Headwater - Cross-Country Skiing in Venabu Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Trip Code:
Activity Rating - Mixed

You may be a total beginner or an experienced cross-country skier. Many destinations offer different level weeks or multi-grade skiing on the same week. Choose from ‘Classic’ and ‘Skate’ style holidays, or even a ski marathon race for the ultimate winter challenge. See below for more grading details.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 6

Trip Overview

Snow-sure and picturesque, the traditional Norwegian hamlet of Venabu sees cross-country skiers returning for that ‘away from the crowds’ experience year after year. A short distance from Lillehammer, this stunning destination sits on the edge of the Rondane National Park, looking down on the Gudbransdalen Valley. Here the dramatic landscape ranges from spectacular gorges and snow-capped peaks to pretty fells and valleys that extend to the horizon.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights en suite hotel
  • 5 days guided cross-country skiing and optional snowshoe day (payable locally)
  • Cross-country skiing Grades 1-3 Beginners to Intermediates. 
  • Grade 4 Advanced weeks available 23/2; 2/3; 9/3; 16/3; 23/3 when hotel offers ski-safaris (pay locally). These weeks are still suitable for grades 1-3
  • Cross-country skis, poles and boot hire included
  • Countries visited: Norway

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy cross-country skiing in remote wilderness
  • Ski safaris available 23rd February until 23rd March (payable locally and subject to minimum numbers)
  • A snow-sure resort with skiing from the hotel doorstep
  • Sample traditional Norwegian dishes

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is operated by our sister company, Headwater, who offer more flexibility, so you can ski as much or as little as you like. There are some subtle differences between the way Exodus and Headwater trips run which may appeal to you:

Minimum age: children over the age of 6 are welcome to join as long as they are able to participate in the skiing.
No minimum group size: departures are not subject to a minimum group size in order to run, although occasionally a ‘small group’ or ‘sole traveller’ supplement may apply.
Sole travellers: if travelling on your own a compulsory single supplement will apply (unless stated otherwise - look out for dates where there is no charge for single rooms).
Group leader/evenings: the hotel’s ski guides will ski with you during the day, yet they may not join you in the evenings; there are no ‘group’ dinners and parties tend to dine separately. The hotel will also help you to arrange other activities.
Insurance: insurance details are required at the time of booking.

Cross-country skiing is an increasingly popular winter pastime. Compared to those used for downhill, the skis are longer, thinner and lighter with bindings that allow you to lift up your heel. Most cross-country skiing is undertaken on prepared tracks (loipe) covering flat and hillier terrain enabling you to explore the winter landscapes away from the confines of the alpine piste. Guided ski tours are usually in the mornings, arriving back before lunch so that the afternoon can be spent for people requiring extra tuition or shorter tours. Please note that ski tours will be shared with other guests staying at the Venabu Fjellhotel (non Exodus and Headwater clients).

The area is one of the best in Norway for cross-country skiing, both for families and for those who enjoy a challenge. All weeks are suitable for beginner to intermediate grade cross-country skiers; the weeks from 23rd February - 23rd March are also suitable for advanced skiers (please see below). Please check the grade of skiing that applies to your selected week via our website: www.exodus.co.uk/holidays/cyv/dates-prices

Beginners and Intermediate:
The Venabu Fjellhotel will provide two to three ski guides each week (depending on group size) to cater for different ability levels; these tours are shared with other clients from Venabu Fjellhotel and are suitable for beginners to intermediate.

There will be an accompanied ski tour every day (excluding the free day - usually Wednesday and the arrival/departure day, usually Saturday). You can switch between groups mid-week as you progress. The first two days (usually Sun and Mon) are a chance for beginners to learn the basic technique and for intermediate and advanced skiers to find their ski legs again, as well as for the ski guides to assess your ability and group you accordingly. There will be optional ski tours every day, except Wednesday which you can join as you please. On Wednesday snowshoe tours will be offered.

On departures from 23rd February - 23rd March, in addition to the normal cross-country skiing programme optional ski safaris will be available for more advanced skiers which can be booked and paid for locally (NOK150 per person per tour, subject to minimum of 5).

These guided ski safari tours are entirely optional and comprise roughly 50% off-track skiing, covering 20-30km over 6-8hours, enabling you to reach more remote areas.


The group will generally be between 1 and 10 people. There is no minimum group size on this tour; please feel free to enquire as to how many other people are booked on your departure. Children are welcome to join as long as they are able to participate in the skiing. The ski representatives we use are experienced ski enthusiasts, keen to impart their knowledge and skills.

The Venabu Fjellhotel provides two to three ski guides every day (except Wednesdays) to cater for different ability levels.

The minimum age of clients on this trip is 6 years. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.

Adult min age:
Child min age:

Child max age:

Min group size:
Max group size:


Land Only

Start City:
End City:

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
End City:

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Venabu

    A private bus is sent from the hotel to Oslo Airport which collects all clients and transfers to Venabu (3hrs) in time for dinner. We recommend all clients arrive in time to join the group transfer. We have a brief introduction to the hotel and the ski room with briefing about the week's programme and equipment given to clients.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 2

    Morning tuition with our local instructors. The afternoon is free to practise on your own

    The first two days are usually to help learn the principles of walking and gliding on snow, and extra tuition is available on selected departures. Tuition is given by our local ski guide in the morning, followed by a short ski tour in the local area before returning for late lunch (at 2-3 pm). The late afternoon is free for independent skiing. Maps are provided so you won't get lost.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 3

    Cross-country ski tour with tuition.

    This morning we head out on another ski tour around Venabu, our guide will observe what we have mastered and see where techniques can be improved. During the ski tour there will be further tuition to help us improve on what we have learnt. The late afternoon is free for independent practice and you can also book extra private lessons with one of the local instructors (paid locally). On one afternoon there will also be a group lesson with focus on hill techniques available (booked and paid locally).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 4

    Ski tour with our instructors. Choose between shorter or longer tours. You can also ski independently.

    Another day of cross-county skiing, either independently or on one of our ski tours.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 5

    Free day for the snowshoeing or skiing independently

    Wednesday is a free day, when most clients choose to take part in the snowshoeing tour. Equipment is included and it is a great way to relax and enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the Norwegian forest. Alternatively you may choose to head out and ski independently. Remember maps are provided so you won't get lost.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Days 6-7

    Ski independently or with the group on one of our ski tours.

    For the last two days of the week we ski out with our guides to explore the beautiful Norwegian landscape. Afternoons are free to travel further as your confidence grows.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 8

    End Venabu

    After breakfast, we transfer to Oslo Airport.

Please note: it is possible that the order of the itinerary listed above will be changed to ensure the best possible conditions for each activity during the trip. All listed activities and services will be included. Your leader will inform you of any changes locally after assessing conditions.


Venabu Fjellhotel

The Venabu Fjellhotel has been run by the friendly Tvete family for over 50 years, and owing to its traditional charm and quiet location, it is a relaxing place to stay. There are 20 standard rooms housed within the east wing, or if you prefer you can upgrade (for a supplement) to one of the more spacious 36 superior west wing rooms. The hotel's saunas and ski waxing centre are free for everyone to use. There’s also a bar, a games room (table tennis, pool, etc), a TV room, craft shop and two spacious sitting rooms with open fireplaces. The dining room - which offers a spectacular Scandinavian buffet - affords glorious panoramic views out across the mountains.

One yoga session is held most days either in the morning or in the evening, typically 5 days a week. You are entitled to one complimentary session during your stay. After this, additional sessions are payable locally.

Room Upgrades:
Room upgrades may be available on request for a supplement; prices start from £10 per person per night (£70pp for the tour duration). Prices are based on 2 people sharing, and are subject to availability; please enquire at the time of booking for further details and prices.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included.
The food is all traditional Norwegian cuisine. Breakfast is a continental buffet with the highlight being the selection of tasty local cheeses. You can have the choice of a buffet lunch with a hot meal or a picnic lunch to have whilst you take in the spectacular scenery.
Dinner will either consist of an extensive hot and cold buffet or a set dinner. On Wednesday there is a special Norwegian buffet.

For New Year’s Eve champagne and a special four-course meal with cheese and dessert buffet will be served.


Standard group airport transfers (at times to coordinate with the group flights) are included for all travellers. They are arranged with a local bus company who collect all customers for the three hour transfer to Venabu Fjellhotel.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Venabu is a snow sure destination. It is situated at 932m and the maximum height in which we ski is at 1200m. The average snow depths varies from 70cm - 120cm. Winter temperatures in Venabu can be cold (as low as minus 15/20°C or more), particularly between mid-December and mid-February, and whilst you won't feel this as much when exercising, you must bring appropriate clothing and equipment to keep you warm and comfortable.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of SAS or British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting and ending in Venabu

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Venabu in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.


Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

It is a three hour transfer from Oslo Airport to the Venabu Fjellhotel, so we have included a group transfer for land only travellers and those on non-group flights in the price of the tour. The Venabu Fjellhotel arranges a transfer from Oslo Airport to the Hotel on the Saturday the tour starts at times to coordinate with the group flights; please confirm the transfer times with your Sales Consultant at the time of booking.

Please note that no representative, ski guide or driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall. On leaving Customs, please make your way to the Bus Information Desk where you will be directed to the Venabu bus waiting just outside the Terminal. If your flight arrives earlier than the standard group flight, you will need to wait for this to land before being able to find out where the bus to Venabu is parked. Please note that the transfer time in the 2018/19 season will be 13:30 (excl. 16th Feb arrival when it will be 13:55).

For anyone arriving at a different time we recommend taking a train from Oslo airport to Ringebu train station or to Lillehammer station (pay locally). We can pre-arrange transfers from these stations to the hotel in Venabu for you (at additional cost); please enquire with your Sales Consultant for further details and prices.

Location start:
Location end:

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Winter temperatures in Venabu can be cold (as low as minus 15/20°C), particularly between mid-December and mid-February, and whilst you won't feel this as much when exercising, you must bring appropriate clothing and equipment to keep you warm and comfortable.

A baggy layering system works best in cold temperatures to trap warm air around the body. Breathable materials with wicking properties such as wool are recommended for use as base layers so as not to hold too much moisture. Winters tend to be cold but dry, so breathable windproof outer layers are preferable to waterproof layers (these can create moisture inside and make you cold). Clothing should be comfortable and easy to move about in.

You will need the following:
A large bum-bag or small rucksack, large enough to carry the items you will need during the day such as extra layers and a large water bottle/thermos flask. It is more comfortable to ski without a backpack, but we suggest you take both to give you the option to choose on a daily basis depending on the weather and how many layers you wish to carry.

Outdoor/winter clothing
Walking boots for snowshoeing
Windproof anorak with hood (ideally baggy in fit to trap warm air, and a breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex)
Windproof trousers (ideally baggy in fit to trap warm air, and a breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex)
Warm fleece (2 thin fleeces are better than one thick one)
A good quality base layer is essential (breathable fabrics with high wicking properties such as wool recommended).
Sturdy waterproof walking boots (if you want to try snowshoeing or similar)
A few pairs of woollen socks.
Warm hat (which covers the ears) and mittens or gloves; mittens are much warmer than finger gloves (woollen mittens with a windproof cover are ideal).
Any creams (sunscreen, face cream, etc.) that contain water are not be suitable for cold weather; we advise to bring oil based products where possible.

Other items:
Sunglasses and high factor sun cream
Trainers/comfortable shoes for the evenings
Swimsuit (for sauna)

Equipment Hire

Cross-country skiing equipment:
Please advise your height, weight and shoe size when booking, so we can have the right skis and boots available for you. If you wish to bring your own skis, please advise one of our sales consultants as soon as possible. This must be added to your reservation otherwise the airline may charge you on check-in for the extra luggage.

Practical Information



All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.



No visa required for British passport holders.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.



There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Norway's Timezone:
Europe/Oslo CEST (GMT +02:00)


Norway's Electricity:

Standard 2 pin European plugs.


Norway's Currency

The national currency of Norway is the Norwegian Kroner (NOK), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 10.8 to the UK£ and 8.4 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

ATM Availability

We advise you to take local currency with you. There are cash machines at Oslo airport which will accept Visa, Eurocard, Amex and Diner’s cards. There is also a bank at Oslo airport – ‘Kreditkassen’. It’s open Monday - Friday 6:30am-8pm, Sat 6:30am-5pm and Sun 7am-8pm.  Traveller's cheques are not accepted in Norway. Cash is increasingly being used less in Norway and you might find it easier to pay with credit card (Visa or Mastercard) at the hotel.  

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For any additional activities we can refer you to the local tourist office who can book any activities for you, including driving with dog sleigh, horse and sleigh ride and snow shoeing.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.



The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.


These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.