A Norwegian Adventure: Trysil

For a country with little snow and no mountains (or for that matter, hills), Danes are remarkably proficient skiers. Maybe it’s because of the high average salaries or perhaps it the 6 weeks of vacation, but the average Dane spends at least a week each winter on the slopes.

To find a destination worth skiing for more than a couple of days, it’s necessary to head north or south; to the cradle of skiing, Norway or to the majestic Alps. Although the Alps are cheaper and offer larger ski resorts, they tend to be more crowded and are further from Denmark.

So it was that I recently found myself heading to the Norwegian ski resort of Trysil with friends for a week of skiing. Situated 200km north-east of Oslo, Trysil is the largest of the Norwegian ski resorts. Although it’s not the Alps, it’s still a big mountain with a vertical drop of 772 meters (2,500 feet) and a significant portion of the mountain above tree line.

We also traveled across the border to Sälen in central Sweden which offers a handful of smaller ski resorts. Sälen is famous as the starting point for the Vasaloppet, the longest and most prestigious cross-country ski race in the world with over 15,000 participants in the main race (90Km/54 miles). Other races include relays, shorter distances and children’s and teenage races which attract over 40,000 participants in total.

Rather than write about the trip in detail, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. However, there were several observations I had comparing my experience with skiing in North America.

1. Children are taught to ski at an early age. Resorts are much more child-friendly than North America with toys, magic carpets and other features to entertain the little tykes. Perhaps one of the most interesting features was a Troll’s Village in the middle of a forest at Hundfjället, Sälen. I only discovered it by accident when I skied into the trees and realized I was surrounded by a swarm of kids in an enchanted forest.

2. Risk is the responsibility of the skier. Unlike litigious North America, in Norway it’s up to the individual to determine their risk tolerance. What’s refreshing is that most people appear to know their limits and aren’t stupid. The advantage of this is that terrain parks, race courses, skicross courses, basically the entire mountain is open to everyone. In North America, you’d have to have an insurance policy and sign a legal waiver before they give you that much freedom.

3. Lifts. Perhaps this is just in Scandinavia because of the lower population density but Norwegian and Swedish resorts use a lot more surface (Platter/Poma) lifts than North American resorts. Although they do have high-speed detachables, I was suprised by the high percentage of surface lifts.

Enjoy the pictures…

Trysil, Norway, viewed from a distance

Trysil, Norway, viewed from Sälen, Sweden

The town of Trysil (lower right), viewed from the front face. This piste is the steepest  on the mountain (45°)

A high mountain meadow near on of the two primary summits

A high alpine plateau with piste (run) in the foreground

A view from the primary summit towards Høyfjellssenter where we stayed. This was a relaxing last run of the day

Høyfjellssenter, the upper mountain (850m) development where we stayed

Høyfjellssenter, the upper mountain (850m/2,700ft) development where our condo was located

The walk from our condo (lower right) to the slopes, about 50 meters

The walk from our condo (lower right) to the slopes, about 50 meters

Nothing like a horse and carriage to make your Nordic adventure more hyggelig

Nothing like a horse and carriage to make your Nordic adventure more hyggelig

Lots of snow and a few centimeters of fresh powder early in the week to provide us with excellent conditions

Lots of snow and a few centimeters of fresh powder to provide us with excellent conditions

Our skis (and board) ready to go. Seriously, who skis on 180s these days except giants?

Part of the Motley Crew posing for a photo…

The rest of the Motley Crew. Can you tell who the crazy one is?

The rest of the Motley Crew. Can you tell who the crazy one is?

View from the summit on a spectacular "bluebird" day. Good views, good company, good times...

View from one of the summits on a spectacular “bluebird” day. Good views, good company, good times…

In the Blue park (Blåparken). There were a line of 5 kickers (jumps) to entertain

Dropping in to the Blue park (Blåparken). There were a sequence of 5 kickers (jumps) and a parallel slalom course to entertain

Ready to launch off one of the kickers...

Ready to launch off one of the kickers…

On the parallel slalom course, defeated by the flying Dutchman (seriously, who can beat anyone on 180 skis?)

Defeated by the Flying Dutchman on the parallel slalom course (seriously, who can beat anyone skiing 180s?)

Lining up at the gates of one of two Skicross courses.

Lining up at one of two Skicross courses.

Sweet revenge. Catching up and surpasing the Flying Dutchman. I bested him most times on these courses.

Sweet revenge. Overtaking the Flying Dutchman. Our female counterpart almost beat us but claims I got in her way…

Our resident South African (who had never skied before) going down the course at the end of the week

Our resident South African (who had never skied before) going down the skicross course at the end of the week

Building confidence as the week progressed...

Building confidence as the week progressed…

The challenge of teaching someone how to board while on skis

The challenge of teaching someone how to board while on skis

Starting to get "it"...

Knees bent, butt out…starting to get “it”…

The problem with boarders is they (we) are always sitting down in the middle of the slope...

The problem with boarders is they’re (we’re) always sitting down (usually in the way)…

The reason I board some of the time. Seriously, they're (we're) always after a free ride...

The reason I board some of the time. Seriously, they’re (we’re) always after a free ride…

Back on the board after too long an absence

Back on the board…

Enjoying the sunshine

Enjoying the sunshine on the ride up…

Lining up for the last run of the day

Lining up for the last run of the day

A gentle cruiser for the last run of the day

A gentle cruiser to end things off…

Ski school. Seriously, why refer to something this fun as school?

Ski school. Seriously, why refer to something fun as “school”?

Some one-on-one time (well, almost) with the kids

Some one-on-one time (well, almost) with the kids

Father and son...

Father and son…

Mother and daughter...

Mother and daughter…

All grown up and riding the lift alone...

All grown up and riding the lift alone…

My favourite picture of the trip. A four-year old in the tuck, heading for the speed trap. He clocked in at 48.5kph. The Flying Dutchman was the fastest from our group at 62 kph

My favourite picture of the trip. A four-year old heading for the speed trap. He clocked in at 48.5kph. The Flying Dutchman was the fastest of our group at 62 kph

What all Scandinavians (and expats living in Scandinavia) do after the dark, cold winter

Hanging out in the sun. What all Scandinavians (and expats) do after the dark, cold winter

A warm welcome to the Swedish resort of Hundfjället, Sälen

A warm welcome to the Swedish resort of Hundfjället, Sälen

In the trees (where everyone is meant to ski), Hundfjället

The Three Amigos, Tandådalen, Sälen (seriously, why can’t Swedes make up their mind between “a”, “ä” and “å”!)

About ready to drop in, Tandådalen, with Hundfjället in the background

Ready to drop in, Tandådalen, with a view of Hundfjället

Viewfrom the other angle, Tandådalen

View from the other angle. For about an hour, we had perfectly bluebird skies immediately over where we were

Quaint rural Swedish church on the Swedish/Norwegian border

Quaint Swedish country church on the Norwegian border

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About Canadianindenmark

A Canadian expat working in the biotechnology industry in Copenhagen, Denmark
This entry was posted in European Travels, Norway. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Norwegian Adventure: Trysil

  1. elisabethfrost says:

    Sooo jealous – too bad I don’t ski. Gorgeous scenery!

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