Making tracks in Kvitavatn

Cross-country skiing in Kvitavatn is an idyllic winter holiday. Located in Telemark, a three-hour drive west of Oslo and south of the Hardangervidda plateau, this picture-postcard resort sits beside a frozen lake at the foot of Gaustatoppen (1,882m), the highest mountain in southern Norway.

Founded in the 1970s by Rod Tuck, a former marine that went on to represent Britain in the 1976 Olympics, Kvitavatn has developed gradually over the years and is still used by the British and Dutch armies for ski training.

Today the resort is Danish owned and run by friendly hosts, Marianne Folmer and Trevor Dowe. There is a real family feel about the place, not surprisingly as it is owned by 11 Danish families! The atmosphere is peaceful and informal here and after a full day out on the snow, it is wonderful to take a relaxing sauna before dinner. If you are looking for a ski resort with a vibrant après-ski scene, this is not the ski holiday for you as this trip is all about the daytime action.

Although lesser known than its European counterparts, Kvitavatn is snow-sure and has been expertly designed to suit all abilities including complete beginners. There are nursery slopes for mastering those all-important basics before embarking on the real adventure and experienced instructors on hand should you require some extra tuition.

Each morning begins with a warm up session and maybe a ball game in the snow before the group sets off into the beautiful Norwegian wilderness. The average daytime temperature in February was a bone-chilling -7 degrees Celsius but you soon warm up once you take to the snow and start your daily expedition. The well-maintained, colour-coded circuits surrounding the lake ensure no two days are ever the same.

Ski hire costs approximately £55 and this is the only significant expense once you arrive. If you decide to have a change of scenery or activity during the week, snowshoeing is a great alternative. I was glad I took a day to have a go; it was a sheer delight to venture off into the mountains with only the sound of fresh, off piste snow crunching under foot. Snowshoe hire costs around £10 per day.

The accommodation is comfortable and clean with shared bathroom facilities, although an additional supplement will buy you a larger en suite room. All meals are included, as well as tea and coffee. There is a wide variety of food, including vegetarian options, and a small shop selling basic snacks, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. There is also a free ski-bus to the local town of Rjukan where you will find The Heroes of Telemark Association and Museum.

All in all, it’s very easy to see why Kvitavatn enjoys such a healthy flow of repeat custom. Its winter wonderland setting makes it the perfect choice for festive celebrations - you won’t have to worry about the Christmas weight gain with all the calories you will be burning off skiing each day!

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