Flexiski Does Norway: Part 1
Day 1 – Getting to Norway
Flying into Bergen Airport, Norway, a sleek example of Scandinavian architecture at its finest. A true welcoming for what lies ahead; ‘The Pete’s Grand Tour (of Norway)’ (copyright tbc). Breezing through the simple airport of Bergen we trooped onto Myrkdalen, our first resort.
Paal, the director of sales for Myrkdalen, had organised car hire for us next to the airport for ease of access. The drive to resort was 2 hours of fjords and waterfalls. Come winter this drive would be stunning. You even pass through the town of Voss, the guys behind Voss water.
The Myrkdalen Hotel is right at the foot of the piste. On the way into the small town, you’ll notice off to the left plenty of cabins in-resort that stretch up the side of the mountain.
The hotel was built in 2008, it’s very modern with a dramatic ice feature in the lobby and a cosy lounge down the far end with fireplace, sofas and the day’s news/sport on the TV. 2 Rooms were allocated to us, I obviously nabbed the nicer room here… Respect your elders and all that malarkey went out the window… I had one of their rather flash Elegant Suites, which comprises of a very spacious lounge with sofa bed, the bedroom is separated from the living room by sliding doors. A nice snug area with fur top sheets, corner armchairs and the TV for the morning news (quite like my news). The balcony was overlooking the Ski Park, that evening there happened to be some locals trying the features which were good to watch. Most evenings you’ll find yourself looking up at the stars, in Myrkdalen, being so quaint, you’ll find that light pollution doesn’t exist so the stars will be out in full force (Subject to cloud coverage).
It’s all about the food
When staying at the hotel I would recommend the Half Board, 3 restaurants for you to choose from, the family-friendly Tunet in which you’ll find the family favourites such as pizza & pasta. They even claim their pizza is so good you might confuse yourself with being in Napoli. With a claim as bold as that it would be rude not to try a slice. Restaurant number 2 on the list is the 2nd Floor Restaurant Nuten. Here you’ll be enjoying either the buffet which is included on the HB or trying something different on the A La Carte menu. Just make sure whilst you’re eating you take a look out the window, there isn’t a bad seat in the house when the mountains are so close you will be guaranteed a great view. Last but by no means least is the Nuten Fondue Restaurant, no-brainer what you’ll find here (Cheese dipping and meat hot plates/pots). Highly recommend pre-booking a table so you don’t miss out on your cheese & meat fix. We dined in one of the halves of the Fondue restaurants and had the a la carte menu from the Nuten restaurant, what a meal we had and what a way to kick off the trip. Dining with the CEO Harald and Sales Director Paal listening to their stories about how they grew up in the area and how they both share such a strong passion for the resort you know that this resort has something special & genuine. After we filled our bellies and drank till our heart’s content we ventured down to the lounge to close out the evening and sample the local beers.
Day 2 – Skiing in Myrkdalen
Ski day! The real perk of the job, we ventured out of the hotel 9am sharp where they had opened the lifts for us so we can squeeze in a few laps before we ventured off to the fjords. It became abundantly clear just how much potential this resort has when the snow is falling. We were a little bit hampered by the clouds but the sun was doing his best to clear them, we caught a glimpse of the surrounding area and that’s when it hit us. Everything you see is ski-able. Everything is accessible for every level, you can venture to the top of the Myrkdalsekspressen (6 seater chair) and take a different line each time, on the wide-open blue run, the challenging red or if you fancy trying your hand at the black runs or trees everyone can ski one or the other and arrive into the same place. If you’re a powder hound or a rookie to the mountain everyone in the party is going to find something just for them here.
Intermediate to Advanced skiers, just a tip. Well worth hiring a local guide and venturing on a little bit of ski touring to really access the secret stashed of snow. Reasonably easy to get around and the locals will know which area to ski after the recent snowfall.
Driving the Tesla to a fjord boat tour
Post ski we quickly got changed and headed into a rather fancy looking Tesla Model X which took us down to Flam. (The hotel can provide taxi or shuttle services via a bus). We had a secret adventure planned for us by our guide Trevor from Visit Norway. He had been working with the guys from Myrkdalen and Flam to organise a high-speed rib ride around the fjords in Flam, we didn’t know what we had in store until we saw these boats moored up and the fjord stretching into the distance. We donned the survival suits and rather fashionable fury gloves, being the model that I am, I found it very easy to rock the outfit... Goggles, gloves, boots, trousers & wetsuits all provided.
This wasn’t a tour all about the need-for-speed but a tour largely about the local area, history, stories and well yes, speed too. Why wouldn’t you when you’ve got a twin-engine rib boat captained by the locals who know the area like the back of their hands. The tour lasted a good couple of hours and took us into the UNESCO World Heritage Landscape. Along the way, the boat will venture up to what can only be described as hamlets to talk about the locals, how long the villages have been here and any interesting back stories to the place.
Being in Norway and on the fjords, you really get a sense of how insanely pretty this place will look come winter! We were here at the end of April so the waterfalls were in full flow with the recent melting snow but you hear the stories of the frozen waterfalls, ice-capped peaks and the fjord itself even lightly freezing over and the rib slicing through. This is an absolute must do if you’re staying in Myrkdalen, you’re only 40mins away. We’ll sort the transfers/logistics for you and even pre-book the tour. This rib tour is suitable for all ages, certainly suitable for young children. Should you find yourself wanting to take the views in at a more leisurely pace then I recommend the ferry, this a hybrid (soon to be electric) ferry from Flam – Bergen, takes about 4 -5 hours winding its way up and down the fjords to access the local town/villages before arriving in Bergen. Certainly, an incredibly unique way to catch your flight should you have the time. Take a look at our Norway ski and ford tour for more information.
Flam (a village on the fjord)
Flam is a village I would recommend spending at least 2 nights in, you’ve got the Flamsbana (train) which has been named one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. The journey from Flam to Myrdal and back again takes about 2 hours, you also have a viewpoint stop along the way for pictures at the waterfall.
Another must do is visit the Stegastein Viewpoint, I wish we had time to go and do this but unfortunately, we had to get on the Flamsbana (train) to venture onto our next resort but from the pictures I’ve seen, it looks incredible. The actual platform you stand on is even worth the trip itself! Accommodation, I’d recommend either the traditional Fretheim which dates back to the mid-1800s. This hotel splits into 2 wings, modern and vintage. If perhaps this hotel doesn’t appeal to you, do not worry. There is a traditional Viking hotel which even has an onsite Brewery, this is the Flamsbrygga Hotel. Superior room recommended as you’ll have balcony views of the Fjord itself, it’s a small hotel. Honestly speaking, it doesn’t matter which you choose and you’ll be spending 90% of your time out of the rooms exploring.
Trains to Geilo
We took the Flamsbana train to Myrdal where we picked up the Bergen – Oslo train (Which is yet again, another top journey to tick off the bucket list), we didn’t go as far as Oslo of course, but we did pass some of the most impressive scenery I think I’ve ever seen. (Tip, sit on the right of the train facing the direction of travel). We took the train from Flam – Geilo.
Geilo, snowshoeing to sunsets
In Geilo we were met by the team and their brand new Ski Bus to take us to our next adventure location, once again this was kept as a wonderful surprise! We parked up at the base of the Bjodnahovda and clipped into some snowshoes, it was a first and probably last for me but I can definitely see the attraction to this hobby. We walked to the top of the mountain within the hour and rolled out a tabletop picnic whilst drinking champagne and nibbling locally sourced cheeses & meats whilst watching the sunset in the distance.
Evening at the Vestlia Hotel
We were staying in the Vestlia Hotel, right next to the ski slopes, ski school with post ski activities all within shuffling distance. You can also walk into town should you wish to venture out. After a quick tour around the spa area and popping our heads into a few of the rooms we sat down for dinner. The thing I adore about Norway is their passion to eat locally sourced foods and this hotel was no different, we feasted once more on a lavish 3-course evening meal with accompanying wines. Having had the day we just had, we weren’t sitting around much longer and the desire to sleep eventually won.
To be continued...