Editor’s note: For several years, CONC members Shari Hogshead and Paul Gauthier have led popular cross-country skiing and hiking trips to Europe. The following story is about a trip they are planning this winter back to Norway, where skiing is a major part of the culture. These photos are of a past CONC trip to Norway.
By Shari Hogshead
Arrangements are being made for 14 skiers from CONC to accompany Shari Hogshead and Paul Gauthier to Norway for nearly three weeks in winter 2018.
Our group would meet in an Oslo hotel adjacent to the main train station (a short train ride from Oslo airport) on Monday, 29 January. Group members would need to depart the U.S. no later than 28 January. On Tuesday, 30 January, we would travel by train and van to a mountain hotel located between Lillehammer and Trondheim, high above Ringebu in the Gudbrandsdall valley. Our accommodation is a historic family-owned and operated lodge located on the edge of the Rondane National Park, with views of the mountains to the north. Ski trails, including the long-distance Troll-loype, radiate from the lodge in many directions and we enjoy three delicious meals per day, including some very traditional Norwegian food. Comfy and cozy common rooms encourage social interactions with other skiers at the lodge.
Following four nights in the Venabu area, we take the train to Lillehammer, where we are whisked into the high elevations of the Sjusjoen area – voted “Norway’s best cross-country destination” for several years running. Our country hotel is situated on the edge of a small lake and is well-known for its cuisine and, again, our seven days of accommodation includes full board. Lunches can be packed and eaten on the trail or we can return to the hotel for a lunch buffet each day. Ski trails include the many kilometers around Sjusjoen, Nordseter, and Hafjell, as well as the famous Birkebeiner ski trail. Certainly one day should be spent in the former Olympic town of Lillehammer and skiing the Birkebeiner from our hotel into the Olympic stadium.
Returning to Lillehammer at the end of our week in Sjusjoen, we will train north to Vinstra and taxi up 900 meters to our accommodation for the next five nights in a cozy mountain lodge in the Fron region of Gudbrandsdalen. Our home for the next week was built in 1891 and has been lovingly enlarged and maintained. Common rooms include libraries and fireplaces, all with views to the lake and mountains – the Jotunheimen to the west and the Rondane to the north. Here, again, we will take advantage of full board, with buffet breakfasts and dinners. Lunches can be packed for the trail or you can return to the lodge to warm up and eat a warm lunch at “home.” Soup, cake and coffee are served each afternoon. Again, ski trails start right from the lodge door and include the Peer Gynt long distance loype (trail). Our hotel houses a large swim pool, as well as several saunas.
This accommodation has played a significant part in Norwegian history – it is where King Haakon VII and his family learned to ski, and frequent visitors included not only the royal family, but Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands, explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Sir Robert Scott, as well as Bruce McCandless II and Greenpeace International expedition members.
Included in trip price are two nights’ lodging and breakfast in Oslo hotels, 16 days accommodation in three cross-country ski destinations, with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners included, ground transport in trains, taxi vans, and buses to reach our destinations, and ski trail maps in both areas. Not included are beverages (other than those provided by our hotels), two lunches and two dinners in Oslo, mandatory travel/medical insurance, air travel to and from Oslo, and any deviation from the group itinerary.
Price for this nearly three-week adventure is $3,700, including nearly all meals – a great bargain for Norway. A deposit of $2,000 is required to hold a spot, with the balance of $1,700 due on or before December 15, 2017. For more information or to sign up for this trip, call Shari or Paul at 541-389-9110 or e-mail them on email@example.com.