David and I are starting the new year off with a little skiing, which made me realize I never shared our last ski trip – to Norway – here on the blog.
Inspired by a magical day spent cross country skiing on the outskirts of Oslo during our 12 Countries of Christmas tour, David surprised me at Christmas (2019) with a plan to revisit the area for a 5 day trip cross-country skiing from lodge to lodge in the mountains that surround Norway’s capital city. We planning everything for the end of January 2020, and a few days before our departure realized there would be very little snow. In fact, our original itinerary would be impossible unless we wanted to hike from lodge to lodge with our skis on our back.
The day before our flight we did a bit of research on places around Oslo that did have snow and landed on a new plan. Scandinavia’s highest peaks are a mere 2 hour drive from Oslo, so we booked a few days at a quaint mountainside lodge in Norefjell. Our stay at Norefjellhytta was magical – we were lucky to snap up one of the three alpine cabins, complete with fireplace, sauna, and a balcony overlooking a broad swath of eastern Norway.
Despite icy conditions on the mountain, our Plan B ended up being loads of fun. We’d wake up early to enjoy first tracks, return for a late breakfast at the lodge, then head out again for an afternoon of skiing. Since we were there midweek, we had many runs all to ourselves, zero wait at each lift, and enjoyed spectacular views of the lake and valley below. That far north winter nights are long, but we loved watching the pastel sunset from Norefjellhytta’s deck with hot chocolate in hand, hanging out by the fire in our room, and joining other guests for dinner in the main dining room where the chef prepares 5 course meals made with locally sourced ingredients, and personally advises you on wine pairings. Norefjellhytta’s rate includes half board, meaning breakfast and dinners are included which is perfect when all you want to do is walk downstairs for dinner after a long day of skiing. If you visit I hope you like moose meat, as it was a common theme to the menu each night. Our chef said most Norwegian men will hunt and kill 1-2 moose each fall and have a butcher prepare them to feed their families all winter. I cannot imagine hunting a moose!
Personally, I love packing and dressing for the mountains, and brought some of my favorite pieces for this trip, including oversized cardigans, leather pants and lots of cashmere. Norefjell is the most laid back snowy escape I’ve been to in Europe but that does not mean the aprés ski scene is any less chic. Layers of luxurious knitwear will keep you warm and transition easily from slope to evenings spent fireside.
No trip to Oslo would be complete without a meal at the charming Frognerseteren – a restaurant perched in the mountains above Olso with fabulous views of the city and a popular launch point for the network of cross country ski trails we had hoped to explore. Snag a seat on the upstairs balcony for the best views.