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TR - Sälen, Sweden (UK Feb half term)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This is the first time we have been to Sweden and we are a family of 4 (children are 8 & 11). Sälen ski area made up for 4 main hills only two of which are linked by runs. We booked to stay in Tandådalen, which is the second largest area in terms of number of runs / lifts but is lift linked to Hundfjället, so when you factor those two together this gave us the most skiing available without driving or using a bus. We booked flights into Oslo, and hired a car with Avis, through British Airways when booking the flight. We booked a group H car to allow for our luggage (two pairs of ski's) and the family of 4 fitting in and were giving a VW Touran (which I think is actually bigger than the class we booked). The cost of the BA flights with 1 bag each and the car hire was £705. Edit to add - now had the toll road charge come through at £29.37.

We booked the accommodation, lift passes and girls ski hire through SkiStar which seem to be the company that operate all the ski areas in Sweden and Norway. We booked Fjällvilla 66 (https://www.skistar.com/en/salen/online-booking/Accommodation/Overview?unitId=3829), which is on of a number of lovely cabins not too long a walk from the main ski centre where you can hire your skis etc, but you can cut out the back of these cabins onto the drag lift which links Tandådalen and Hundfjället, and as it is a flat lift, you can just grab a passing free button Happy. Our cabin was a 3 bedroom cabin which had a total of 8 beds but only 1 toilet. So was lovely and spacious for us as a family of 4, but would have been challenging to share the one toilet and one shower between 8 people IMO. However had a nice large open lounge / kitchen / dinning area. The kitchen was very well equipped (but no kettle which surprised me but wasn't an issues as there was a coffee maker and waffle maker), and the cabin was completely surrounded by snow (you are expected to clear around the cabin yourself which I wasn't expecting but the snow ploughed kept the road leading to all the cabins clear. We couldn't find any accommodation which had a bath in but the shower was lovely, I did miss having a bath after skiing. The costs were 1407 EUR for the cabin, 72 EUR for bed linen & towels, 169 EUR for end of stay clean, and 21 EUR for a Mobile 4G Wifi device. We could have paid less on accommodation but decided it looks so nice it was worth paying for (and it was lovely!). We also booked lift passes for all of us and ski and boot hire for the girls, this came to 662 EUR.

We had no issues with our flight (some getting there due to overnight road closures on the M27 - which I avoided as I knew it was being closed, but also the M25 exit of the M3 was closed so we had to come off at Junction 3 and cut round via the A30), it was a bit slow getting our hire car in Oslo as the Avis systems were all down so they were having to process people manually, so we had to queue for a while to collect the car, another advantage of having booked through British Airways as we are executive club members, this gave us an additional driver for no extra charge. So we didn't leave the airport until midday. We stopped for lunch about 40mins from the airport at Espa in a nice place overlooking the lake (was very pricey though!). We then got back on the road. It was snowing when we arrived and constantly snowed all the way there, this made for a slow run, and as we got closer to Salen the conditions of the road got worse making it a challenging drive. In hindsight a 4 wheel drive would have been better to book. With our stop and the slow going on the roads, we didn't arrive until 16:40, so we got the keys, luggage in the house and set of to buy some food for that night and the morning. We left collecting the girls ski stuff until the morning (mainly due to me trying to take us to the wrong place to collect the ski's as I matched the name on instructions with the name on the map, and the place we went to was closed!).

The conditions of the runs were lovely, after having skied at Easter for the last several years (with the exception of a Bansko half term trip where it was unseasonably warm and had easter like conditions), it was so nice to be skiing on lovely snow. We only had 1 day of sun, the rest it was cloudy and odd top ups of snow. We also had low cloud on a couple of days, and it was quite windy up the top on several days. Most of the runs are tree-lined which help shelter from the wind but if you went to the top to start you were blasted quite a bit on the first bit which my youngest was VERY put of by. We found all over the area race gate sections where you can go down a little course, and it times you down. My eldest loved doing these when ever she found them, as did lots of other children. The area is predominately drag lifts with a few chair lifts. There was a lovely run we found in Hundfjället, which was called a Troll run, if I translated it correctly, it is a green track through the trees, with lots of trolls, display, music etc for the children to look at, they had eyes on lots of trees, wooden owls in them, a troll bridge you can cross on and ring a bell on, there were a couple of huts which you opened the door and there was a troll inside sat on the toilet, and along side the main track there were lots of little down and up and jumps which my eldest loved doing, my youngest just loved looking at all the stuff there was to see. It felt really magical going through it. In terms of lift queues we had an occasional 5-10min queue but normally no more than a minute if anything despite it being local holidays that week as well.

During the week we drove across to Lindvallen, we first stopped first at Salfjallet end skied there and had lunch, then went on to their Experium place - this area has loads of nursery runs, and is the one really marketed as the best for families it also has bowling, water park, 3D cinema and a McDonalds on the slope (piccie on another thread). This area was much busier than the other areas we were staying in, and longer lift queues but still no longer than 10mins, it also felt more tacky.

Each of the ski area has large free carparks making it easy to use the hire car to travel between them, there is also a bus you can use under you ski pass but we didn't as we had the car.

We had intended to take a day across in Tyrsil, Norway (which is included in the ski pass if you get a week long one), but were put off by the long drive from the airport and decided we had plenty to keep us entertained as we were skiing with the girls, without the extra drive.

We really liked the area and the people we met (don't think we found another brit out there Happy). We won't rush back due to the long drive from the airport BUT they are currently constructing a new international airport scheduled to open Dec 2018, which we passed only 30mins (at our very cautious pace due to the amount of snow down) after leaving where we stayed. When that reopens, it will make it a lot more accessible, though my only fear is this might make it a lot busier as a resort.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 1-03-18 16:52; 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
We went Saturday to Saturday as that gives us a day back home after the holiday, but more the accommodation is Sun-Sun, so this did limit our options slightly.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Some photos:







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@NickyJ, nice TR. Have you kicked Esprit into touch?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The Flying Snowplough wrote:
@NickyJ, nice TR. Have you kicked Esprit into touch?


Sorry not sure what you mean?

We didn’t get anywhere near the skiing we would have done in an Esprit holiday, but this was a holiday with some skiing for us, Esprit half tern prices are simply astronomical.
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Here’s some views out the window:-)

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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@NickyJ, I recall that you have gone with Esprit in the past so was wondering if you have decided to do your own thing from now on.
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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!
The Flying Snowplough wrote:
@NickyJ, I recall that you have gone with Esprit in the past so was wondering if you have decided to do your own thing from now on.


Still in two minds.... the Esprit setup, does let us and Andrew go off and spend the day together without children which is VERY rare for us (we do it one a day on our anniversary, the rest of the time we are together as a family or working), the girls enjoy having other children to play with on the Esprit holidays. For next season with late Easter, it is very tempting to return to Gressoney.

However we also are going on the Spring Family bash this year as well, will get the girls lessons there, so will get some time together, and we are bringing my parents so may get a bit of baby sitting provided as well Happy

What makes it even harder skiing with our youngest is that she is on the Autistic spectrum and dyspraxic so we can't now put her into group lessons as she freaks out at certain lifts, won't go on certain buttons on lifts because they are a different colour to the others, when it is a windy, gets VERY spooked at people coming too close to her, and when she freaks she freezes and will only move at a snails pace, I have strained a muscle trying to snow plough behind her, as I couldn't ski that slowly without a snow plough. I am at a bit of a loss as to how to help her get over this to be honest, and hope a private instructor for a few sessions in April MAY help, but she was skiing generally slower than she was last april.
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Other things I have just thought off:

We ended up bringing lots of cash back with us, as a lot of the places we bought food / drinks on the slope were Credit / debit card only! The only exception was the take out Pizza place which we used on the last night to save me cooking which was cash only and no cards. Apparently this is due to how remote they are and how much they are charged to get the cash collected.

The food from the restaurants and supermarkets wasn't as bad as we feared based on reputation and one place we had lunch on the Sunday was 50% off on Sundays, this included drinks so we ended up paying £23 for 2 childrens meals, 2 adult meals, a Heineken, coke, and apple juice! Mezzo (a restaurant name) was a bit pricey but was lovely.

We bought ourselves some Whiskey and Wine from the Duty free at Heathrow to take with us so didn't attempt to buy any more alcohol over there apart from the odd Heineken.
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NickyJ wrote:
We ended up bringing lots of cash back with us...


We generally come back with an empty wallet and a melted credit card... Sad
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The Flying Snowplough wrote:
NickyJ wrote:
We ended up bringing lots of cash back with us...


We generally come back with an empty wallet and a melted credit card... Sad


Smile - really not used to not being able to give places cash... one place I was able to use cash only if we gave them the exact amount, which thankfully I had.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Here is Hubby's first attempt at a GoPro video:


http://youtube.com/v/9Ti2vqFaiDo

Had a lot of trouble with the GoPro software not being compatible with his graphics card so had to use other software.
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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
NickyJ wrote:
The Flying Snowplough wrote:
NickyJ wrote:
We ended up bringing lots of cash back with us...


We generally come back with an empty wallet and a melted credit card... Sad


Smile - really not used to not being able to give places cash... one place I was able to use cash only if we gave them the exact amount, which thankfully I had.


It's the same in Trysil - even the cheapo hot chocolate places on the runs wanted paying by contactless card! Very civilised I thought, allowed us to forget how much we were spending until after the holiday... wink

I've got my eye on Salen for a trip at some point - did you get any impression of the buses between the areas being ok or a pain? (I note you had a car so may just not have noticed)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@ElzP, we saw groups of people waiting for the bus and didn’t get the feeling they were that frequent. We saw them arriving every now and then Though didn’t look too hard as we had the car.

Would highly recommend hiring a car, especially as parking side is free and plentiful.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
NickyJ wrote:
@ElzP, we saw groups of people waiting for the bus and didn’t get the feeling they were that frequent. We saw them arriving every now and then Though didn’t look too hard as we had the car.

Would highly recommend hiring a car, especially as parking side is free and plentiful.


Thanks! That does sound like a car is the sensible option - and maybe this new airport will be a massive bonus for DIY travellers (probably for a few months until the package holiday operators get their act together and it becomes chaos anyway...)
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@ElzP, the accommodation we were staying in had some great facilities included a drying cupboard (never seen one before but is a cross between a full size ie over head height cupboard and a tumblr dryer), boot dryers, dishwasher, microwave, fridge freezer, oven, toaster, food mixer, waffle maker, loads of pots and pans and crockery.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@NickyJ, Very interesting tour report, thanks. Interested in skiing in Sweden one day soon. One rather mundane question; why are the prices you quote for accommodation, lift passes etc in Euros? Do they prefer them to Krona? Thanks, in advance.
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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?
LOTA wrote:
@NickyJ, Very interesting tour report, thanks. Interested in skiing in Sweden one day soon. One rather mundane question; why are the prices you quote for accommodation, lift passes etc in Euros? Do they prefer them to Krona? Thanks, in advance.


It was how we were charged for them through the SkiStar website. I did wonder the same thing, not sure why we weren’t just charged in SEK. However no indication of Euros being used for anything else out there.
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NickyJ wrote:
The Flying Snowplough wrote:
NickyJ wrote:
We ended up bringing lots of cash back with us...


We generally come back with an empty wallet and a melted credit card... Sad


Smile - really not used to not being able to give places cash... one place I was able to use cash only if we gave them the exact amount, which thankfully I had.
Ah, should have mentioned that, Sweden is largely cashless now, everything is on a card, or by phone or by swish.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I can't remember the last time I used cash in Sweden - could well be over a year ago. Everything is card or swish (mobile phone payment system, linked to your bank account).
Good report, @NickyJ, sounds like you had good conditions. We got blown off the hill when we went! The lack of a kettle is normal for the Skistar accommodation; I think Swedes just use a saucepan to boil water as they drink plenty of fruit & herb teas.
Skistar do the most international marketing. There are lots of other scandi resorts not run by them, but they're harder to find on Google in english.
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@NickyJ, good to hear you had a nice time in Sweden Smile

It will be interesting to see how things pan out with the new Scandinavian Mountains Airport. My initial thought is that it will be used by Danes and Swedes that are going anyway, but it allows them to fly rather than have a very long drive. But I guess they are planning on more revenue at Sälen and Trysil, plus Stöten (not skistar), and will be interesting to see if there are routes to the U.K. and elsewhere.

Personally I’d use the new airport to access some of the lovely ski areas slightly further north - Idrefjäll, Lofsdalen, maybe even Tänndalen and Vemdalen.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Scandinavian Mountains Airport sounds like it could really open up the area. Hopefully there will be some flights from Malmo. There is a shortage of flights from southern Sweden to Northern Sweden.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Nice report. Accommodation sounded good but one bathroom for occupancy of 8 sounds a bit optimistic.

Didn't know about the extra driver perk going via BA. That could save a bit assuming the quote was competitive to begun with?

Same stuff at Trysil - the drying cupboard,no bath and down to the troll in a toilet so sounds like standard Skistar.

Someone mentioned that if you go to Skistars Norwegian or Swedish sites then you can get costings in NOK & SEK if you fancy those currencies or expect them to depreciate by the time you pay. Euros do make it easier to compare to the usual Euro resorts and easier to hedge against.

A Swedish ski instructor had said to us that he thought Salens runs were too short and not great for beginners. Did you find that?
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@ster, the price was about half the quotes I had done (with more budget car hire companies) before booking flights to get an idea for the whole holiday costs before committing. Just popped into Avis website and the intermediate wagon which was the class we went for, for weeks hire in a random March week is coming back closer to £700 for the week versus the just over £200 is cost booking at the same time as the flights.
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@ster, as to the question over good for beginners. The Lindvallen area had the largest number of nursery slopes that I have ever seen in a resort.

We saw a couple of young children’s beginner ski school lessons going on at one point and the instructors were doing a good job of keeping them happy and engaged.

Though none of us are beginners so a little hard to answer.

I would say that I didn’t think the runs pistes were especially well marked. I do think having the regular markers on the side of the piste showing you which colour and run you are on that we have seen elsewhere is much better, we found you get to the top and then have signs pointing in various directions to the different colour runs, for you to follow you then trust you found the right one to a certain extent (coupled with being experienced at map reading meant we didn’t have an issues but could see this being rather disconcerting)
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@ster, regarding beginners, I don’t think that’s true. Sälen is the place where almost all Swedish families will go and ski at some point when their kids are learning. Lots of green slopes, and blues that are only a small step up.

True about run marking. Just some signposts at the top, and a few poles marking the edge of the piste. No nice piste marker signs with numbers or indication of which side (ref the discussion about skiing in a whiteout).

About bathrooms... Bathrooms are always wetrooms in Sweden, which lends itself more to a shower. Given a choice, I think most Swedes would chose to have a sauna (bastu) rather than a bath. That said, we have a bath in our apartment in Stockholm. And a shower and sauna in the apartment in Åre (and two toilets).
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Themasterpiece, I seem to recall you are renting yours out through SkiStar? Do you have a link to it?
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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
Edited original post to add in the toll charges now they have come through (£29.37)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
NickyJ wrote:
@Themasterpiece, I seem to recall you are renting yours out through SkiStar? Do you have a link to it?


https://www.skistar.com/sv/are/boka-online/Accommodation/Overview?unitId=15787

PM me if you are interested
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