Norway in February has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, particularly Beitostølen, a small village three and a half hours north of Oslo, which is a winter wonderland. The snow is thick and deep and every corner you turn is filled with a magical landscape, like it’s never been touched and just waiting to be discovered.
Beitostølen is a small mountain community which is so welcoming to outsiders – full of Norwegian hospitality and good spirits with traditional red buildings and hillsides of wooden lodges set against a backdrop of frozen lakes and trees heavy with snow.
There’s plenty to keep the visitor occupied in this village with a tapas bar, Chinese takeaway, American style restaurant and a fantastic pizzeria, a couple of small supermarkets, a few ski wear shops, gift shop and not a huge amount more. Because of this it retains more authenticity than some of the larger resorts. It was also small enough that the children made firm friends, as did we, and it was lovely bumping in to friendly faces to have a chat and catch up with how everyone was getting on.
I fell in love with this little ski resort which really is the absolute best place for beginner or intermediate skiers to get on the slopes and find their ski mojo. Apart from anything it was so quiet when we visited with sometimes empty slopes and never a queue for the chair lifts. It’s somewhere not to feel rushed or crowded and to be able to really enjoy the views and calm.
We are a family that, before Norway, were growing to love skiing. We’d visited the French Alps last year and the children had taken a couple of lessons. They certainly couldn’t ski, could just about stand up and glide a few feet unaided, but loved the idea of it and were keen to learn.
The ski school here was fantastic with a gentle Norwegian touch that was both encouraging and reassuring. It was an environment my children absolutely thrived in and were desperate to ski there at every opportunity.
With an hour and a half of ski school every morning they absolutely shone and by the end of the week were confident enough to take the ski lifts to the top of the surrounding hills and weave their way to the bottom with their classes. It was fantastic to watch them grow in confidence and really quite emotional to see them mastering skiing in a way I could only dream of.
Beitostølen is a small town and we stayed in the Stølstunet apartments. As with everything when you travel with Crystal Ski it was all pre-booked and waiting for us when we arrived. The Stølstunet apartments were perfect with all mod cons, a fantastic open-plan space for dining and relaxing and my favourite, the bathrooms with underfloor heating. It was the perfect retreat at the end of a day on the snow to come back inside, get warm and relax.
But it was the snowy environment that called us out time and time again. Mr Globalmouse relived his teenage years skiing and spent hours out with the children, all happily taking in the views of frozen lakes and snow filled forests from the top.
I was desperate to join in but having never skied before I wasn’t sure I ever would. My first attempt was not pretty, in fact it was mildly terrifying and I ruled out a repeat, deciding I would be better off sipping the hot chocolate and taking the photographs from the sidelines. But I was persuaded to give a private lesson a go with Tor, head of the ski school at Beitostølen and ever-patient and positive as I took in gentle hills with a look of fear frozen on my face.
I’m not going to be taking part in the Winter Olympics any time soon but with Tor’s kind manner and careful teaching I found myself taking the ski lifts myself and slowly descending the nearby hills. It was exhilarating and something I’d love to spend more time nurturing. The dream of us being a family that skis together is very much alive.
There are lots of fun activities around Beitostølen in the winter including ice fishing, husky dog sledding, snow rafting, cross-country skiing and more. We went for a swim at one of the local hotels and took walks in the beautiful frozen roads, breathing in the beautifully fresh Norwegian air and wondering if we could live there we loved it so much.
But it was the skiing that called the children back time and time again. I was so pleased as this trip for us really was about mastering this and to say the children, at ages 6 and 9 have got it is an understatement. They absolutely relished in the opportunity to ski and thrived in the ski school. They are so proud of their medals they got at the end of the week and have declared that we HAVE to come back to Beitostølen and my son said, “not for one week next time, but two!”.
Travelling with Crystal Ski means flights, transfers and accommodation are included and you can pre book ski hire, lessons and ski passes, meaning it’s super easy when you get there. If you’re new to the slopes or looking for somewhere that is primarily about the skiing in the most magical, wonderful setting imaginable then Beitostølen is for you. This winter wonderland glows from within and we can’t wait to return.
Check out our video of our time on the slopes at Beitostølen here.
To find out more about travelling to Beitostølen, Norway with Crystalski click the link here – http://www.crystalski.co.uk/ski-resorts/norway-ski-holidays/beitostolen/
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We were guests of CrystalSki for the purposes of this review but as always all opinions are our own.