Norway has a long and proud tradition when it comes to winter sports and Norwegians are generally very serious about keeping this tradition alive for future generations. In fact, this tiny little country with just over 5 million inhabitants have won more medals at the Winter Olympics than any other country.
By many considered to be one of the best Winter Olympics ever arranged (and its not just us Norwegians saying that), the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994 is still very much alive in many Norwegians minds. In Norway in general, but especially in this region of the country, you can easily make some friends by casually bringing this up in a conversation.
Located about 16 kilometers from Lillehammer, one of the largest cities in the region, Hafjell is a winter wonderland for both kids and adults alike. Hafjell is a large and complete alpine ski centre with 44 kilometers of slopes and a varied selection of runs for everyone from the beginner to the very advanced.
It’s definitely not all about alpine skiing though as the Lillehammer region offers approximately 350 km of prepared cross-country trails. The tracks run all the way from Hafjell to Lillehammer and Sjusjøen, and provide fantastic nature experiences as the trails criss-cross through both forest and mountain terrains. Most trails are clearly sign posted but you should still consider purchasing a ski map in order to navigate safely through this amazing winter wonderland.
For a great starting point, ride the gondola from downtown Øyer up to the mountain plateau which will give you majestic views right from the get go, as well as easy and moderate tracks that are connected with the even more extensive Nordseter/Sjusjøen system. Or you can just stay at Pellestova, which is located in the middle of the mountain plateau with fantastic skiing opportunities all around you.
All the cross country slopes are free of charge, and due to a unique Norwegian law called Allemannsretten you do not have to worry about getting off the tracks (but don’t get lost. You bought the ski map, right?) As long as you stay out of people’s backyard you are allowed to move around wherever you want, regardless of the ownership of the property.
Please note that this only means that you are allowed to move around on their property, it does not give you the right to do whatever you want. Stay respectful and don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want people to do on your own property and you should be just fine.