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Early season Scandinavia

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thinking about an early season weekend in Åre - either mid December or January after new year - as it's an easy overnight train journey for 3 days skiing with 1 day off work.
Who's been at that time of year, and what was the snow like? And if you've been during the Skistar ski test weekend, was it ridiculously busy?


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 18-10-18 21:17; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I was there over new year 2 years ago. Mild weather, rain and very few runs open.

It was crazy busy due to the lack of decent snow and few runs open. I think if we had been a couple of weeks earlier or a couple of weeks later their would have been less people, but the snow would not have been any better. Duved had the best runs when we were there.

I have heard it can be good at that time of year, but we wont risk it again. I've skied in Are 15 days now, and only on 2 days have the lifts been running to the top. I'm jinxed when it comes to skiing at Are
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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?
@mgrolf, I was up there for the ski test weekend last year (9-11 Dec). It was a decent early season. I was mostly doing other stuff and didn’t ski much, so I can’t be certain, but it was only the VM8 and one snowpark lift open. Also the main lift in Duved I think. There was snow on the whole mountain, but they were preparing for the main opening which was 21 Dec last year.

There were a few people ski touring from the top of VM8. But it was cloudy also those days.

For the ski test weekend, it was quite busy in the village and nice atmosphere. I would assume it’s mostly locals or people with apartments there, as I don’t think it’s worth the trip for the limited skiing otherwise.

After season opening, all the low zone area is open. It’s rare that they open the high zone lifts, but they have over Christmas/new year when I’ve been there. I was also there mid-Jan, again only low zone area open, but I went on a morning ‘intro’ ski tour with Åreguiderna a few hundred meters up and skied down into the eastern ravine, which was good.
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Like all of Europe, global warming is hitting it hard.

Used to be freezing cold in December.

Now, it is a lotto. Could be cold and snowy. Could be warm and unsnowy.

Book lastminute.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@yuppie, @Themasterpiece, thanks. Doesn't sound like it's worthwhile if it is only one or two lifts open in the low zone. Back to the drawing board for early season skiing then Sad
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we have tried a few places in Norway in November and December. Not to far from you, might be a better option and you could do last minute.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Whitegold wrote:
Like all of Europe, global warming is hitting it hard.



Not just Europe. Global means global. North America will be just as affected


https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ski/news/shrinking-glacier-whistler-cancels-summer-ski-snowboard-camp/


http://www.impactlab.org/news-insights/americas-shrinking-ski-season/


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Tue 16-10-18 12:33; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Skistar website says that Are will not be opening up fully until 20-21 Dec., same as last year. Went there a couple of years ago in mid-Feb. and the first day was 7 degrees C and peeing it down. Got far better after that, mind
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Not sure if this is still the case but both times I have been to Are (2006 and 2012 I think) and was roughly keeping track of the season, they didn't open the Upper Zone at all until the very end of Feb.
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@JimiHendrix, upper zone opening seems to be dictated by the wind and/or defrosting of lift cables. In 14 days skiing in mid Feb (two weeks in consecutive years) we went to the high zone about three times in total.
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Hmmmm, so Åre doesn't look like such a good option. Friend at work suggested Hemavan - further north, and opening earlier. Travel links aren't so good though (flight from Stockholm, so I'd have to get to Stockholm first). It got me thinking about alternatives, so let's rephrase the question slightly: where would be good for a long weekend mid December, with reasonable travel from Gothenburg?

Hemsedal opens from late November I think, and has decent off-piste options (if there's enough snow); it's at the limit of how far I'd consider driving (6 hours ish). Geilo is just about in range, as is Trysil (not a big fan) and Lillehammer (going there in Feb). Abisko and Narvik are at the end of the same overnight train as Åre, so travel is OK but I've tended to think of them as spring options.

Thoughts?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@mgrolf, I tried looking on the Skistar website for Hemsedal lift opening. I suspect that they don't open many lifts until 20 Dec. or so (just a hunch), but you'll not need many lifts if the off piste is good Smile
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
6 hours driving from Goteborg could bring in a few options. Salen area in Sweden can be ok at that time of year though I'm not sure all lifts will be open. We were there last December and the snow was good and most runs were open. Another option is to look in the lilliehammer area. There are 5 resorts in the area but you will need a car to drive between them. We did that 3 years ago in December and it was OK. THe Norwegian tolls can end up costing a lot though.

Trysil is also popular for early season skiing though can be busy at week ends if the snow is good. Hemsedel and Geilo are both good options if plenty of snow. We skied Hemsedel the first week in December a few years ago. Snow was not great but the main chair was running for about 18 hours as lots of national teams were training there at the time.

Another resort that can open early but gets little attention is Norefjell. Close to Oslo and can be forgotten about if the other resorts are open.
https://vinter.norefjell.com/en/home/
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
If you’re looking to drive, then probably best to wait and see as there’ll be no probs to get accommodation. Or try a bit of cross country rather than downhill?
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