As spring takes full grip, the temperatures rise, the days get longer, snow melts and inevitably, ski resorts close.
A precious few resorts, however, tell a different story.
Here’s the lowdown on summer skiing in Scandinavia:
Many Scandinavians associate Midsummer with sociable celebrations in warm fields, drinking, dancing, sunbathing and swimming in lakes. For others though, it’s time to hit the slopes. Scandinavia has several ski resorts that come to life during spring, offering ski addicts some welcome relief to an otherwise snow-free season.
Norway has two main summer ski centres; Stryn and Galdhøpiggen, both of which are on glaciers.
Resort Height: 1065m-1600m
Transfer Time: 6hr 20mins drive from Oslo
Stryn is the biggest of the summer ski centres, located on a branch of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. The resort stays open from May until mid-July, although this is weather and snow dependent.
Two ski lifts (one chair lift and one T-Bar) whisk you up to the glacier at over 1,500m above sea level. From here there are fantastic views over the surrounding mountains, their deep green valleys and waterfalls, and down to the fjord waters beneath.
Stryn has an excellent terrain park popular with snowboarders and skiers alike. There’s also lots of off-piste skiing on offer, especially good around June when there’s still lots of snow. Cross-country skiing is always a firm favourite amongst Norwegians, and there are plenty of trails here.
In terms of accommodation there are a few options; Folven Camping in Hjelledalen is popular with skiers and has rooms and log cabins to rent as well as a campsite for tents.
Folven has a café serving snacks and meals from breakfast right the way through to evening meals, and also ‘Einetappen’; an après-ski bar for evenings.
Other accommodations, including a hotel and further campsites, are available at Strynsvatnet Lake.
Resort Height: 2150m
Transfer Time: 5hr 15mins drive from Oslo
The Galdhøpiggen ski area has the highest altitude of any ski area in Norway, as well as the rest of Northern Europe at 1840m – 2150m. The ski area sits just below Norway’s highest mountain, Galdhøpiggen, at 2,469m. Its combination of location on the Juvbreen Glacier and altitude makes Galdhøpiggen skiable from May until as late as the end of October.
Photo from www.fjords.com/
It’s not just Galdhøpiggen’s location that is unique; the ski area enjoys powder conditions even during summer months.
The only downside is that there’s only one T-Bar lift, and one slope suitable for snowboarders and downhill skiers, which is 1.5km long with a vertical drop of 300m.
The good news is there’s lots of off-piste, and you can cross from one glacier to another (with guiding and equipment) where there’s more skiing available at Styggebreen Glacier.
Basic rooms come with linen, with a choice of private or communal bathroom facilities.
Warm meals are served, there is a bar open in the evenings, and snacks can be bought too.
Alternatively, Lom has a choice of accommodations, and also a beautiful traditional Norwegian stave church nearby.
Resort Height: 500m
Transfer Time: 3 hr flight from Stockholm
The Swedish ski resort of Riksgränsen (literally translated; The National Border) and its slopes sit over Sweden’s border with Norway, 1,500km from Stockholm.
Riksgränsen lies 200km north of the Arctic Circle and is the world’s most northerly ski resort.
This northerly location allows the resort to open from February until June, and from the middle of May, you can ski under the midnight sun!
There’s a total of 6 lifts serving 17 slopes, the longest slope coming in at 2km. Riksgränsen caters to a range of abilities; from beginners to professionals thanks to its combination of gentle mountains and challenging (and plentiful) off-piste.
Heli-skiing is available, and cross-country skiing is popular.
Image from Riksgransen site
Riksgränsen village is remote, rugged, and thoroughly Scandinavian.
Meals typically consist of pickled herrings or meat with potatoes. Lappis is a regular spot for lunches, whilst evening options are bar food at Grönan or Lapplandia for restaurant style dishes.
In the evenings the village comes to life with après-ski nightlife between two bars and one club.
If you fancy a quieter evening, why not try a drink of ‘glögg’ in the hot tubs outdoors at the world’s northernmost spa?
There is a choice of accommodation in Riksgränsen; all within easy walking distance of the slopes. Hostels and apartments are basic but comfortable options, whilst the Meteorologen hotel is a more luxurious choice.
Resort Height: 240m-295m
Transfer Time: 25mins-1hr 30mins drive from Kuusamo
Technically a Nordic rather than a Scandinavian country, Finland borders Sweden, Norway, and Russia.
Whilst no resorts stay open for the entire summer period, the country does enjoys long winter seasons, with ski resorts commonly opening from November until well in to May.