Editor’s note: Shari Hogshead and Paul Gauthier just led their annual CONC trip to Europe – Norway once again. The following is a report from Shari on the group’s adventure.
By Shari Hogshead
A group of 15 CONC skiers went to Norway to ski in winter 2017. We liked it so much, 11 of us decided to return in 2018 and we are so glad we did. We all met up in Oslo city center for a few nights before we took the train north up the Gudbrandsdalen to the village of Ringebu. From here, we were transported to our lodge at Venabu, at about 3,000 feet. Here we found great snow conditions on the 140 kilometers of ski trails right outside our door, as well as the long distance Troll Loype (ski track). Our views were to the mountains of Rondane National Park to the north.
After four days skiing at Venabu, we descended to the valley and trained to Lillehammer, where we were transported to our lodge-style hotel at Sjusjoen, known as Norway’s most popular Nordic ski destination. Hundreds of kilometers of ski track radiate from Sjusjoen, which also sits directly on the famous Birkebeiner ski trail. One day we skied the Birkebeiner from our hotel to the huge Olympic stadium above Lillehammer. Again, snow conditions were perfect for our seven days of skiing in this locale.
Our next venue took us north to the high mountain hotel at Fefor (Fefor Hoifjellshotell), one of our favorites. Our lodge was built in 1891 and has housed many illustrious visitors, including King Haakon of Norway, Queen Willemina of The Netherlands, Roald Amundson, Fridtjof Nansen and Sir Robert Scott. Our views stretched across the lake of Fefor, which sits below the lodge, to the Jotunheimen mountains to the west and to the Rondane to the northeast. Plenty of ski trails begin at the lodge and on one day, we skied part of the long-distance Peer Gynt Loype to the alpine ski resort of Gala. For all of our five nights here, we were entertained before dinner each night by a cello quartet – so relaxing after a day of skiing.
Too soon we had to return to Oslo for our flights home. Our trip included all meals, except for dinners in Oslo, all ground transport, such as trains, taxis and vans, trail maps, and our accommodation in beautiful and historic lodges. Meals included extravagant breakfast and dinner buffets. You had the choice of taking a packed lunch on the ski trail, or you could return to the lodge for a warm lunch. One night, we enjoyed a special Norwegian dinner, with whale, reindeer, etc. Many days we skied after breakfast and then returned to the lodge for a 2:00 lunch, which stretched to 3:00. Often many of us decided to remain in the lodge to read, catch up on e-mail, etc., and sit by one of the warm fires, of which each lodge had several.
I think everyone in our group totally enjoyed these three varied Norwegian ski destinations, and it was great to be in an area with epic snow, when our levels in the PNW were not nearly as generous as last year. Thanks to CONC for sponsoring this trip and for our members for joining in the fun. Soon it will be time to start planning next year’s ski adventure.
(Photos by Shari Hogshead and Al Matson)