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 Sälen, Sweden
The town of Trysil (lower right), viewed from the front face. This piste is the steepest on the mountain (45°)
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/2,700ft) development where our condo was located
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
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?
View from one of the summits on a spectacular “bluebird” day. Good views, good company, good times…
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…