story from Fannaråken sunrise (pdf, in Norwegian, English, German)

SKIING
In April, May and June conditions are excellent for spring skiing and snowboarding. But there are no lifts, though. Still High Camp, the ski/snowboard touring festival organized by Fri Flyt, gathers more than 700 participants the second weekend of May.
The road up to the hotel is open all year. The road across Sognefjellet to Lom normally opens around 1st of May, and the road to Øvre Årdal opens mid to late May.
Story on skiing in Hurrungane + Sogndal (Sogn + Sogndal Skisenter) 2014
Skiing Soleiebotntind + Fannaråken 2012
– Skiing pics from the area,
– Some more from Nordre Skagastølstind

Turtagrø Hotell, with Skagastølstindane in the background

Turtagrø Hotell, with Skagastølstindane in the background. Photo: Bergphoto.net

Anne Marit Lia skiing Dyrhaugstind with Riingstind and Austabotntind in the back. Photo: Bergphoto.net

LINKS

Turtagrø Hotel + Wikipedia article in Norwegian
High Camp
(touring/backcountry ski/snowboard festival in May) by Fri Flyt Magazine

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 resort
Hemsedal Skisenter ski resort