26th April 2022 | James Cove, Narvik, Northern Norway.
We expected some fabulous skiing and stunning scenery, but the area in Norway has far more to offer than simply sliding around on snow. Arctic train rides, snowmobiling, historical WW2 sites, meeting polar animals and much more. It is a unique winter experience.
I’ve been dreaming of skiing in Narvik for many years and started making plans back in November 2019.
It was to have been one of the highlights of my winter season a couple of years ago.
Then something called Covid-19 came along.
And now here I am, perched on a rock, high above the Ofotfjorde stretch of water.
I have no desire to be anywhere else in the entire world – mountains or otherwise.
The flight across Norway was worth an article in itself:
I have seen a few decent mountain views in my time, but I was hard pushed to think how this one could be improved as I flung open the curtains of my accommodation in Camp 291 at the base of the ski area – more on Camp 291 later.
Towards the top of the resort, it only got better.
My first day in Narvik was last weekend and I rattled off a quick video for the main PlanetSKI Snow Report:
And then we hit the slopes.
Now let’s get one thing quite clear from the outset, Narvik doesn’t have extensive skiing – a modest 13.3km of piste skiing.
But what a setting.
It has six lifts, but one is a covered magic carpet for kids and beginners.
There’s a modern gondola, an old two-person chairlift and three 3 T-bars.
There are 12 marked slopes, with the top of the resort at 1,003m above sea level.
It has 1,816 acres of terrain – the size of 900 football pitches.
It does have one of the largest vertical descents in Norway, 875m top to bottom, and some great ski touring and cross-country skiing if that is your thing.
The gondola was installed in 2019 and replaced the first ever gondola in Northern Europe that was constructed in 1957.
By ski stats alone it is perhaps nothing much to write home about, but I could write home about it for ages and will be doing so over the coming week.
What it does offer is an all-round and unique winter destination.
What Narvik lacks in size it more than makes up for in variety.
This is adventure skiing, Arctic style.
It is a centre for ski touring and many people were making the extra effort to reach the backcountry.
The Norwegians love heading off into nature.
After a morning exploring the slopes I headed off for lunch.
The single mountain restaurant at the top of the gondola has one of the best mountain views I can recall, and on the balcony it’s perhaps even better.
After lunch we hit the off piste as the spring sun had done its work – what had been hard and icy a few hours earlier, was light spring snow.
I have already mentioned where I am staying: Camp 291 at the base of the ski area.
It has modern, self-contained accommodation pods – with those views again.
There’s a lodge for relaxing.
“It is unique accommodation and not seen in any other ski resort,” said Helle Holt, the marketing manger of Narvikfjellet AS.
“It is compact and green with a strong emphasis on the environment. Here you are staying in nature.”
Inside Camp 291 I met Jim Ove Johansen, the CEO of Narvikfjellet AS.
“We pride ourselves on the breadth of attractions we offer here in Narvik and we have ambitious plans for the future,” said Jim.
“There really is no-where quite like Narvik, We are urban skiing with plenty on offer in town and the surrounding area.
“I know you are heading to Sweden for a day trip on the Arctic train and then we also have a multitude of activities and of course our spectacular setting with unique views.”
So much for the present.
What about Narvik’s past, and its future.
I’ll be looking at both in my next blog from Narvik as we look to the past – its fate in World War Two and its place in the military history books.
The Battle of Narvik remains the first significant naval battle of WW2 and the Narvik War Museum is a must-visit place on anyone’s list.
And we look to the future as Narvik has big plans for the coming years with multiple improvements in the pipeline – new lifts, new hotels, some new slopes and a drive to upgrade.
It is bidding for the 2027 Alpine World Championships, and if successful then expect to hear more about Narvik.
And after that we will be reporting on our journey on the Arctic Train to Ryksgransen in Sweden for a spot of snow mobiling.
I even managed to fulfill a boyhood ambition en route.
And next was our visit to the Polar Park to come face to face with bears, wolves, arctic foxes, a wolverine, moose and lynx.
Do check back later in the week for those reports.
There is much more to Narvik than simply the skiing.
For more information on Narvik see here – Narvikfjellet
Holidays are offered by Norway – Home of Skiing.
This article was originally published by Planetski.eu. Read the original article here.