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26th April 2022 | James Cove, Narvik, Northern Norway.

Last modified on April 30th, 2022

We expected some fabulous skiing and stunning scenery, but the area in Norway has far more to offer than simply sliding around on snow. Arctic train rides, snowmobiling, historical WW2 sites, meeting polar animals and much more. It is a unique winter experience.

I’ve been dreaming of skiing in Narvik for many years and started making plans back in November 2019.

It was to have been one of the highlights of my winter season a couple of years ago.

Then something called Covid-19 came along.

And now here I am, perched on a rock, high above the Ofotfjorde stretch of water.

I have no desire to be anywhere else in the entire world – mountains or otherwise.

Image c/o Googe Maps

Image c/o Googe Maps

The flight across Norway was worth an article in itself:

  • PlanetSKI heads to the Arctic Circle

Heading to the Arctic Circle, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Heading to the Arctic Circle, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

I have seen a few decent mountain views in my time, but I was hard pushed to think how this one could be improved as I flung open the curtains of my accommodation in Camp 291 at the base of the ski area – more on Camp 291 later.

Towards the top of the resort, it only got better.

My first day in Narvik was last weekend and I rattled off a quick video for the main PlanetSKI Snow Report:

And then we hit the slopes.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Now let’s get one thing quite clear from the outset, Narvik doesn’t have extensive skiing – a modest 13.3km of piste skiing.

But what a setting.

Narvik, Norway.

Narvik, Norway.

It has six lifts, but one is a covered magic carpet for kids and beginners.

There’s a modern gondola, an old two-person chairlift and three 3 T-bars.

There are 12 marked slopes, with the top of the resort at 1,003m above sea level.

It has 1,816 acres of terrain – the size of 900 football pitches.

It does have one of the largest vertical descents in Norway, 875m top to bottom, and some great ski touring and cross-country skiing if that is your thing.

The gondola was installed in 2019 and replaced the first ever gondola in Northern Europe that was constructed in 1957.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

By ski stats alone it is perhaps nothing much to write home about, but I could write home about it for ages and will be doing so over the coming week.

What it does offer is an all-round and unique winter destination.

What Narvik lacks in size it more than makes up for in variety.

This is adventure skiing, Arctic style.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

It is a centre for ski touring and many people were making the extra effort to reach the backcountry.

The Norwegians love heading off into nature.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

After a morning exploring the slopes I headed off for lunch.

The single mountain restaurant at the top of the gondola, Fjellheisrestauranten, has one of the best mountain views I can recall, and on the balcony it’s perhaps even better.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

After lunch we hit the off piste as the spring sun had done its work – what had been hard and icy a few hours earlier, was light spring snow.

Here’s a Norwegian friend of mine, Geir Bottolfs, showing how its done.

“The alpine resort’s close proximity to the city centre of Narvik, makes this Norway’s most urban plant,” said Trevor de Villiers from Norway-Home of Skiing.

“Here you get the largest alpine resort in northern Norway and urban city culture in one.

“Here you have a large variety of experiences for families, friends, mountain enthusiasts, active alpine skiers, bike enthusiast to mention just some.”

I have already mentioned where I am staying: Camp 291 at the base of the ski area.

It has modern, self-contained accommodation pods – with those views again.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

There’s a lodge for relaxing.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

“It is unique accommodation and not seen in any other ski resort,” said Helle Holt, the marketing manager of Narvikfjellet AS.

“It is compact and green with a strong emphasis on the environment. Here you are staying in nature.”

Helle Holt. Image © PlanetSKI

Helle Holt. Image © PlanetSKI

Inside Camp 291 I met Jim Ove Johansen, the CEO of Narvikfjellet AS.

Jim Ove Johansen. Image © PlanetSKI

Jim Ove Johansen. Image © PlanetSKI

“We pride ourselves on the breadth of attractions we offer here in Narvik and we have ambitious plans for the future,” said Jim.

“There really is no-where quite like Narvik, We are urban skiing with plenty on offer in town and the surrounding area.

“We offer a variety of experiences, both for family, friends, ski touring enthusiasts, bike enthusiasts, and active alpine skiers/snowboarders.

“I know James that you are heading to Sweden for a day trip on the Arctic train – you will love it.

“Then we also have a multitude of activities and, of course, our spectacular setting with unique views.”

So much for the present.

What about Narvik’s past, and its future.

I’ll be looking at both in my next blog from Narvik as we look to the past – its fate in World War Two and its place in the military history books.

The Battle of Narvik remains the first significant naval battle of WW2 and the Narvik War Museum is a must-visit place on anyone’s list.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

And we look to the future as Narvik has big plans for the coming years with multiple improvements in the pipeline – new lifts, new hotels, some new slopes and a drive to upgrade.

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

It is bidding for the 2027 Alpine World Championships, and if successful then expect to hear more about Narvik.

And after that we will be reporting on our journey on the Arctic Train to Ryksgransen in Sweden for a spot of snow mobiling.

I even managed to fulfill a boyhood ambition en route.

Narvik to Ryksgransen. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik to Ryksgransen. Image © PlanetSKI

Snowmobiling in Ryksgransen, Sweden. Image © PlanetSKI

Snowmobiling in Ryksgransen, Sweden. Image © PlanetSKI

And next was our visit to the Polar Park to come face to face with bears, wolves, arctic foxes, a wolverine, moose and lynx.

Polar Park, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Polar Park, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Do check back later in the week for those reports.

There is much more to Narvik than simply the skiing.

Cheers!

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Further Information:

For more information on Narvik see here – Narvikfjellet

Holidays are offered by Norway – Home of Skiing .

Winter Season

Number of slopes  15 (9 of these prepared)

Number of lifts: 6 (3 t-bars, 1 ski band, 1 chairlift, 1 cable car)

Overall slopes length: 13 kilometers

Longest continuous slope: 5 kilometers

Fall-height on piste: From Linken 1006 m to 118 m. Total fall-height: 889 m

Fall-height off-piste: From Tredjetoppen 1272 m to 118 m. Total fall-height: 1154 m

Park elements: Yes, simple park items like jumps and rails can be found in the area called “Family Ground”

Ski rental: Yes (alpine skis, off-piste ski, snowboard, randonee, avalanche equipment, helmets) See more here.

Restaurant: Yes, Fjellheisrestauranten 656 m, serving simple hot dishes.

Skishop: Yes, purchase of ski passes, alpine goggles, gloves, hats, helmets and more.

Ski School/Ski instructor: Yes, on request. See more here.

Guided Off-Piste Skiing Yes, with a certified ski guide. See more here.

Ski Service: Yes, we can make your snowboard or skis as good as new. Just deliver them to the ski rental during opening hours.

Length of groomed slopes: Førstebakken/Holstkleiva: 606 m Andrebakken/Upper part Holstkleiva: 557 m Tredjebakken: 645 m Familiebakken: 915 m Barnebakken: 140 m Utforløypa: 500 m Snaua: 645 m Fjellveien: 3,1 km Linkenløypa: 1,2 km

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Narvik, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI