Sweden: a country almost double the size of the UK yet home to just 9.5 million residents, but don’t let the lack of residents give you second thoughts – this sparsely populated country has quite a lot to offer. Almost all of Sweden has the Scandinavian Mountains running through it from north to south, with the highest mountain, Kebnekaise, reaching up to 2,111 m. Because it’s not especially high in comparison to the Alps, we want to take the opportunity to tell you why Sweden makes for a great ski holiday. The most and largest of Sweden’s ski areas lies in the Midwestern region of Sweden, near the border to Norway. The most popular areas belonging to this region are Åre, Sälen and Idre Fjäll, all of which are approx. 400 – 600 km away from Stockholm.
Sweden’s largest ski area
Åre is not only Sweden’s largest ski area, but Scandinavia’s largest with over 40 lifts and 100 pistes, the longest of which stretching 6.5 km. Seven pistes are lined with floodlights and you’ll also find a snow park as well as quite a few kids parks. Åre also provides a wider selection of activities: endless cross-country opportunities, tobogganing, dog sledging, heli-skiing, snowshoe hiking and snowmobile touring. The resort itself belongs to the “Leading Mountain Resorts of the World”, and while being located idyllically along a lake, offers great infrastructure, something every winter sports fan looks for off the piste.
Two in one with children’s paradise
Sälen is composed of two ski areas: Tandådalen/Hundfjället and Lindvallen/Högfjället. They both lie 16 km away from each other but boast a total of 117 pistes with 82 km in total and 86 lifts. Tandådalen provides a huge amount of black pistes and is home to one of the largest fun parks in Sweden. With the transport lifts, you can make your way to the all-around ski area of Hundfjället. In Lindvallen, children will feel especially at home. Nowhere else will you be able to find so many lifts and adventure areas customised for children. In the valley, the leisure and shopping centre “Experium” with a water park, spa, cinema, restaurants and bowling lanes invite you to take a stroll through the area and stop in.
Famous destination for families
The ski area of Idre Fjäll consists of one mountain, whose peak is lined with 40 pistes of various levels of difficulty leading off in all directions. Here, you’ll also find Dalarna’s longest piste with 2.8 km length as well as the steepest piste in Scandinavia with 46° incline. For children, an adventure land can be explored as well as several special areas with soft slopes, conveyor belts and slow platter lifts. Those who love cross-country will be pleased to find 62 km of trails, 30 km of which are illuminated. Even the Swedish cross-country team trains here. Besides the snow park, there is also a widely diversified entertainment programme available.
Region of the ski legends
In the far north, in Lapland, lies the Hemavan Tärnaby ski area. It’s here where Ingmar Stenmark, Sweden’s skiing legend, lived and trained. Other Swedish skiers are also known to visit this region. Hemavan has 10 lifts, two fun parks and 30 pistes. In Tärnaby, you’ll find five lifts, 20 pistes and two further fun parks. Both areas offer incredible off-piste opportunities, many cross-country possibilities as well as heli-skiing and snowmobile tours. Hemavan and Tärnaby also happen to lie just approx. 10 km away from each other. Because the distance from Stockholm is 900 km and Hemavan has its own airport, arrival via plane would be the most convenient method of transportation.
The hidden treasure of North
The northernmost ski area in the world is called the Riksgränsen and lies directly on the border to Norway, which can be reached when flying to either the Kiruna or Narvik airports. A total of 16 km of piste as well as six lifts can be found here. Winter sports fans with a desire to feel solitude in a vast expanse, to view the midnight sun while skiing or take on high-speed snowboarding will find Riksgränsen to be a true treasure. Untouched deep snow, dreamy, endless views into the distance and inclines sometimes up to 80% make this ski area quite worth the trip for off-piste skiers as well. Many of the world’s best snowboarders head to Riksgränsen, where other places only offer green pistes. This is also the reason that the annual Scandinavian Big Mountain Championship is held here.
A word about the lift pass prices: a 6 days lift pass costs anywhere from €180 – €240, depending on the ski area, just as much as in the Alpine regions.
Sweden has the most diverse types of ski areas available to offer. Large, interconnecting areas may not be found here, but the larger ski resorts has just as much to offer as any other normal Austrian ski area. Travellers in particular who want to get away from mass tourism will find Sweden ideal. Standing in line at the lifts is virtually unknown here. Furthermore, winter in Sweden has such a high potential for snow security that most of the ski areas tempt visitors with a true snow guarantee – if there’s no snow to be found, you get your money back! With all of these great advantages, putting Sweden on the table for discussion is surely possible now, isn’t it?