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Face the Wild: Skiing in Scandinavia & Iceland

Photo: Levi By: visitfinland.com
Oct 13, 2020

Have you ever raced down a slope while the sky above you celebrated the life in the exciting play of colors and lights? A great feeling! As if the whole world is cheering you on. 

And you feel every curve, every bump, every thrust even more intensely than usual. And when you have reached the end, you look up and feel like a king for a moment. At least until you are up to the next ski lift because you simply cannot get enough of it.

With pioneering spirit in Norway, Finland, Sweden & Iceland

I've been to half the world looking for new challenges. And although I actually prefer other ski areas for my regular visits (e.g. the Zillertal Arena): Whenever I am asked for a very special insider tip, I can tell you with bright eyes about Northern Europe. As in Scandinavia and Iceland the whole feeling is just amazing. 

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Iceland - from mountain to sea iceland.is

Everything is beautiful, nature is breathtaking and it still feels like an adventure. In addition, some ski areas are still underestimated. So you can always discover new places that your friends have guaranteed never heard of. Because there are more than enough of the hidden “gems” in Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Especially if you like to be off the slopes as well.

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Winter sports on the Lofoten Kristin Folsland Olsen / visitnorway.com

With a wow effect between ski adventure & nature experience

What is special about the Scandinavian countries is indeed the intensity of nature. Above all, the Northern Lights, which you shouldn't miss under any circumstances. And if you, like me, can never keep your feet still for long, you simply combine the nature experience with your ski adventure. Either on the slopes, where you can still be out on the go at midnight (incomparable!). Or on a rapid dog sledding tour that takes you through the wilderness with almost epic feelings. And please don't be surprised if you encounter reindeer along the way or a flock of ptarmigan birds rises right in front of your nose. This can be a part of everyday life in many places there.

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Ski touring in the heart of Scandinavia Kristin Folsland Olsen / visitnorway.com

You are essentially right in the middle of it all in Scandinavia. The landscape appears primeval and just huge. Not so cultivated as in the Alps. Brilliant for brave explorers. And the snow conditions are absolutely superb. But be careful: the weather can be quite challenging and you will always have to face the wild Nordic nature. The temperatures alone are much frostier than in many other ski areas due to the proximity to the North Pole. That is why it is all so important to pay attention to quality equipment and suitable clothing.

The landscape appears primeval and just huge. Not so cultivated as in the Alps.

In addition to enjoying an on-piste downhill, an extended ski tour or a summit hike is worthwhile to explore the landscape and get to know the realm of nature in all its diversity. Après-ski is usually a bit short in Scandinavia and the beer is quite expensive. But that doesn't scare us – after all, we came to discover and to face the winter challenge.

Åre, Idre Fjäll & Levi – my Top 3 for the start in the Nordic skiing world

If you have never been on the slopes in Northern Europe, I have got three clear recommendations for you. Start the skiing experiment - I'm sure it won't be your last visit to Scandinavia.

All-rounder for the first visit: Åre in Sweden

The Åre ski resort in Sweden is the perfect all-rounder for getting to know the North. In the middle of a dreamy mountain landscape there is plenty of space to let off steam with 90 runs and 91 kilometers of slopes. With an exciting range – for ambitious people as well as for the family. And for a special kick, you will find here heliskiing too.

Put your courage and your skills to the test – in Idre Fjäll

The Idre Fjäll ski area on the Swedish border with Norway is much smaller with only 40 trails and 41 kilometers of slopes. But… There is a clear challenge: the “Chocken” (“Schock”) descent is the steepest one in all of Scandinavia. The best riders gather here for the FIS World Cup in speed skiing once a year. The current record has reached 179 km/h. How fast are you?

Precision training against a picturesque panorama in the Finnish ski resort Levi

Are you a perfectionist and love short slopes where speed and precision are the most important factors? Then you will find many routes in the Levi ski resort that demand your full concentration. Meaning at an absolute professional level; after all, the Alpine World Cup races take place here every year. 

In addition to numerous slopes of all levels of difficulty, you can also look forward to a 230-kilometer network of beautiful cross-country trails. There are also several snow parks and even a ski kindergarten. And best of all: the season lasts until the beginning of May and enables you to plan your vacation flexibly. With a snow guarantee of almost 100%, as Levi is located around 170 km above the Arctic Circle.

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Magical Westfjords in the evening sun, Iceland iceland.is

Are you up for the North? Then enjoy your vacation there. And let me know which ski region you like best. Maybe you will soon have an exciting tip for me to share on Skimondo.

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