From the highly glaciated areas of the fjords on the west coast or the high mountain plateaus inland, to the southern sandy beaches and frozen plains of the far north,
Norway is a land with an incredibly varied and unique natural environment. The country has a very elongated shape, stretching from 58 degrees North to 71 degrees South. This large variation in latitudes is the main reason for the large difference in climate between the Northern and Southern regions of the country. The country’s alpine environments offer the perfect training ground for the gentleman adventurer.
Norway’s winter terrain acts as an explorer’s paradise!
Whether it be flowing cross-country trails, tree lines, mellow pistes or backcountry bowls, there’s something for everyone. However, navigational conditions can be challenging, as a large proportion of the resorts are located above the tree line. Although the Norwegians run a tight ship in terms of resort safety and piste markings, stay safe and be sure to bring at least a basic map and compass, as due to the lack of cover complete whiteouts are a real possibility. During a winter visit to Norway there are four distinct physical regions, which are worth bearing in mind for a visit.
The Fjords are giant glacier tongues that have been formed throughout several ice ages, creating a U-shaped undersea valley. This undersea formation rises from the depths, creating the dramatic mountain scenery we know as the Fjords. These majestic landforms offer an entirely unique skiing experience- riding high above the fjords has been known to render even the most well travelled soul speechless.
Arctic Circle - Technically classed as within the Arctic Circle, the area 66° North of Norway offers entirely different physical characteristics to its southern counterpart. Bearing the full force of the areas highly glaciated past, the landscapes are extremely karst. Mountains rise directly from the ocean creating a deeply unique landscape. During mid-winter, darkness is almost permanent, and although this may seem unbearable Mother Nature produces the goods in the form of the infamous Aurora Borealis, which can be seen at full force when visiting these high latitudes. Skiing and snowboarding within the Arctic Circle is not for the faint hearted, and with less than a handful of resorts the majority of the terrain is uncharted- ideal for claiming those big mountain lines.
Go carefully and you will be rewarded.
Once used as the filming location for Star Wars, a visit to Finse 1222 will leave you wondering if you are in another galaxy. A barren expanse of frozen terrain riddled with glaciers and crevasses located along the fringes of the hardangerjøkulen glacier, this area is truly astounding. Home to an intricate network of cabins, multi day trips are a real possibility, and the accommodation options are endless from the five star comfort of Finse Hotel to the basic necessities of the DNT cabins. With these great options on the table and a vast expanse of wilderness to explore, Finse has become the proving ground for Arctic/Antarctic explorers around the globe.Summer skiing is a real possibility in Norway and with the world class terrain amongst both Stryn and Folgefonna glaciers you can shred all year round!
If you want remote, wild, rugged and peaceful all rolled into one, then visit the Plateaus. Due to its proximity to the NSB mainline railway, the Hardanger Plateau is a firm favourite for those who want to get lost! Wildlife roams wild, and if you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of the native Sami and their wild reindeer herds. As the Snow Kiting capital of the world, Hardanger is a great place to get involved with this fast growing and easily accessible sport.