Nordic Lights: The Best in Cross-Country Skiing

Norway: The Birthplace of Skiing

Norway is cross-country skiing heaven. What else would you expect from the birthplace of skiing? Norway's vast hut network and well-maintained trail systems afford a nearly endless variety of itineraries for the intrepid skier, from the expert braving the deep backwoods, to the beginner anxious to get their balance on a pair of skinny skis.
The Hallingdal region in western Norway beckons intermediates with glaciers, forests, and moderate foothills flanked by rugged mountains. Expert skiers will enjoy Finnmark, the northernmost county in Norway. Here, in the home of the reindeer-herding Sami nomads, you can join a high arctic, wilderness expedition supported by dog-sled teams that carry your gear. Spitsbergen, an archipelago of Arctic islands off Norway's northern coast, offers true adventure for hardy skiers in a land of ice and polar bears. Spitzbergen remains rugged and untamed, as wild as Europe gets. Inn-to-inn touring is also popular in Norway. Experienced, strong skiers should consider a strenuous 9-day inn-to-inn tour in the Hallingdal Mountains, working themselves hard during the daylight hours, and relaxing in luxery with gormet food and good wine as the cold wind blows outside.

Practically Speaking
Due to the high prices in Norway, package skiing tours are a good idea. DNT, a government-subsidized Norwegian equivalent of the Sierra Club, maintains trails and warming huts all over Norway and offers excellent, yet inexpensive, ski tours through four of Norway's most scenic national parks. DNT tours are lead by able volunteers, most of whom speak fluent English.

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 29 Jan 2001 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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