Cross-country skiing in Norway: Crossing from the Espedalen Valley

If you’re a cross-country skier looking for a relatively easy run in the Norwegian mountains, one area worth considering is the mountainous area west of Espedalen, which is a long valley located about 70 km northwest of the city of Lillehammer. . .

In the mid-19th century, Espedalen was a very busy place, as it was then the largest nickel mining center in the world, and hundreds of men worked there. But today few signs of that activity remain, and the valley is quiet and empty.

It can be reached by taking a morning train from Oslo Airport to Lillehammer and then the afternoon bus to Espedalen. The bus stops at each of the three hotels in the valley. For logistical reasons, it’s best to arrange to spend the first and last night of your vacation in one of these hotels, because you’ll certainly want to use your transportation at the end of the tour, as we’ll see. (You may also want to use your transport at the beginning of the tour, perhaps to shorten the first day.)

After the first night at your hotel, you can begin your tour, staying each night in cabins run by DNT, the Norwegian Mountain Hiking Association. All but one of the cabins in this area are unstaffed, but are well equipped with food, cooking equipment and firewood and have bunk beds with bedding. Unstaffed booths are locked, but you can borrow a key from DNT (after becoming a member of that organization).

In general, during the period between mid-February and Easter, the routes between the cabins are marked by sticks placed in the snow at regular intervals. But you still need to be able to navigate, in case you stray off the poles in bad weather.

There are several possible tourist itineraries, but the following version is pretty standard. As you will see, the route is short. However, many skiers spend more than one night in each refuge and take the opportunity to go on day trips with light backpacks.

Level 1 It takes you to the Storholiseter Hut, a distance of 15-20 km, depending on your starting point. The route runs mainly through birch and fir forests, until you emerge from the trees a couple of kilometers before reaching Storholiseter, which is a group of cabins that formerly served as a farm in the highlands. The DNT accommodation is divided between two of the cabins: in total there are 18 beds.

Stage 2 It takes you to the Storkvelvbu hut, a distance of about 12 km. On the way you gradually ascend to a height of 1200 m and you should have a nice view of the Jotunheim mountains, the highest in Norway, on your right.

stage 3 He goes to Haldorbu, a 16-bed cabin situated at 1025m above sea level. The distance is about 14 km.

stage 4 It goes to Liomseter (915m), which is a staffed cabin. (Or, in any case, it is staffed during the busiest part of the tourist season, normally the two weeks leading up to Easter. During the rest of winter, a small part, with only 10 beds, can be used in a non- staff). The distance from Haldorbu to Liomseter is about 16 km and on the way you lose about 100 m of altitude and descend below the tree line. Liomseter is quite a large building and when staffed it has a total of 40 beds, some in small bunk beds and some in a larger dormitory. When staffed, you serve meals and you can also enjoy the luxury of a hot shower.

Stage 5 To end your tour, you’ll ski down to an isolated spot called Synsgardsætra, little more than a parking lot at the end of a back road, about 15km from Liomseter. Your best option then is to return to the hotel where you spent the first night. Upon agreement, the hotelier will pick you up from Synsgardsætra and bring you back to the hotel. Early the next morning you can take the bus back to Lillehammer and from there a train to Oslo airport.

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