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Late season Scandiland

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A friend of mine has mooted a late season 2005 trip to Scandinavia, he mentioned Riksgransen. I know that the likes of Hemsedal do open late but has anyone any experience of how late the Norwegian or Swedish resorts go. Particularly interested in Riksgransen but do realise its in the middle of nowhere!

My only exeperience of Scandisnow is Hemsedal which is rather good. What Scotland could be with more consistent snow
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
SussexSnow. Firstly, as with anywhere, check the snow reports before you go. It's also worth seeing if there's any snow on the much bigger mountain above Narvik in Norway, which is only a few miles from Riksgransen.

I was in Riksgransen about 12-15 years ago (can't remember) in late May and there was tons of snow, but Narvik wasn't operating.

Getting there could be achieved with either a Stockholm flight (cheap with Ryanair), and internal flight to Kiruna. Or you train it from Stockholm on one of the special snowtrains. Ryanair don't fly to the main Stockholm airport, so there is a transfer involved, but Stockholm is well worth a couple of days (stay in the fantastic Chapman youth hostel, which is a converted sailing ship moored on an island in the city).

Alternatively, I believe it may be possible to fly to Narvik, presumably via Oslo or other main Norwegian city.

I'd be careful about trusting snow for Riksgransen well into June, but I've not seen snow record graphs. It would be interesting to know if they exist. It's a hell of a trip, anyway. Recommended for the stunning scenery, if nothing else. Take a hike (they organise them there) down to one of the local fjords. Beautiful.
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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?
Ta for that. Did some flight searching this AM and Narvik doesn't look possible. SAS don't fly there domestically from within Scandinavia as far as I can see. Looks like Kiruna is the entryport. Still a 2 hour transfer.

A swedish friend put me on the Connex Sweden site for info on the sleeper trains from Stockholm. 20 hour journey!

What was the terrain like at Rik? Rounded hills? Any ideas on the vertical/piste lengths? Was it ride anywhere or between snow fences?

Cheers
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SussexSnow, the terrain's more open than Scotland. I don't recall snow fences. The runs are not a lot longer than Scotland, and there are not many of them (unless the place has expanded since I went), but I really liked the feeling of being in such a wild and remote place. Yes, the hills are rounded. There's some off-piste, as I recall. The reason I mentioned Narvik is that its mountain - if I'm not mistaken - has the biggest vert of any Norwegian hill. It's really quite impressive.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Beware of the Ryan Air flight to "Stockholm". Not sure if they have changed but flew there a couple of years ago and it's about 3 hours away from Stockholm (from what I remember) which you then have to pay for a bus to get to Stockholm........they don't tell you about this when you book. We didn't really care as we only paid £5 return flights at the time.
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Dan, No matter what airline you travel with you have to pay for transport to the city centre! I know Ryanair airports can be a bit outside the city but are you sure it was three hours?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
They use 2 airports at Stockholm. Skavsta was the one I flew to. It was certainly a couple of hours from the city centre. The 'Oslo' airport they fly to - Torp - really is a long way from Oslo.

Anyway, that's why I suggested a Stockholm break on the way. It's one of the most gorgeous cities I've ever visited.
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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!
Hi Sussexsnow, I'll be in Riksgransen this time next month, so if you live where your name suggests I should be able to give you some first hand info.

I'm flying SAS got both legs for £100 each and then we have a car from Kiruna, (the train times don't work for our return flight).

It certainly is a ski anywhere mountain from what I've read and it has about 700m vertical. Try www.riksgransen.nu for more info.

As always, I'm following DG's advice and spending 5 days in Stockholm afterwards.
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Steve Sparks, Lucky you! Let us know how it goes. I did some flight searching and it sounds like your deal is as good as it gets. If you can pick up any info on Narvik too that would be great. As well as DG's recommendation I've found other glowing references to it.

http://www.narvikinfo.no/vinternarvik/skiinfo/index.html

Also http://www.linken.com has picks of Rik on its front page and pics of Narvik in its gallery. It's a telemark binding manufacturer based in Narvik.

I'm in mid-Sussex.
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Steve, here's another tip. A photographer up there called Sven Hornell has a stunning photographic show of the landscapes of Lappland, which is done with 21 Hasselblad projectors in his own theatre. Well worth seeing.

Here's the link.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
21 Hasselblads, sounds like a NASA mission.
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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.
When does the snow melt? From David Goldsmiths's link there is no snow to be seen in mid-summer.
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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
Peter. Essentially, Lappland is a vast frozen wilderness through winter. When I visited in late May it felt a bit like March in the Alps - the frozen lakes etc. were starting to thaw - but bear in mind the difference in altitude. The bases of these mountians are not that high above sea level, and don't rise to great heights.

I'd be surprised if there's much snow there after June.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Got an email from the Rik resort people today. They close on Sunday 27th June...
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
David, thank's for that I'll try to fit in Sven's pics.

Sussex - I spent 2 hours yesterday morning googling to try and substantiate that there is still some snow in Riks. All the data tells me there is but I woke up in a cold sweat the other night having dreamt that when I got there there had been a terrible mistake and they don't really ski that late in the season! Thanks for putting my subconcious at rest!

BTW We're paying about £300 to stay there for 3 nights which I think is steepish, but I'm grateful for any chance to extend my season. They apparently do great deals including accom and train if you've got the time for the journey.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Steve, How many hours will you have to drive? How much is the lift pass? The website prices are in Swedish krona (is the currency called krona) and I don't have a clue of exchange to euro or £. The midnight skiiing sounds cool, In the west of Ireland you could ski until about eleven o'clock in mid summer, if only there was snow! Little Angel
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Peter, it's about 80 miles. I won't be going too fast because of the reindeer! About 13 SEK to the £, it is called the Krona. Lift pass about £20 per day.

More importantly, I've yet to establish the price of a beer which is going to be rreally scary if everything I've heard about Sweden is true.
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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?
www.oanda.com is a superb online currency convertor. It also allows you to print out a wee ready reckoner table of what 1,2,3,4,5,etc,10,20,30 whatevers buys you in pounds. Its credit card size

The PDF with prices offers all sorts of combinations, fly/train, hotel/S?C/cabins etc. It will be great if Steve can give us the eye witness report on what you get for your money. I did find a link to a campsite so there is still some options for cost-cutting!

Steve, The linken link has picks of the recent Scandi Extreme competition just held in Rik so you can have a look at the snow cover to stop the sweats
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One solution is to get really hammered for several days and nights before you go. The hangover will be so bad you won't want to touch the stuff when you're over there! Mr. Green NehNeh
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Steve Sparks, as SussexSnow's, friend who was suggesting the trip for next year (was thinking Spring Bank Holiday), I too will be very interested to hear how you get on, especially with transport, as getting there seems to be the hardest part. For the record we were looking at flying to Harstad-Narvik in Norway which is a bit nearer than Kiruna (about 85km cf 130km) and SAS go there from Oslo.

I am sure the beer is going to be expensive, maybe bring some cheap vodka and the locals will befriend you.
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playdreamer, Steve Sparks, SussexSnow, the beer (and indeed all alcohol) is bloody expensive over there. Having been in January for a mere 3 days, I was more than mildly shocked when presented with the bar bill! It's a shame you're planning on going out so late. If you fly into Kiruna, the Ice Hotel (15 mins away in Jukkasjarvi) is an awesome place and well worth a visit. Unfortunately by June it will have mostly melted back into the river Thorne.

The train journey from the main airport to Stockholm takes about 20-25 minutes and is not cheap (from memory, about £15/person one way) - especially if you board without buying a ticket! If you happen to be travelling at the weekends, then the journey tends to be cheaper I recollect.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Steve

Did you get up to Rik in June?
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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!
Sussex, sorry about being so slow to get back with the gen. Partly because I'm still writing up the work that was meant to be the reason for the whole trip to scandiland.

We had a fantastic time. Journey over was a bit more interesting than expected...to cut a long story short plane from LHR to Stockholm delayed, meant missed connection in Stockholm and therefore v long wait and arrival in Riks at 0230 following day (which given it was a 0730 flight from LHR meant a v long journey). SAS though came up trumps and rerouted us via Lulea and from there on a 6 seater to Kiruna (which we had to pay cash for on a promise of a refund from SAS) and we got to Riks @ 2230. The following night two glasses of champagne appeared at dinner courtesey of SAS and the cheque as a refund for the cash we paid arrived this week. Who says airlines can't do it when they try? All praise to SAS.

Skiing was limited but fun. Three runs open giving approx 250M vert on each, varying steepness. Snow was super springlike, actually really weird, it had formed in to little balls -a bit like frogspawn and required a v unusual technique to ski, but we got the hang of it after an hour or 2. It was possible to ski back down to the bottom but involved taking the skis off for 10m or so to hop some grass. About 30 people on the hill each day we were there. We skiied both days from 10 to 3 which was just about right. No hut on the hill, but a really nice cafe "lappis bar" just 5 mins from the bottom lift. Saw some people hiking up to the top of another hill, I guess a 2hr hike, but looked like some nice tracks coming down.

Scenery stunning, a barreness I have never experienced before. I truly cannot remember the last time I looked up at a clear sky and couldn't see any jet trails, or experienced true silence. The lake at the bottom still had bits of ice floating in it and all the hills around were dappled with snow. We had to slow down on the road on the way there and back to avoid the reindeer!

We went down to Narvik one night (about 1hr drive) and could see the lifts but all closed. I reckon that Narvik is the closest to the ocean you can ski alpine anywhere in the world. The pistes virtually end in the harbour. If you want to see a bit of both Narvik and Riks get Warren Smith's "Snow odyssey 1".

Lift pass for two days in Riks was about £30 including lifts open from 2200 to 0100 on the friday for midnight sun skiing. It's got to be done, a really surreal experience. Ski hire about £15 per day and good skis too, I had Atomic SX11s, which actually were a bit stiff for the frogspawn but were very well serviced.

The hotel there is a really strange mixture. The restaurant is top quality and pricey; dinner for 2 around £120 without going overboard on the wine, i.e. 4 glasses which gives an idea of drinking scandistyle, but the food was fantastic especially given you are in the middle of the middle of nowhere. But we stayed in a skiers room which reminded me of rooms when I was a student ,with added Ikea. 2 bunks and a toilet which turned into a shower, for £100 per night. Fortunately me and Mrs S are hardy types, but if you take your latest crush up there for a romantic weekend it might be worth splashing out the extra £30 per night for a room with a real bed!

In summary a fantastic experience which I really enjoyed. I want to go back and next time will go late April or early May when some more of the off piste at Riks will be skiiable and also when Narvik will be open.

There's probably loads more to tell, I picked up loads of stuff with you in mind and have loads of photos, so ask more and maybe PM me if getting together somewhere in sussex would be good.
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Just back from holiday and found your post and mail. Thanks for writing it all up. Its still tempting to go there... plan, scheme, plot
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Steve Sparks, thanks for reporting back. I am still hoping to get there next year so the info is very useful.
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