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Norway: in summer, a lush mountain arena bedecked in tiny wildflowers. But once the skies expel millions of frozen flakes, this landscape is a shrine to pristine winter white, like the Christmases you dreamed of as a child.

Norway in Winter

Gliding through this landscape on skis, as the locals do, is nothing short of a privilege. Picture yourself in the great Norwegian outdoors: the rhythmic waltz of your skis as you pass a solitary, twisted birch shivering in the brisk air; to your left, a windswept summit sugar-coated in snowy icing, and to your right a graceful drop to a peaceful wooded valley traced with hare tracks. The silence is magnanimous.

Norwegians are addicted to this feeling. Cross-country skiing is a way of life; once essential to be able to leave the house, now purely pleasure. It’s the great Scandinavian secret.

Loipe (tracks) form a delicate lattice across Norway, from the outskirts of Oslo up into the Arctic Circle. Competitions are held in celebration of the ecstasy that comes from skiing through the most primal of elements, and great athletes are exported from Norwegian shores to compete at an international level. Even British athletes like Andrew Musgrave make Norway their chosen training ground, learning from the best.

Cross-country skiing in Kvitivatn

Kvitavatn exists in homage to the ski gods. A network of groomed trails crisscrosses the encircling area, before tapering off into the more remote edges of the Hardangervidda National Park – perfect for more experienced off-track skiers. If you’re unsure, there’s the opportunity to take each day at a different pace – and in case you’re a little over-ambitious there are stretching sessions each evening to help relax your muscles.

It’s the birthplace of cross-country skiing. The snow is deep and fresh. The skies are crisp and clear. Wouldn’t you rather be here?

See more cross-country skiing trips to Norway below and set off on a winter adventure.