For most, when we think of going skiing we think of the Alps or the Pyrenees but there’s no shortage of resorts, and more importantly, snow guaranteed skiing options in Scandinavia, and just 2 hours flight from Dublin. These destinations are often overlooked by Irish skiers, but they do offer a real alternative to skiing in Austria, France, Switzerland. Due to the lack of information on the topic, we asked the guys at Scandinavian Airlines, SAS, to put some information together for you.
So what are these countries we are talking about ?
Skiing in Norway
They say Norwegians are born with skies on their feet, and they’d probably need to as The Norwegian ski season typically lasts for six months, November to late April, so it’s a bit longer than it is down south. More info on skiing in Norway can be read on the country’s official website here.
The main Ski resort of Hafjell is just a few minutes bus ride from Lillehammer town centre with 88 slopes and a total length of 113 km. A firm favourite with Irish skiers, especially those with young families, for many years, being almost entirely tree lined and low lying weather is rarely a problem. For longer stays and more experienced skiers a Hafjell ski pass gives you access to the The 5 Lillehammer Ski Resorts, Gålå, Hafjell, Skeikampen, Sjusjøen and Kvitfjell, a regular host to many alpine speed events including the world cup.
One thing you can’t expect to find on a ski trip to a resort in Norway is a queue. Even on the weekends, the resorts are rarely crowded, and skiing mid week can leave with slopes all to yourself. Afterski in Scandinavia is naturally best at the weekends. Drink isn’t cheap but you’ll find that never stops the locals letting their long blonde hair down. Norway is of course Duty Free so it’s a good idea to BYOB, or two, on the way out.
Trysil is another great family resort with lots of children’s areas, green and blue slopes. However if you are a more experienced Skier, Norway’s largest resort Trysil could be for you. There’s an abundance of seriously challenging black runs and off piste options in the resort which offers 66 slopes in four areas, terrain parks for snow boarders and all bound together by 31 lifts on three sides of the mountain. There is no shortage of ski in ski our accommodation including a stunning new purpose built Radisson Blu Hotel. A bus service every few hours direct from Oslo Airport to Trysil, takes approximately 2.5 hours. If you are visiting Trysil, make sure to stop mid-mountain at “Knettsetra”, a set of typical old world Norwegian farm house buildings converted into a bar and cafe.
Norway with SAS
SAS operate direct flights, and flights via Copenhagen from Dublin to Oslo “Gardemoen” with easy access to the Winter Olympic resort of Lillehammer by train direct from the airport in just under 2 hours. There is a bus direct to Trysil, Norway’s largest ski resort. The Flight takes 2 hours while the bus takes approx 2.5 hrs. If you are new to skiing, want to try it out without taking a full ski holiday, or fancy a day or two skiing before your longer holiday, “Tryvann” is a small ski resort just 20 mins from Oslo city centre and makes for an ideal weekend break.
Fares with SAS start and €152 including taxes and include a 23kgs checked baggage allowance for all passengers (including infants), free assigned seating, tea and coffee on board and discounts for children under 12.
Do note that if you are carrying your own skis a ski equipment charge of €30 applies each way.
Skiing in Sweden
The Swedes are known for their hospitality, and coming off the slopes, it’s no different. More info on skiing in Sweden can be read on the country’s official website here.
For those looking for a ski destination with a difference, there are a number of suburb ski resorts in Northern Sweden, the best know and most popular being Åre, host of the Alpine Ski Championships in 2007. Located just over 200km south of the Arctic Circle it boasts 114 runs and is caters for all levels. With Winter 2012 being predicted by NASA as likely to be the best year in 50 for viewing the Northern Lights those that stay up late (and let’s face it most skiers do) are sure to come away with some wonderful memories of their trip.
SAS operate flights from Dublin to Östersund, via Stockholm. Fares start €299 per person including tax.
For more info see www.flysas.ie.
We hope that this article will get you thinking outside the box for your next skiing holiday. The great advantage if you do organise your own flights, that if you can get your accommodation yourself, you are well on the way to saving some money for your holiday in the snow. Plus you will also have the flexibility to do longer (or shorter) skiing breaks than just 1 week. Seeing as you are travelling so far you may as well stay as long as you can afford !