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TR – Hemavan, Southern Lapland, Sweden – Easter 2017

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
If you want a large ski area with modern lift system, picture postcard village with luxury living, and vibrant après, then you can stop reading now Wink If you want a raw nature mountain environment, you like ski touring, freeride, cross country, or good family skiing in the late season, then read on. You can get a feel for the location from our trip video:

2017-04-04 Hemavan GoPro from Steven Plummer

As our Easter vacation fell quite late this year, we decided to head north to Southern Lapland for a 4-night short week from Sunday to Thursday. There are flights from Stockholm Arlanda to Hemavan, and the airport looks out onto the mountain, so it appeared to be super convenient. We are a family of three and our son is 8 years old. Wife is non-skier, so ski-in-ski out is important so we can meet up for breaks and lunch if we like.

Hemavan Tärnaby is northern Sweden's biggest ski resort. Hemavan ski area is small by any measure, with 10 lifts and a vertical drop of 665 m (for heli-skiing you can get 1313 m drop apparently, and we did see the heli picking people up and stopping on nearby peaks). The mountain is not that steep, which means it’s good for families. The runs down off-piste from the high-zone lift, Kungsliften, are a nice even gradient with a thin wind-swapped crust, so it was totally smooth in some areas. It was a really lovely feeling, kind of like skiing on a beach of snow. If the clouds close in, there is some nice skiing in the trees lower down. The downside at the moment is the really long t-bar lifts (which are prevalent in Scandinavia). Kungsliften is 1.85 km long and takes nearly 10 minutes(!) up a bumpy and rutted track. But the view from the top is worth it. A new chair/gondola lift will be installed ready for the 2017/18 season, replacing the 1.5 km Norrliften t-bar. There is quite a grand 2025 vision to extend the ski area to the north and replace all the main t-bar lifts lower down with chairlifts. T-bar lifts will remain in the high zone as they are less vulnerable to closure from wind and ice.

At the time we visited, winter was still in full swing. Snow depth was around 1 m on and off-piste. We had a bit of a rain/sleet on the first day, snow over-night, then it cleared up for some lovely sunny and crisp days. Average temperature was around -3°C during the day. I was expecting it to be quite busy as it was Easter, but both the hotel and slopes were fairly empty. No queue more than 10 people for any lift. We left before the actual Easter weekend, and the northern part of Sweden and Norway had their Easter vacation the week after, so we probably missed any crowds (although I expect crowds is a relative term).

The nice way to put it is that the charm of Hemavan is in the mountains. There isn’t really a village centre, just a supermarket, off-license, swimming pool, and a few scattered restaurants. Otherwise just lots of cabins. We booked a taxi to take us from the airport to Hemavans Högfjällshotell, which is ski-in ski-out on the south side of the resort. The hotel has really nice common areas – lots of sofas, an open fire-place, pool table, and table tennis – which means the kids make friends. The rooms are pretty basic and could do with refurbishment. We had a room in the main hotel building with twin beds and a double sofa bed, and not much room for anything else. We asked if there was a bigger room and they swapped us to a room in the detached building which had a king-size double, bunk bed, and sofa. Now we have seen the area, you can ski to most of the cabins and some look very nice, so you can probably rent something on the higher spec end.

I assumed staying in the hotel and lack of a car wouldn’t be any problem, but it meant a 15-20 walk down to the supermarket taking a shortcut across the piste, and the same distance walking down to the swimming pool (we got a taxi back up the hill). The main issue however was that the connecting ski bus from Hemavan to Tärnaby ski area – just 18 km apart – only runs on Saturdays. This meant that unfortunately we didn’t get to visit Tärnaby, which is a shame as it looks like a really nice mountain with some steeper slopes. I hope they improve this connection in the future… Or next time we will hire a car.

As mentioned above, there is heli-skiing available, as well as guided ski touring. If you are into cross-country skiing, there is 40 km of prepared, floodlit tracks, and the 440 km ‘Kungsleden trail’ has its official starting point in Hemavan.

For activities other than skiing, we had a look in the visitor’s centre (Naturum Vindelfjällen) that has information about the local nature and some Easter activities for children, and took a trip to the swimming pool after skiing. It’s really just for the kids to play, but there is a steam room and sauna too. We didn’t do any other activities, but there is the usual snowmobile tours, ice-fishing etc, available in Scandinavia.

In terms of costs, I’m an obsessive early booker or just can’t wait so I plan and book ski trips during the summer. I used an exchange rate of 11 SEK to the British Pound.

We booked flights with Nextjet from Stockholm to Hemavan as soon as they were released in mid-September. The cheapest ‘Sverigebiljetten’ tickets sell out really quickly, but I bagged two returns for £100 each, and the third cost £168 return. This includes a 23 kg bag each. I emailed them to add on a ski bag, which was £63 return to pay at the airport. I also emailed in them in advance and it was also no problem to bring an avalanche airbag rucksack. Mo I Rana in Norway in the nearest proper town, and an alternative airport via Oslo.

Hemavans Högfjällshotell, 2+2 bed hotel room including breakfast was £405. Dinner was typically £18-£27 for an adult main course (e.g., reindeer steak) at the hotel or a really nice evening buffet at Hemavans Fjällcenter. Lunch on the mountain was £14 adult burger, and only £3 for a child meal.

I booked a taxi to pick us up from the airport and take us to the hotel, which cost £22 each way.

3-day lift passes for my son and I cost £228 (as an indication, a 6-8 day adult lift pass costs £168).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Cheers for the great write up.

We have looked at skiing Hemavan the last 2 years but its tough to get to from Southern Sweden. Tough and more expensive than other areas to access. I thought one could only fly in and out on week ends, but it seems you managed to get a flight out on a Thursday. That might make it more appealing. Is it just week end and Thursday flights?

Was it as quite as it appears on your video? Love resorts that are nice and quite.

Certainly an area we want to ski next season, it might just mean giving up 2 days skiing for travel.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Looking at the Nextjet route map, you can fly from Halmstad or Växjö to Stockholm. They fly to Hemavan from Stockholm 6 days a week. It's quite a journey though as you say. Have a play on their website for flights in April and it should give you an idea for next year. We met others that went Friday to Thursday, so I think the hotel must be flexible on dates.

Yes it was as quite as it looked. We will certainly look at going again next Easter. Although it seems the whole country has week 14 for Easter vacation next year?
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Flying from even further south, heading out from Lund. Which is great for the snow train north, but not so great for flights north of Stockholm.

The easiest way at present looks like flying from Copenhagen to Mo i Rana via Trondhiem. If only Malmo had flights that went further north than Stockholm on a regular basis.

But seeing your video and reading your report, it certainly looks like a great option for next year. Will be taking touring gear and have only heard good things about touring in the area.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Cracking vid.

Kids got skills.

Dad too Smile
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Bloody love Scandinavia 👌
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