The Best Downhill Skiing

  • Lillehammer: It may not be Switzerland, but Norway has its own alpine skiing, a lot of it centered at Lillehammer. The skiing at Lillehammer, Norway's oldest ski resort, is so superb that the 1994 Olympic committee chose the resort as the site of its winter games. Hafjell Alpine Center lies 9.3km (5 3/4 miles) north of the center and was the main venue for the Olympic alpine competitions, offering seven lifts and 20km (12 miles) of alpine slopes. The longest slope at Hafjell is 7km (4 1/4 miles) long, and there's a wide range of alpine slopes for different levels of skiing proficiency. The Lillehammer mountains lie 850m (2,788 ft.) above sea level.
  • Geilo: Superior to Voss but not an Olympic ski spectacle like Lillehammer, Geilo features five different ski centers. The best is the Geilo Skiheiser, with 24km (15 miles) of slopes, many as exciting as those in Gstaad, Switzerland. The area is also equipped with 18 lifts and a "ski-board" tunnel. Cable cars will take you to the top of the resort at 1,060m (3,477 ft.) above sea level. From that point, marked trails split off in many directions.
  • Voss: This winter resort is a virtual ski circus with eight chairlifts and an aerial cableway carrying passengers up to a peak of 788m (2,625 ft.). In all, there are 40km (25 miles) of alpine slopes that have been compared favorably to those in western Austria. One ski lift climbs 900m (2,952 ft.) from Traastolen to the top of the mountain of Slettafjell, with a wide and varied choice of downhill runs.
  • The Best Cross-Country Skiing

  • Lillehammer: The Olympic resort in central Norway boasts 402km (249 miles) of prepared cross-country tracks, 6km (3 3/4 miles) of which are illuminated. From mid-December, cross-country skiers arrive from all over Europe, and sometimes America, to test out the well-groomed trails. The landscape is even more beautiful than that found in Geilo, though it may be gauche to some to compare one scenic landscape with another. However, Lillehammer is set in an area of Norway that contains its highest mountains and its best-known national parks, making it a cross-country-skiing paradise as you glide across the dramatic Hardanggervidda Plateau.
  • Peer Gynt Ski Area: Consistently, Norwegian skiers rate this beautiful countryside as one of the best venues for cross-country skiing. Because it's a part of the same region, the landscape encountered cross-country is virtually the same as for Lillehammer. This vast ski region in central Norway is most suitable for those skiers who'd like to combine cross-country skiing with alpinelike slopes. For cross-country skiers, there are 460km (285 miles) of well-prepared trails; in winter, floodlit trails in Espedalen and in Gålå make it possible to go cross-country skiing at night. A ski bus links all the main resorts, such as Espedalen, Fefor, and Gålå.
  • Geilo: For more than a century, Geilo, in a central location in southern Norway, has excelled as a ski resort. At 800m (2,624 ft.) above sea level, it lies halfway between Bergen and Oslo, and is even more dramatically situated than Voss, its major competitor. The Hallingskarvet Mountain -- frosted with several small glaciers -- is its "backbone," and it stands on the largest mountain plateau. Cross-country skiers will find a total of 220km (136 miles) of well-groomed and -marked trails through forests, hills, and moors. You'll traverse the Hardangervidda National Park, which is 3,430 sq. km (1,334 sq. miles) in area. This is some of the most beautiful and protected tundra in Norway and home of Norway's largest herds of wild reindeer, called caribou.
  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.