Norway is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Norwegians are justly proud of their homeland, making maximum use of its natural wilderness areas throughout the summer and winter. It is a country of only 4.5 million people inhabiting an area of 385,000 sq kms. Only 3% of this area is suitable for cultivation, though 25% of the country is covered in forest. From north to south it stretches for about 1752 kms and it has an amazing 2650 kms of coastline. Much of the country is north of the Arctic Circle and sees little daylight during the winter.
Skiing has its roots in Norway and therefore, not surprisingly, most Norwegians spend much of the winter skiing in one form or another. The season can start as early as October and continue right through until the following May (or all the year round on some glaciers).
For more information on Norway:
www.visitnorway.com (opens in new browser window)
Gålå is situated 950 metres above sea level in the Gudbrandsdal valley with stunning views of both the Rondane and Jotunheimen National Parks. It offers activities for all ages and has an extensive network of Cross-Country Skiing tracks as well as downhill slopes. It sits on the Peer Gynt Trail and is linked to Skeikampen and Fefor by ski tracks. It is one of the oldest and most traditional Norwegian tourist areas.
For further information on the Gålå area:
www.gala.no (opens in new browser window)
One of the best ski areas in Norway can be found around Lillehammer, where the 1994 Winter Olympic Games were held. It has a selection of outstanding winter sports facilities and boasts one of the best Cross-Country Skiing arenas in Europe . It is a lively, attractive town with an international flavour and some excellent restaurants. The villages of Sjusjøen and Nordseter, which are located above Lillehammer, and where Nordic Challenge Schools' Courses are run, were originally mountain farming areas, but now play host to a huge number of skiers from all over the world from November to May.
For more information on Lillehammer:
www.lillehammerturist.no (opens in new browser window)
Hint: select the GB flag at top left of the home page to view the site in English
Sjusjøen, the proclaimed cross-country ski 'capital' of Norway, lies two hours by road from Oslo (Gardermoen) international airport, and just 15km to the east of Lillehammer, home of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games.
The undulating plateau, on which Sjusjøen is situated, boasts approximately 300km of prepared tracks including part of the World famous Birkebeiner Løype. The lower altitude forests, with their network of ski trails, give way to open higher ground with a covering of scattered birch trees and frozen lakes. There are several summits of about 995m, all with excellent ski access, and many with prepared tracks to their highest points. The highest of these is Nevelfjell (1089) just north of Nordseter. Many of such summits make excellent objectives for day tours.
The area is served by some good quality mountain hotels and rental apartments, making Sjusjøen a first class base for both training and extensive ski touring.