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DOWNHILL IN NORWAY - Jane Peel, Trysil
Thursday March 16, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI's Chief Reporter has just spent a few days skiing in Norway. Not the cross-country kind for which the Nordic nation is famous, but downhill.

And it proved to be a revelation.  Here's her account of three days in Trysil.

Sunday 12th March

First Impressions

I am a Norway virgin.

I have never visited the country before, let alone skied here.  In fact, this is going to be my first experience of skiing anywhere in Scandinavia and it's not going to involve those ridiculously thin, impossible to manage (for me, anyway) cross-country skis.

This morning I went to the ski hire shop and picked up a pair of stiff Blizzard slalom skis, perfect for blasting down the groomed slopes.

I wondered before travelling here whether downhill skiing in Norway would be worth the effort. 

I feared the runs would be short and dull.

A look at the piste map reassured me. 

There seemed to be a fair amount of terrain in Trysil.

Trysil piste mapTrysil piste map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately the Norwegian sun didn't make an appearance on day one and it didn't look very appealing we prepared to set off.

Trysil Cloudy start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The low cloud showed no sign of shifting.

There is only one word to describe what we found at the top of the mountain and that's fog.

Fortunately there are a lot of tree runs in Trysil and that's where we chose to spend much of the day. 

You'd think everyone else would head there too. 

In fact, where is everyone else?  It's the weekend and the wide runs are virtually empty.

Trysil black 30Spot the skier - me with the slope to myself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet slope, TrysilWhere is everyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The runs are also beautifully groomed and, although the temperature is on the mild side ranging from minus 1 up to about 5 degrees, the snow has a distinctly wintry quality. 

There's no slush, no sugary lumps.

 

Trysil (the correct pronunciation is Tree-Seel) is, as I mention in the video, small in comparison to ski resorts in the Alps, but it is Norway's biggest with 67 slopes covering 75km.

There is one mountain - Trysilfjellet - and the longest run is 3km top to bottom.

I have never skied such great snow at such low altitude. 

Correction: I have never skied at such low altitude.

The top of the mountain is just 1,132 metres above sea level and you can ski down to 360 metres.

This is possible because of its location. Trysil is the blue dot on this Google map.

Google map marking TrysilWhere to find Trysil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It doesn't have the rugged high-mountain scenery of the Alps, or the extensive off-piste, but it aims itself firmly at the family market with areas devoted to young children.

I liked this one.

Kids' lift trainerHow to ride the lift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The maypole contraption teaches little novices how to ride a button lift.

Trysil has other things I've not seen in a ski resort.

Like an indoor barbecue for you to grill your own hot dogs.

Indoor barbecue, TrysilBring-your-own indoor barbecue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a ski-in ski-out Kirkestua - or Church House -  on the mountain.

Church House, TrysilTime for Church

 

 

 

 

 

PIC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On certain days of the week a priest bases himself here so you can you go in for a chat or a prayer if you feel so inclined.

He's not in residence today, so it's do-it-yourself.

"Dear God, please can we have some sunshine?"

In the Kirkestua, TrysilLet us pray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They say it's so easy to find your way around the mountain that you can't get lost.

Not unless there is a complete whiteout, that is.

This was my view on the last chairlift of the day, by which time the fog had become a real pea-souper.  (I don't think God was listening).

 

By the time we reached the top, it was even worse.

Despite this, one of my skiing pals laughingly declared: "I think it's clearing a bit".

Yeah, right.

His next words a few minutes - and a few turns later - were: "Where's the path?  I can't see a f*****g thing".

Tomorrow, I'll be out on the slopes again, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for better weather.

Maybe, if the visibility's OK, I'll head to Trysil's famous black 75.

While many of the black runs here are more like reds in many other resorts, this one certainly isn't.  It's not very long but it has a 45 degree gradient. 

Last week it opened for the first time this season so it would be a shame not to give it a go.

One thing's for sure. I won't be tackling it if "I can't see a f*****g thing".

Monday 13th March

Downward dog

I am a Yoga virgin.

So, day two in Trysil starts with another first - my first attempt at Yoga.

Wake Up Yoga, they called it, probably because it was taking place before breakfast, but possibly also because it was a bit like a physical version of an alarm clock, shocking those tired muscles back into action before another day of skiing.

Wake Up YogaWake Up Yoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In hindsight, it would have been better if I'd remembered to stretch those muscles at the end of my first day of skiing. 

Then I wouldn't have turned up to the exercise studio feeling like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz when he's out of lubricating oil.

"Relax the shoulders, breathe in through the nose."

Our teacher Annika Bogren repeated this mantra throughout the session as she encouraged us to twist our bodies into some basic Yoga poses, and then got us to hold them for what felt like way too long.

Annika BogrenAnnika Bogren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downward DogDownward Dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Downward Dog and the Warrior are the only names I can remember.

"It doesn't matter if you sound like Darth Vader," Annika said reassuringly as the breathing of her novice pupils became heavier and heavier.

Chi restoredChi restored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An hour later, my chi fully restored,  it was time to meet the "locals", among them a young Brit who calls Norway his second home. 

27-year-old Jack Kirby from Hampshire lives in Trysil all winter where he works as a ski and snowboard instructor. 

Jack KirbyJack Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He spent 4 years in Kicking Horse in Canada but has ended up here.  He told me why.

 

Most skiers who come to Trysil are from Norway's neighbouring Scandinavian countries, Denmark (32 per cent) and Sweden (30 per cent). 

Strangely the Norwegians themselves make up only 26 per cent of the resort's visitors.

The British are down at 3 per cent, but their numbers are growing. They've gone from zero to 3 per cent in 3 years.

This season Crystal Ski have introduced package holidays to Trysil for the first time. It calls the resort Norway's best-kept ski secret but it might not stay that way for long.

For now, though, it seems to be the case. 

Today we once again cruised down quiet slopes, concentrating on tree-lined runs to keep out of the wind and cloud,  enjoying the fresh light snowfall.

 

The weather meant we didn't get to try out the 45 degree black slope, but tomorrow is another day.

This one ended just like yesterday's, with thick fog making for a character-building journey back to home base!

Tuesday 14th March

Happy Birthday Trysil

I have come to the conclusion that this place is full of friendly, super-enthusiastic people. 

None more so than Roar Vingelsgaard. 

What this man doesn't know about the history of skiing in Trysil is not worth knowing.

He is the volunteer curator of the Trysil Ski Museum, based in an old schoolhouse down the mountain in the town centre.

Roar Vingelsgaard Trysil Ski MuseumRoar Vingelsgaard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At PlanetSKI we love a bit of ski history and what a lot of history Trysil has for a town with just 6,700 permanent inhabitants.

The ski resort is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2017 but, like everywhere in Norway, skiing has been part of people's daily life for hundreds of years.

In the early days it was simply a means of transport. 

The first cross-country competition was not held until 1857.

Ski racers 1906Ski racers 1906

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roar tells us of locals who skied 90km to get to a 50km race, completed the race and then skied home again.

They breed them hard in Trysil.

One example is Hallgeir Brenden, a double Olympic champion in the 1950s - "the greatest"  Roar calls him.

Hallgeir BrendenHallgeir Brenden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He fell on hard times and sold his medals. 

He died before the museum was able to raise the cash from a local sponsor to buy them back for the town.

Hallgeir Brenden's Olympic medalsHallgeir Brenden's Olympic medals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love looking at the old, long wooden skis, marvelling at how it was ever possible to make a turn on them.

Roar tells us that the word ski originates from here. 

It's a Norse name for wood and it's thought that's how we came to call them skis.

Old wooden skis, Trysil ski museumSkis made of ski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite exhibit at the museum has to be Trysil's first chairlift.

Trysil's first 6-man chairliftChairlift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The man who invented this back in 1957 had never seen a ski lift. 

He simply used a small tractor engine and cables to winch people up the mountain.

Inventor of ski lift in 1957 TrysilThe man and his machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The official birth of Trysil as a ski resort came 10 years later in 1967 when the first drag lift was installed and two brothers who'd visited the Alps had the vision to create an alpine destination.

Now it's the biggest ski resort in the country and in its Golden Anniversary year I am going to give it one more chance to show me what it looks like in the sunshine.

It's the last day of our trip and there are less than two hours to spare for skiing before we have to head off on the 160km drive to Oslo airport.

I'm determined not to let the howling gale that's blowing and the risk of a repeat of zero visibility at the top to stop my quest for the elusive yellow ball in the sky.

I have recruited a partner in crime. 

Pete is the only person on the trip up for the challenge.

The sky is looking a little brighter than it has been since we arrived,  so I'm optimistic.

With not much time we almost fell at the first hurdle, or should I say the first drag.

Drag lift queueWhat a drag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately the queue moved quickly and soon we were at the top.

It's a shame that we didn't get to tackle the super-steep black run I'd so wanted to see and ski.

That will have to wait for another time.

Instead we did black run 30 from top to bottom - all 3km of it - and we didn't see another soul until two thirds of the way down. 

I have lost count of the number of times in 3 days I have asked myself where everyone is.

And then it was a blast down another black - the race course.

And guess what?

View from slopes in TrysilWhat's that in the sky?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yep. The clouds thinnned and the sun came out. 

Not for long and at times only half-heartedly, but there is no question that it was the sun.

It was a great end to a great trip.

Thank you sunshine.  Thank you Trysil.  Thank you Norway. I'll be seeing you Wink

Trysil viewClear view ahead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In TrysilFinal fling in Trysil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRYSIL - MY TOP 5

* Snow Quality - I cannot emphasise enough how good the snow is and how well prepared the slopes are.  This was particularly welcome in zero visibility. So were the many tree-lined runs.

* Quiet Slopes - Plenty of people around but on the slopes it feels like you are on your own.  This might change in peak times with about 15,000 skiers each day rather than the 6,000 during my visit.

* Ski-In Ski-Out - Most of the accommodation on the mountain, including the two hotels and the apartments and cabins, are right on the slopes.

* Friendly People - Genuinely welcoming and enthusiastic locals, all of whom speak impeccable English.

* Food -  Food and drink here is not exactly cheap but there are some great places to eat, including my personal favourite lunch spot, Skihytta.  My favourite because it has my ideal ski lunch on the menu - Goulash soup, which it serves in half a loaf of bread.

Apartments & cabins, TrysilSki-In Ski-Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch at SkihyttaSuppegjøk - Goulash soup in bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACT BOX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACT BOX

Jane stayed at the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort in Trysil with Crystal Ski

For more information about skiing in Trysil visit  www.skistar.com

For more information about skiing in Norway go to  Norway - Home of Skiing

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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