Looking for a ski or snowboard trip with a difference? Then check out this review of Myrkdalen snowboarding holiday in Norway. We enjoyed excellent empty slopes, played in impressive parks and spotted tantalising off-piste terrain.
To get to Myrkdalen we flew with Norwegian Air from Gatwick to Bergen. We then hopped on the city centre shuttle to the train station. The pretty train journey to Voss is part of the Norway in a Nutshell winter tour, from there it was a short transfer to Myrkdalen Hotel.
Whilst it is not going to compete with resorts in the Alps on size, Myrkdalen punches well above its weight. There are 30 km of pisted slopes with 610 m of vertical. It’s all serviced by nine lifts spread over 21 slopes.
Although tiny compared to the big name resorts most Brits visit, size does not tell the whole story. There are four very impressive snowparks for all abilities. The teaching is excellent and the empty slopes are perfect to learn on. For those who like to venture off-piste there are ample freeride opportunities.
Myrkdalen ski area only opened in 2003. There are ambitions plans to grow the ski area, include linking to nearby Voss which will create a huge resort to rival the Alps. This far north they have a long season, the resort usually opens from November until May.
On the Myrkdalen website it claims that ‘more snow falls in Myrkdalen than almost anywhere else in Europe’. To be fair a lot of resorts make similar claims, but Myrkdalen has the stats to back it up.
In the last decade Myrkdalen has received between 4 and 14 metres a year, and has received less than 6 metres just twice. To put this in perspective Chamonix has only had more than 6 meters of snow three times in that period.
Unfortunately we only had one day on the slopes in Myrkdalen during this snowboarding holiday in Norway. However it was more than enough to explore the area and to fall in love with it.
We visited in April and conditions were a little firm at the start of the day. But the piste was so well groomed it was not a problem. As the day wore on the piste softened, but we did not end up in spring slush as you’d expect in the Alps in April.
Our guide for the day was Klaus Finne, the Norwegian X-Games skier. As a local he has grown up in the resort, he even has a snow park named after him.
Our group consisted of two very experienced snowboarders and ex-pro Jamie Barrow. So we bombed around the resort following Klaus at pace. We did all the runs a few times each, and pretty much had the slopes to ourselves, surprising as it was the Easter school holiday in the UK.
While exploring Klaus pointed out various places you can head off-piste. There are some vast areas high up and with a short traverse you can usually get fresh tracks a few days after snow.
Klaus told us that if you are willing to hike, snowshoe or splitboard you can find fresh snow a week or more after it has snowed. Unfortunately for us there had been no fresh snow for a couple of weeks. And due to warm conditions in the day and refreezing at night the off-piste was not an option.
During our visit we spent a lot of time in the Myrkdalen snowparks. With small jumps and boxes Reveparken is aimed at kids and first time freestylers . For intermediates there are tubes, boxes, and a top to bottom flowline at Landsbyparken.
Finne-parken – named after our guide – is a creative line with big kickers and other features for expert riders. Finally Helgatuncrossen has a kids’ flow line with jumps, humps and corners.
We had a lot of fun spending most of the afternoon hitting a line of kickers in the snowpark just outside our hotel. With each lap the lure of the bar grew stronger and late in the afternoon we stopped for a few beers.
Despite it being quiet on the slopes, Pudder Afterski was lively so we stayed for a while. Unfortunately beers in Norway are rather expensive costing between £10 and £13 per pint.
A review of Myrkdalen snowboarding holiday in Norway wouldn’t be complete without talking about the excellent Myrkdalen Hotel. It is the only hotel in the resort, but the lack of competition hasn’t led to a lack of standards.
It is a lovely hotel. The staff are all very friendly and communal areas are big and airy. It is modern looking, but with lots of natural wood it feels as if it belongs in the mountains.
My room was spacious with plenty of storage and a very comfy bed. It was well finished with modern decoration throughout. Plus the bathroom was large, clean and has a lovely powerful shower.
Breakfast was a buffet affair with a large range of hot and cold options. Being Norway there was some incredible smoked salmon, plus other stinky fish! We were well fed, the eggs, bacon and sausages were closer to UK style then European. Plus the continental and cereal options were good.
We also had dinner in the hotel on two evenings. The first was a set menu at the Nuten Restaurant. There was a range of tasty options with something for everyone, even my vegan buddy ate well. I loved the reindeer soup for starter.
The second evening we ate in the Nuten Fondue. As you’d imagine the menu was rather fondue heavy. After starters we had a cheese, vegetable and meat fondue plus a fair amount of wine – it was all very good. There is also a family friendly pizza restaurant.
The experience of sliding on snow is the same the world over, but each resort does it differently. I don’t think I have ever been anywhere that is as small but as varied as Myrkdalen.
Its 30 km of piste are suitable for all levels and there is an amazing amount of freestyle. Spread over four parks its suitable for first timers to X-Games athletes. And in the right conditions – which happen more often than the rest of Europe – the off-piste would be amazing.
Combine this with quiet slopes, excellent tuition and surprisingly good food at the Myrkdalen hotel and you have a winning combination. The only downside was the price of beer.
To conclude this review of Myrkdalen snowboarding holiday in Norway it would be great for families, freestylers or freeriders. And as part of the Freeride the Fjords package – check out the video above – it’s a unique ski or snowboard experience that I highly recommend.
To find out more about Myrkdalen visit: www.myrkdalen.no