Skiing in Sweden: A Different Kind of Snow Experience

186325535Every year, millions of visitors flock to Europe for an exemplary winter skiing experience, flooding spots like Zermatt, Courchevel, St. Moritz, and other extremely popular ski destinations. These are, no doubt, some of the best places on the planet to enjoy a ski vacation, but if you’ve “been there-done that” and are looking for something new this year, how about taking a wintertime trip to beautiful Scandinavia to check out the ski resorts of Sweden?

“Sweden?” you ask. “Isn’t it cold there in the winter?” Of course it is, but it’s also a winter wonderland of fun, offering not only a wide variety of places to ski but also resorts that provide a host of other snow and non-snow activities, from sledding, snowmobiling, and ice skating to strolling through charming villages and basking in the warmth of an opulent spa.

When to Go

The ski resorts of Sweden are located in a variety of regions within the country, including along the Swedish Mountains and way up beyond the Arctic Circle. Because of Sweden’s northern location, most can guarantee the consistent presence of good snow between November and the Easter season, but those resorts in the far north, like Riksgränsen, note that you can ski well into the spring and perhaps even until mid to late June in some cases. So, really, it’s a skiers dream, though the runs may not be as demanding as what you’d find in the Alps or Dolomites. Nonetheless, there are plenty of top-notch resorts to consider as you ponder a Scandinavian ski vacation.

Popular Swedish Ski Resorts

Hemavan Tärnaby, located in the Lapland area of Sweden, is a great destination for those who enjoy what the resort describes as “wild country” skiing at its finest. More than a dozen lifts serve 50 pistes that are suitable to skiers of a variety of levels. There’s also plenty of off-piste skiing available as well as activities for kids and non-skiers. Be sure to try your hand at the Anja and Ingemar slopes, named after Swedish Olympic skiing legends Ingemar Stenmark and Anja Pärson. Snowmobiling in the Lapland area is also exciting, offering scenery that’s reminiscent of a true winter wonderland.

Bjursås Ski Center, not as large as Hemavan Tärnaby, is one of the most convenient ski resorts to Stockholm. Your can reach the resort by automobile from Stockholm in less than 2 hours or can take advantage of the Ski-Bus that leaves from the city.  Bjursås has 20 runs and 7 lifts as well as an excellent area for snowboarders. Kids are treated to their own spot, called The Children’s Corner, where they can play while mom and dad are skiing or enjoy some après ski activities with other youngsters. After you’re done skiing for the day, take advantage of the Bath and Relaxation Centre and its wonderful, steaming hot tubs.

The Northern Sweden destination known as Funäsfjällen boasts the third-largest ski area in the country and one of the highest, with many peaks soaring over 3,200 feet in height. It’s been a popular tourist spot since the late 19th century and remains as such, attracting skiers of all ages and skill levels. Aside from 121 slopes, eight designated children’s areas, four ski and snowboard schools, and plenty of cross-country terrain, Funäsfjällen also offers heli-skiing, ice climbing, dog-sledding, tobogganing, and more. The après ski scene is also quite nice, with plenty of cafes and good restaurants nearby.

If you prefer something smaller and less crowded, consider Säfsen in central Sweden. Specializing in families, it’s a little resort with 16 slopes including plenty for the beginning and intermediate skier. Kids will love the resort’s mascot, Filurius, an elk who lives in a cabin on the premises along with his family. Book a chalet for your family or a larger private vacation rental.

Head towards the southern portion of Sweden and you’ll find Isaberg, the largest ski resort in that region, home to a not-so-big but well-groomed resort that includes the highest peak in southern Sweden.  Besides 10 pistes, there’s lots of room for cross country, an excellent ski school that accommodates disabled skiers, and plenty of spaces dedicated to young and beginning skiers.  

A huge hit with families, Branäs ski resort – also in the south – really does pay a lot of attention to your kids. Known for being child-friendly and continuously lauded by local family vacation publications, Branäs offers excellent accommodations, pistes for all skill levels, reliable babysitting and kids’ programs, and designated areas for children’s ski lessons, kid-oriented competitions, and more. Lots of fun for everyone!

Finally, for a unique experience, head to Riksgränsen, a whopping 125 miles above the Arctic Circle, making it one of the northernmost ski destinations in the world. The really cool thing about skiing at Riksgränsen is that you can do it straight through until nearly July, and with the presence of the famous Midnight Sun, you can literally ski all day and all night. In the winter, however, it’s super cold and is best suited to those who are experienced and up for some really wild terrain. Situated where the mountains of Sweden, Norway, and Finland come together, it’s incredibly picturesque and more popular than you’d think, but you’ll definitely need a warm glass or two of glögg when it’s time to leave the slopes at the end of the day.

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