Norway is a magical landscape with reliable snow conditions and unspoilt scenery. Skiing is the national sport of Norway and runs deep in their history and culture. Skiers have been enjoying the sport for over 4000 years in the country and have created some of the leading winter athletes. The ski areas aren’t as vast as the French, Austrian or Swiss mountains, but for what they miss out in size they make up for in epic terrain, lack of queues and the friendly atmosphere.
The sheer beauty of the Norwegian landscape makes a trip here truly unique and special, and the possibilities of off piste rival some of the largest European resorts. With plenty winter activities to enjoy a ski holiday in Norway is a great choice for families. Non-ski adventures include husky sledding, ice climbing, horse-drawn sleighs, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
With fantastic snow levels, Norway is a great choice for early and late season ski holidays as many resorts are open in November and operate through to May.
Explore Norway's top ski resorts:
Photo credit: Visit Norway
Find out more about skiing in Geilo
Photo Credit: Visit Norway
Find out more about skiing in Hemsedal
Find out more about skiing in Trysil
Find out more about skiing in Lillehammer
Or if you have the urge for something more off the beaten track, try sailing to one of these hidden gems and ski in the magestic Fjords of Norway.
Try something totally unique for your next ski adventure and upgrade your skiable country conceptions to include some truly life changing terrain. You’ve likely been to France, Austria, North America and skied the slopes of some serious big hitters, either that or your friends have and consistently remind you of how uh-mazing it was. Go bigger and better with some superstar ski facts on where you plan to conquer next, how about Hawaii for starters?
National Park Torres del Paine, Chile
Picture Hawaii and you’re probably seeing swaying palm trees, fire side hula dances and somewhat of a surfers paradise. But look beyond the tropical front line and you’ll also discover Mount Kea, Hawaii’s skiable White Mountain reaching 4205m high. Not for the faint of heart, this dormant volcano allows for some seriously high skiing, plus the lack of resort facilities mean only the adventurous need apply.
Rising up as an escape from India’s soaring summer temperatures, Gulmarg is a hill station of Kashmir which now boasts India’s most famed ski resort. High up in the Himalayas, this resort provides astonishing mountain views and also plays host to Asia’s highest gondola. With strong expectations of snow-sure seasons and the bonus of towering terrain, Gulmarg feeds the urge of those needing a completely new adventure.
Gulmarg ski resort, India
A cultural explosion and sensory wonderland, Japan is a popular destination for many reasons. No stranger to snow fans, Japan hosts in excess of 500 ski resorts, unparalleled scenery and pure powder. Rusutsu resort in Hokkaido is fast becoming one of Japan’s most popular resorts. Comprised of three skiable mountains and combining top class skiing with quirky Japanese conventions. Be sure to ski through the abandoned theme park for an unforgettable run.
Ski through a theme park in Rusutu. Photo from Japan Ski Experience
Powder lines in Niseko, Japan
Five hours drive from Johannesburg and sitting pretty in the Maluti Mountains lies Afriski. This snow coated South African wonder is best for skiing and snowboarding during June and July, meaning you can still get your fix outside of the typical ski season. All levels are catered for, from the top class tuition for beginners to Lesotho’s notable passion for adventure. Their après ski game is strong with unique drink challenges and the highest restaurant in Africa.
Afriski Mountain Resort
You might be inclined to head down under for beach fun, water sports, sizzling BBQ’s and a laid back lifestyle, but did you know that Australia also hosts some pretty awesome skiing? Snow fans and adrenaline junkies should head to the south west, stopping by New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania for a taste of Australian alpine life. Ski eucalyptus tree lined runs and experience a unique après the Aussie way. Popular ski resorts include Perisher, Thredbo, Falls Creek and Mount Buller.
Perisher, New South Wales
Hosts of the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea has been a favourite amongst ski stars for years; and now it serves a purpose to all wanting a winter adventure with a big cultural injection. Yongpyong in the Gangwan-do region is Korea’s largest ski and snowboard resort and quickly emerging as the most popular. The Rainbow slope comes equipped with plenty junctions and courses making it one of the best in Korea, whilst beginners can let loose and crash-free on the ultra-wide beginner slope.
Top of the Rainbow Lift at Yongpyong resort (Pyeongchang)
Chile offers a completely alternative ski/ snowboarding experience, with its diverse climate and lively Latin American culture. Chile’s snow coated resorts can be found high in the elevated Andean mountain range, providing ultimate dope slopes and views to die for. Get your thrills skiing steaming volcanoes before savouring their famous Chilean red wine to unwind.
Fresh powder in Portillo, Chile
DC Snowboarding in Chile
If you liked this blog, read our top 5 once in a lifetime ski experiences or top 5 hidden gems
For a powder-filled ski holiday next season try Canada or Japan
Imagine sitting with an ice cold drink, on a sun drenched terrace, overlooking the most awe inspiring mountain views after a day on the slopes. Sounds like paradise doesn't it? Whenever the sun comes out in the UK we cannot help but remember our favourites winter days soaking up the sunshine in the snow. Here at Iglu we’ve had our fair share of sunny days on a mountain restaurant terrace (after a hard day skiing of course!) so the competition was tough but we’ve narrowed it down to our favourites.
Here are our top 5 sun terraces on the slopes in Europe:
Perfect for a Swiss fondue This sun soaked restaurant is well priced for Switzerland and dominated by magnificent mountain views from the middle of the 4 Valleys. Combatseline is located at the top of 63 Novelli chairlift from Siviez, right between Nendez, Veysonnaz and Verbier.
Photo: My Switzerland
Perfect for people watching This large, swanky, sunny terrace overlooks the Courchevel Altiport and is an ideal spotting celebrities and millionaires. It is the perfect place to make the most of the sunshine, just don’t forget a bundle of cash!
Perfect for a long lunch This large restaurant terrace is perfectly located at the first DMC stop overlooking the stunning Alpe d’Huez ski slopes. Once you sit down and tuck into your substantial Croque Monsieur, burger or salad you’ll find it had to leave this sun trap whilst surrounded by the glorious vista.
Perfect for a quick pit stop A great spot if you have just skied the Harakiri (the steepest slope in Austria) and you need a beer to calm your nerves (exactly how I came across the bar!) Located in the Penken/Horberg bowl by the Vans Snow Park, surrounded by pistes, this huge terrace is a great place for a quick drink, a spot of lunch or a chill out in the beanbags in the sunshine.
Perfect for après Le Rond Point is a popular spot that offers great food, ski in-ski out sun terrace and lively après ski. Asthe ‘Ronnie’ is located on the sunny side of the valley it is in goggle tan heaven and the ultimate location whether you are looking for a quick refresher drink, or an afternoon of live music and toffee vodka! With regular live music you’ll be rocking in your ski boots throughout après before attempting to ski back to the village.
Photo: O'Sullivans Bar
Panorama Alm, Kitzbuhel At Panorama you are really sitting in the ‘front row seat in the Alps’ with the incredible 360 degree mountain views. Located on Pass Thurn Mountain there is a huge sun drenched terrace with tasty and reasonable priced food. Las Vegas Lodge in San Cassiano A jewel in the Dolomites, the beauty of this place is remarkable with its wooden décor, bordered by the finest ski slopes and totally immersed in unforgettable panoramic views. Chez Vrony, Zermatt Priceless views and exceptional food. This beautiful terrace has spectacular views of the Matterhorn and the Vrony burger is a must try!
I recently recovered from my first ever ski holiday with the Iglu Ski team in Tignes, France. I had such a great time that I am definitely hooked and can’t wait to go again next year.
I learnt so much along the way, I thought I would share my new-found knowledge, from one non-skier to the next.
When you’re up in the mountains, you’re at a very high altitude and much closer to the sun. This means whether the sky is blue or grey, you are still being exposed to high intensity UV rays; so whilst you think you may not be affected, there might just be an unsuspected goggle tan creeping up on you.
Try to wear Factor 50+ on whatever skin is exposed. It might also be a good idea to get a lip balm with an SPF. Bring moisturiser and after sun too – just in case you only realise before it’s too late!
When you face such weather and temperature extremes, it’s difficult to know what to pack. I would recommend anything and everything, here, we have a breakdown of essentials; but what people don’t tell you is – the wackier the better.
To those that plan to snowboard – this is irrelevant, but to the skiers amongst you – snow ploughing will become a way of life. For some, parallel skiing may come naturally, but once you’ve got this move down, the rest of your week is set.
Ski boots are not the most comfortable footwear. Non-skiers might be familiar with the cramp feeling you get from ice-skating boots – imagine this, and then imagine wearing and dancing it out in these all day. Take plenty of comfortable ski-socks with you – they’re worth the investment!
Allow yourself at least 3 half days for ski lessons. This is enough time to learn the basics and build your confidence; private lessons and group lessons both have their benefits – it depends what sort of holiday you are looking for.
This means you have been working hard, plus, an element of fearlessness goes a long way. Falling over is all part of a beginner skier’s day’s fun so don’t let it knock your confidence.
Helmets, goggles, sunglasses, heavy jacket, light jacket, ski socks, sun-cream, gloves, salopettes (not trousers) – they all offer protection. Stay safe. Do as Jonah says.
When considering your holiday costs, don’t forget to account for your lift pass hire. Once you arrive in resort you still need to get up the mountain to learn how to ski down. For beginners, you may not need a full 6 day hire; 3-5 may suffice.
Beginners lifts are available in most resorts and these are often free – reference your local piste map or resort representative. If you are taking lessons, your instructor will take you through the basics.
If not included in your holiday package, you can often buy a pass by day or half day – depending on your mood. Pre-holiday, your travel agent can help you arrange this. You can also purchase this anywhere in resort or from your chalet representative. Recommended ski resorts for beginners.
Gently rest your bottom on the button lift as it gently pulls you along; sit down too comfortably and it might take you back into the air!
In your first few days, you might not want to go for a full day’s skiing. Why not take a pedestrian pass and enjoy the piste on foot?
Once lessons are over, it’s down to you to navigate your way around the slopes. I spent the first half of my week thinking everywhere looked the same, a piste map will help keep you on the right track. Normally, the difficulty of the slopes is signposted very clearly.
Remember: Green, Blue, Red, Black
It’s not all about skiing or boarding, it’s about creating memories with your friends and family…or potentially losing them due to excess apres. There are hundreds of bars on the slopes and in resort for you to enjoy. With DJs, live music, dancing and great food to suit all tastes. Best ski resorts for apres ski.
More often than not and depending on which chalet or hotel you are staying in, you will be spending a lot of time with the same chalet staff throughout your stay. They will be with you at breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea. Look after them and they’ll look after you – a sure guarantee that there won’t be an empty wine glass in sight at dinner.
During a week’s stay in the average chalet, there will be one day of rest for the kitchen and chalet staff. You will still get your usual continental breakfast but this means no cooked meals. Take advantage of this day to go out and experience some traditional local food – think fondue, tartiflette, steak amongst anything else you might not expect to see on the menu.
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