Hemsedal Ski Holiday Resort
Hemsedal is 90 minutes from Fagernes airport and is both an unspoiled valley and a village, the latter also referred to as Trøym and Sentrum ('Centre').
Sentrum is a bus ride from the lift base (Skisenter) - though there is now a run to the village. It is little more than a small area of low-rise hotels and apartments, shops, a garage, a bank and a couple of cashpoints. There's a developing area of lodgings at the base, with a ski-bus linking all parts, and floodlit paths to/from the centre. You can also stay further up the hill, where there are several areas of more or less ski-in/ski-out lodgings.
Hemsedal's slopes pack a lot of variety into a small space. Fast lifts serve a high proportion of the slopes, and practically all drags can be avoided. There can be weekend crowds and queues, but during the week it is quiet. There are three terrain parks and a mini park for kids, plus ski cross, speed ski and giant slalom areas. Snowmaking covers 45% of the slopes; grooming is excellent. The terrain is mainly easy-intermediate, but mileage-hungry piste-bashers will find the runs very limited. There are quite a few red and blue runs to play on, and splendid long green runs - but they get a lot of traffic. There is quite a bit to amuse experts: wide areas of gentler off-piste terrain served by drags, as well as several black pistes. There is floodlit skiing several nights a week. There's a separate, gentle nursery area. The resort caters well for families; the kids' nursery slopes at the base are good. There are 120km of prepared cross-country trails in the valley and forest, and (in late season) 90km at altitude.
World-class, English-speaking instructors and great beginner runs make this an ideal place to learn. Once you’re ready to move up, there are green runs that start practically from the mountain peak and amble their way down – ideal for those just starting out. And since most of the accommodation is close to the slopes, you'll never have far to go when you need a break.
The grooming is spot on and the snow is incredibly consistent, so you'll have the best pistes imaginable - whether you’re taking it easy on a green, shooting around on the blues and reds, or even trying your luck on the black runs. You won’t tire of the terrain and it’s usually pretty quiet, so you'll have time for plenty of runs and lots of hot chocolate stops.
As with the easier runs, the black slopes are groomed, groomed again and then groomed once more for luck. Combine this with incredible snow conditions (and some man-made) and you have steeps that you can really go for it on. There’s also some off-piste to be found, with guides and lessons available.
Cross-country addicts will love Hemsedal - you can access the groomed tracks straight from most accommodations. The trails then head off in different directions, up the mountain, down to the valley and through the forest, so there's lots of exploring to be had. For those seeking a challenge, try out the high-mountain track which starts from Storelia and makes a circuit of the lakes beside Tinden.
Snow activities available in resort include dog sledding, ice climbing, snow biking, winter biking / fatbiking, snow scooters, snowmobiling / skidooing, cross-country skiing, floodlit skiing, winter walking paths, snowshoe walking, sleigh rides and outdoor ice skating.
In resort there is a swimming pool with spa, bowling, climbing wall, paragliding, and a cinema.
Apres ski in the week can be fairly quiet, although weekends tend to be busy in the bars and clubs.
Great runs for any ability, some good off piste and on the weekends the apres ski and nightlife are superb.