Helberghytta DNT
Hardangervidda crossing
Making friend with the locals
Views from the plateau
Around Kvitåvatn
Rjukan, Krossobanen cable car
Intro Nordic Day Tour
Gaustatoppen
Reapplying wax

Kvitåvatn: Off Track Skills & Touring


Nordic Off-Track Ski Touring

Join us skiing 'off-track' and journey through an arctic wilderness carved by glaciers, across frozen lakes, and wide open spaces where the reindeer roam. This is an ideal opportunity to develop your Nordic off-track skills with a view to more ambitious hut-to-hut tours elsewhere in Norway.

We base this trip in Kvitåvatn simply because it has everything we need for the perfect 'off track' touring skills week. Kvitåvatn is a mountain plateau of outstanding natural beauty, with a stunning view of the highest mountain in southern Norway, Gaustatoppen (1883m / 6177ft) and Lake Kvitåvatn.

After four days of skills based tuition and short tours, travel down the valley to Rjukan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the heavy water sabotages during World War II. From here we take the Krossobanen cable car to access the Hardangervidda National Park, Europe’s largest mountain plateau, for a two-day tour and over night at the DNT Helberg Hutte.

Highlights

  • Develop your Nordic Off-Track ski skills
  • Learn with a BASI Approved Nordic Ski School
  • Learn of the art of traditional ski waxing
  • Six days of skiing, including four days touring
  • Ride the 'Krossobanen' first cable car built in northern Europe
  • Celebrate the 80th Anniversary of 'Heroes of Telemark'
  • Overnight at the Helberghytta on the Hardangervidda Plateau
  • Traditional Norwegian cabin style accommodation with sauna
  • Meals and Wellness area (pool, jacuzzi and sauna) at Gaustblikk Fjellresort
  • Return taxi transfer from Drammen included

This trip is ideal for any skier who has already cross-country skied on tracks and is now looking to learn or to refresh their nordic 'off-track' ski skills.

Nordic 'off-track' skiing is cross country skiing away from marked and pressed trails. There will be an emphasis on travelling, turning and controlling speed in a variety of snow types. We will teach you how to use waxing skis, and climbing skins for hills as well as give you tips and ideas on how to manage your equipment and clothing. The skis are wider than those used for track skiing holidays, and the boots chunkier, sturdier and warmer. The ski hire for this trip is locally based and is of excellent quality.

This part of Norway, which sits on the edge of the Hardangervidda, was immortalised in film in 'The Hereos of Telemark' based on the true story of Norwegian resistance fighters in 1943 battling to prevent the construction of an atomic bomb. Skiing across this wild plateau you will truly appreciate what they endured living in the winter wilderness for many months.

Enjoy our article on Crossing the Hardangavidda: hut-to-hut ski touring in Norway.

 

     


Ewen has a high level of mountain skills, is a good ski coach, and demonstrated sound judgement related to safety and skill level of the team.

- Sarah, UK - April 2022

The trip was outstanding! The hotel were welcoming, with excellent food. I came away with an understanding of the impact of posture and core strength on skiing, and could really feel the impact. Ewen is an outstanding coach. It was fantastic to feel that I was improving, whilst also out and about in such a beautiful area.

- Gail, March 22 - UK

I wouldn't hesitate in recommending 'Be a Better Skier' to anyone who wanted to improve their technique in a fun and friendly group environment. Ewen's tuition was five star. I've never felt so good after a week of XC skiing!

- Paula, United Kingdom, 2022

Itinerary

  • We meet at Drammen train station where a private taxi transfers our group directly to our accommodation in Kvitåvatn which is a plateau situated above the town of Rjukan, a lush valley in Telemark, Eastern Norway. While making your way up the 10 km (6.2 miles) long road from Rjukan, and its 5 hairpin  bends, enjoy stunning views of the Rjukan Valley as you gain 600 metres (1968ft).

    Your guide will meet you at our accommodation, Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter. A cosy cabin built in traditional Norwegian style. Our evening meals, lunch packets, and breakfast will be taken at the Gaustablikk Fjellresort. The cabins have a stunning view of the highest mountain of southern Norway, the Gaustatoppen (1883m / 6177ft) and Lake Kvitåvatn. On arrival you can fully relax and unpack and take in the calm of the wilderness as this will be our base for the week.

    Kvitåvatn has a few shops including; a small supermarket, bakery, ski hire and sports shop. For 'Arrival' details please refer to the Trip Information section.

  • Located at 945m (3100ft) above sea level, Kvitåvatn, has excellent snow conditions offering direct access to 85 km (54 miles) of prepared cross-country ski tracks, Nordic 'off track' touring for all levels, as well as 35 km (22 miles) of lift assisted alpine downhill runs. 

    The village itself is small with many buildings of typical Norwegian style. Alpine slopes and groomed Nordic tracks rise either side of our accommodation which lead onto the plateau and mountains beyond. After arranging the ski hire we head out to the nearby nordic tracks around the Kvitåvatn lake.

    Kvitåvatn has all the terrain we need to prepare us for the touring days ahead. We'll first check our equipment and make a short tour to the lake revisiting essential nordic travelling techniques used for classic 'track skiing' to ensure that we are happy with this before beginning our 'off-track' adventures. We will be out all day with packed lunch.

    We will include some off-track elements today, and it's important you are comfortable skiing over a variety of rolling terrain and snow types for our touring days later in the week. After our ski day enjoy time at the Gaustablikk Fjellresort, including the bars, restaurant and wellness area with pool, jacuzzi and sauna.

  • Making use of the nursery slopes around Kvitåvatn today we focus primarily on the different downhill ski techniques required to give us the skills needed to confidently enjoy basic 'off track' nordic ski tours. We work on controlling speed, direction and on traversing slopes which can then be transferred 'off track'. In the afternoon we focus on mastering longer descents with confidence and can also start to introduce the basic telemark turn. Video feedback will be available and can be reviewed after the ski day in the comfort of your group cabin.

     

  • Putting into practise the skills from the previous two days we will complete an easy day tour from Kvitåvatn. The aim will be to explore the local area 'off track' taking in a variety of terrain and different snow types. On route we will stop and coach further on nordic techniques for going up and downhill. Due to the mix of open countryside, tree cover, pistes and tracks the touring options around Kvitåvatn offer the perfect playground for coaching and practice. There will be plenty of opportunities to put into practice the downhill mountain techniques learnt on the slopes enabling you to confidently traverse and descend slopes 'off track'.

  • We set off today for our 2-day hut based ski tour from Rjukan to the lovely Helberghytta situated high up on Norway's largest national park, the Hardangervidda.

    You will carry everything you need in your rucksack for the two days giving you the experience of complete autonomy. This in our view is to be savoured as it is great to un-clutter and realise you can survive with all your needs in your rucksack.

    We take the bus from Kvitåvatn down to Rjukan then regain the height by taking the Krossobanen cable car up onto the Hardangervidda. The Krossobanen was built in 1928 and was a gift from Norsk Hydro, so the townspeople could get up to see the sun during the winter. Also in the mountains above Rjukan, you can see a few giant mirrors that reflect sunlight down to the town during the sun-starved winter months.

    The view over Rjukan from the upper station is fantastic, with the mountains rolling away to the south and west. From the top of the cable car we ski steadily north climbing into wild open terrain as we cross the plateau at 1080m (3543ft) to reach the cosy DNT Helberghytta or 'hut' located by Våervatn lake. This relatively easy route offers the perfect terrain to practice our Nordic travelling techniques, use of waxes and climbing skins. Upon arrival at the hut there will be the opportunity to look at building snow shelters, snow holes and if the weather allows a night ski!

  • We wake this morning to enjoy the peace and tranquility of Hardangervidda and the views back across to Gaustatoppen which are stunning.

    The cabin was named after Claus Helberg, who was a driving force behind DNT's self-service cabins in the mountains and opened in 1993. The opening of Helberghytta made an old gateway to the Hardangervidda more accessible. 

    After we've packed up the cabin, depending on the weather, there are different possibilities for a shorter or longer tour of the area either on way-marked or completely 'off track' to return back to the Krossobanen cable car. The shortest route is a leisurely 8km (5 miles).

    If time allows before getting the bus back up to the Kvitåvatn Fjellhytte, it should be possible for those interested to visit the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum where you can see the war exhibition called Heroes of Telemark.*

    During World War II, Vemork in Rjukan became the centre of one of the most important and daring sabotage missions – the heavy water sabotages that prevented the Germans from developing the ingredient they needed to build atom bombs. Experience what was once the world’s largest power station and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    After your day enjoy time relaxing back at the cabin prior to our big summit day tomorrow.

    *Please note that to this it's best to arrange a private taxi to visit the museum. Your guide can help to arrange a group visit for those interested in this.

  • With the highest mountain peak in Telemark and Scandinavia’s largest national park just around the corner, the Gausta area is a paradise for those who love hiking and skiing. Due to its high altitude, snow often falls in October / November and remains until the summer. This means that the ski season at Gaustatoppen is long – it often lasts all the way into May-June.

    Having refined our technique over the past five days, weather and snow permitting we plan to put everything together to ski tour to the summit of the highest mountain in southern Norway, Gaustatoppen (1883m / 6177ft) ). This classic Norwegian day tour is very popular with the locals and it's no wonder why!

    Despite its grandure, in the right conditions, Gaustatoppen is accessible to most skiers. The day begins with a 90 minute cross country ski mainly on tracks taking us to the base of the mountain.  It's then skins on and a 3 hour ascent to the summit. During the main ski season the cafe is open for a celebratory coffee and waffle. Depending on our group descending ability the descent can take 2-4 hours via the same way.

    A superb finale, from developing those off-track skills to putting it all together with a full mountain day tour. We return to spend our last night relaxing at the Kvitåvtan Fjellhytte, wellness area with pool, jacuzzi and sauna.

  • Today is departure day and after breakfast we transfer by taxi from Kvitåvatn to Drammen train station. From Drammen, trains leave regularly for either Oslo Torp or Oslo Gardemoen depending on your onwards travel plans.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

On all of our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, comfortable, characterful, family run accommodation. We take time to research, update and view the best options available to us.

For this trip we stay have the luxury of our own traditional Norwegian ski touring cabin as well as access to the Gaustablikk Fjellresort for meals and wellness facilities. The mountain cabins or 'Fjellhytters' are on a 3/4 board basis (bed, breakfast, dinner and self made packed lunches) and have 3 bedrooms suitable for up to 8 people but for comfort we will only use a maximum of 6 beds per cabin. A single room maybe available in the Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter for an additional fee.

One night will be spent in the unstaffed / self serviced DNT Helberghytta. It has shared bunkrooms with 4 beds. As we will be only spending one night in a DNT hut it's not necessary to be a DNT member for this trip. We will not be required to check out of the Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter/ cabin when touring to the DNT Helberghytta.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss the rooming on this trip.

Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter

Cabin

The Kvitåvatn Fjellhytters are located about 500m (0.3 mile) from Gaustablikk Fjellresort, close to cross-country ski trails, service and the ski slopes at Gausta Skisenter. The Kvitåvatn Mountain cabins are of a high standard and offer our group the perfect base for our off-track adventures.

As a guest at Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter, you will have access to all the hotel's facilities at Gaustablikk Fjellresort, including bars and restaurants and a wellness area with pool, jacuzzi and sauna.

Image credit: Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter

We book two cabins for our group. Each cabin has 3 bedrooms (1 double room & 2 bunk bed style rooms), 1 bathroom with a sauna, 1 extra toilet, ski storage, an open floor plan between kitchen and living room, and a patio with lovely views of Gaustatoppen. Additional showering facilities are available in the wellness area.

Helberghytta - DNT

DNT Self-Service Cabin

The cosy DNT Helberghytta or 'hut' is located by Våervatn lake. 'Hut' is a misnomer as they are more like cosy mountain lodges! The huts are either privately owned and run, or more likely they are owned and operated by Den Norske Turistforening, which is the Norwegian Trekking Association.

The DNT huts are brilliant, stocked with food, and logs for the fire, and it's a great experience to spend a night in a remote location like this. This hut is not staffed so you can expect to do some of the chores, such as collecting water, and lighting the fire, and preparing dinner, all good fun and part of the mountain experience. We have no luggage tonight, we suggest that you carry a few snacks with you, along with a few extra items for your overnight.

DNT Helberghytta has shared rooms with bunkbeds with 4 beds. As we will be only spending one night in a DNT hut it's not necessary to be a DNT member for this trip.


  • When booking a trip during the pandemic we ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and be flexible.

    Any holiday taken during the Covid-19 pandemic may be subject to change and with little or no notice of that change. As the past months have proven no-one can predict the situation from one week to the next, however, we will do our very best to gauge the best response to any new developments. New restrictions or guidelines might affect where we eat out, which accommodation we can stay in, and potentially transport arrangements if the numbers in vehicles are restricted. 

    Itineraries may not be exactly as advertised due to new regulations or restrictions. We are sure there will be various scenarios which we have not even thought about that might lead to a change or adaptation in the itinerary.

    Please read our Covid-19 Cancellation Policy and ensure you have appropriate insurance as per our recommendations. We also ask that you make yourself aware of the entry requirements of any country you are visiting on your trip. We have compiled a Travel Links Advice list to help you source the correct information. 

  • Arrival

    To reach Kvitåvatn and to make your journey easier, we have for this trip included a return taxi transfer from Drammen train station direct to our accommodation. We expect to meet at about 1530hrs and the journey time takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes. This time may be brought forward once we have everyone's travel details nearer the time. 

    If you are arriving by air then we recommend that you fly to Oslo Gardermoen airport. The railway station is within the airport building and is just a few minutes walk from the baggage reclaim area. Trains leave roughly every 20 minutes to Drammen and the journey time is about an hour. 

    It is possible to fly to Oslo Torp airport, however, there are fewer trains and the journey time is about 40 minutes longer as an airport bus is required to reach the train station.

    If you arrive early to Drammen and have time to spare then it is possible to leave luggage in a locker at Drammen train station.

    Departure

    On your departure day our group transfer back to Drammen train station will leave after breakfast at about 0730 hrs in order to meet onward trains to Oslo airport and for flights departing from 1400 hrs onwards.

    In Norway the train times are confirmed 3 months before the departure date and can vary by a few minutes on the times given for previous months. Tickets are easily purchased online at Vy.no. Ensure you book your ticket as the trains can be fully booked and you will not be permitted to travel.

    Please check with us before booking any travel.

  • When booking a trip we ask you to acquire insurance to cover you for the following:

    Mountain Rescue Insurance

    It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, mountain rescue, cost of repatriation and personal accident risks. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. The maximum altitude for any trip can be checked on the 'At A Glance' box on each trip page. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip, then please ask us for specific details.

    Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance

    You should also have insurance to cover trip cancellation and curtailment. Please note that your deposit and balance payments are non-refundable, unless it is Tracks and Trails who cancel the trip due to a failure to reach the required minimum numbers. In this case we will offer you a refund or the option of transferring to another trip if one is available. We also advise that you should have insurance which covers baggage loss/equipment damage as Tracks and Trails will not be held responsible for loss/damage to baggage/equipment.

    COVID-19 Insurance

    As well as medical cover, we recommend that you have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your trip, you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip. You should also consider booking a policy that covers you if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because you have to self-isolate. If you choose to cancel, cancellation charges will be payable, but if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. Please read the clauses below detailing trip cancellation and curtailment.

    Travel Insurance covering COVID-19 is now available from a number of suppliers, Campbell Irvine, Trailfinders and Staysure. Please check their websites for the latest information on what is and isn't covered. It is likely that more companies will offer COVID related cover in the future.

    All of the above insurances are detailed in our Terms and Conditions

    If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Winter temperatures in Scandinavia are 'according to the locals' becoming warmer, which is why we now run trips in the months of January, and February, as well as the traditional ski touring months of March and April. Even in January when the daylight hours are short we find that we have more than enough time for skiing. We have never yet had guests feeling they were losing out in terms of ski hours by booking in January or February. There is a special pleasure to starting your ski day in the sunrise, and skiing back with the sunset. 

    Historically temperatures in December have averaged -8°Celsius (17.4°F), in January -9.7°Celsius (14.5°F), in February -9.2°Celsius (15.4°F), in March -6.6°Celsius (20.1°F), and in April -2.3°Celsius (27.9°). Clearly there is the potential for temperatures to drop much lower, but rarely lower than  -15°C (5°F).

    We have found over the years that these temperatures have not been unpleasant nor have any guests had problems dealing with the weather as it is generally a 'dry' cold, and of course this helps create great snow and therefore great ski tracks. If we do experience a cold snap where temperatures drop then we ensure that everyone is appropriately clothed and kitted out for the ski day. In this respect energy snacks and a thermos with a hot drink are a great comfort! 

    If you are booked on one of our 'Advanced' or 'Challenging' point-to-point journeys and we experience very cold temperatures eg -15°Celsius (5°F) then we would expect you to be able to be efficient and keep moving and to manage your comfort.

  • The skis we recommend for this trip are similar to the Fischer Transnordic 66 Easy Skin Xtralite (formerly the Fischer E99), metal-edged Nordic touring skis with NNN BC bindings or equivalent, with a side cut of 66-54-81 mm. You can use a wider ski such as Fischer Transnordic 82 Easy Skin Xtralite (formerly the Fischer E109),  and with a side cut of around 82-60-70 mm, but what you gain in stability you lose in glide. There are many compromises to be made and decided upon, which will also involve personal preference. The term sidecut refers to the width at the tip, waist, and tail.

    Boots should be leather. There is no need to have plastic boots with telemark bindings for this trip. Poles should be of touring length and fit snugly into the armpit with the basket on the snow surface. Note you also require climbing skins for this trip. If you have your own equipment and would like to discuss it's suitability for the trip then please contact us

    We will organise your ski rental on your behalf in Kvitåvatn where the equipment is of excellent quality. The hire cost for skis, boots, poles and full length climbing skins in 2022 was approximately 1080 NOK for the 6 days. It is important that you order your skis, boots and poles as soon as your trip is guaranteed.

    There will be one day when we use a lift and this will be around £49 / 580 NOK, which includes the plastic smart card. There is no ski pass required for the cross-country skiing element of this trip.

  • Your safety while skiing is our top priority. All skiers are requested to adhere to the Code of Conduct published by the International Ski Federation, or FIS. The aim is to make you, the skier, aware of how to avoid risks, take responsibility and act thoughtfully while on the cross-country ski tracks. 

    • Respect for others
      A cross-country skier must ski in such a manner that he/she does not endanger or
      prejudice others.
    • Respect for signs, direction and running style
      Trail marking signs must be respected on any trail marked with an indicated
      direction. A skier shall proceed only in that indicated direction and ski in the
      indicated running style.
    • Choice of trails and tracks
      On cross-country trails with more than one packed track, a skier should choose
      the right-hand track. Skiers in groups must keep in the right track behind each other. With free
      running style, skiers shall keep to their right-hand-side of the trail.
    • Overtaking
      A skier is permitted to overtake and pass another skier to the left or right. A skier ahead is not obliged to give way to an overtaking skier, but should allow a faster skier to pass whenever this is possible.
    • Encounter
      Cross-country skiers meeting while skiing opposite directions shall keep to their
      right. A descending skier has priority.
    • Poles
      A cross-country skier shall make the utmost effort to keep his poles close to his/her
      body when near another skier.
    • Control of speed
      A cross-country skier, and especially going downhill, shall always adapt his/her
      speed to personal ability and to the prevailing terrain and visibility and to the
      traffic on the course. Every skier should keep a safe distance from the skiers ahead. As a last resort, an intentional fall should be used to avoid collision.
    • Keeping trails and tracks clear
      A skier who stops must leave the trail. In the case of a fall, he/she shall clear the trail
      without delay.
    • Accident
      In case of an accident, everyone should render assistance.
    • Identification
      Everybody at an accident, whether witnesses, responsible parties or not, must
      establish their identity. 
  • When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you will encounter and accommodation you will be staying in. 

    Equipment

    Skis, boots, and poles - can be hired at the start of the trip. The cost of hire is indicated in 'Type of Skis'. If you are intending to hire you must inform us as soon as possible as equipment must be booked in advance. The skis and boots required for this trip are metal-edged Nordic touring skis with NNN BC bindings similar in width to the Fischer E99, side cut 66-54-61, or Fischer E109, side cut 82-60-70. The 'sidecut' refers to the width of the ski in millimetres; at the tip, the middle, and the tail. You should avoid any skis that are narrower than the E99, so less than 54mm in the middle or 'waist'. Any narrower and the skis are not appropriate for off-track skiing. If in doubt about the suitability of your own skis please contact us.

    • Wax Cork and Ski Scraper - can be bought in the hire shop
    • Ski ties - to hold your skis together
    • Waxes - these will be supplied by Tracks and Trails
    • Rucksack - 35 to 40 litres with waist and chest strap. You need space to carry your personal items for 2 days of touring and an item of group kit
    • Rucksack waterproof cover or liner to keep contents dry
    • Water container - 1 litre, drink tubes and bottles stowed on the outside of your rucksack usually freeze in winter
    • Snow shovel - check with us before packing one as we may already have sufficient within the group
    • Whistle
    • Full length climbing skins - these can be hired with your hire skis
    • Head torch - plus spare batteries
    • Medium sized kitbag – whilst on the 2-day tour to the Helberghytta you will be able to kit and clothing in your room at Kvitåvatn as we will not be required to check out.
    • Padlock - for luggage being transferred

    Clothing

    • Waterproof jacket - essential, this must keep you dry during a day of continuous snowfall or at least as dry as any waterproof jacket ever keeps you!
    • Waterproof trousers - in case of heavy snowfall
    • Trousers - lightweight, windproof and warm
    • Thermal top with long sleeves
    • Thermal leggings
    • Thin fleece - long sleeves
    • Waistcoat - fleece/wind stopper 
    • Gloves x 2 (one thick and one thin)
    • Over-mittens for colder days can be useful
    • Warm hat
    • Sun hat
    • Head/ear band 
    • Duvet jacket (or second warm layer)
    • Scarf or 'Buff' for neck
    • Socks - 2 or 3 pairs
    • Gaiters - to deal with fresh snow

    Comfort

    • Lip salve
    • Sunscreen 
    • Sunglasses 
    • Goggles - or Nordic Ski Visor 
    • Snack bars/chocolate
    • Tea/coffee sachets for Thermos flasks which can stored and made in the cabin kitchen
    • Small mat for sitting on snow at lunch
    • Anti-bacterial hand wash
    • Tissues - we recommend biodegradable bags to dispose of rubbish
    • Sleeping bag liner, also known as a 'sheet sleeping bag' for the night at the Helberghytta. (Sleeping bags are not allowed)
    • Small 'Pack' towel 
    • Slippers for use at the accommodation

    Personal First Aid

    • Personal medication 
    • Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
    • Painkillers/anti-inflammatory
    • Glucose tablets/Energy gel
    • 2 x Rehydration sachets - eg Dioralyte
    • Throat lozenges
    • Antiseptic cream/spray

    Documentation

    • Mountain Rescue/Ski Insurance documents - compulsory
    • Passport
    • Credit card
    • Cash - Norwegian Kroner

    Additional Items

    • Slippers for use at accommodation
    • Clothing for use at accommodation
    • Toiletries - soap/shower gel; not all accommodation supplies these
    • Toiletries - mini versions - for the Helberghytta night
    • Hair dryer if required (it is not standard for Norwegian hotels to provide one)
    • Travel Kettle if required (it is not standard for Norwegian hotels to provide one)
    • Swimwear for when a sauna is available
    • Camera/ Book/Music
    • Ear plugs if you are room sharing
    • Small thermos for hot drinks
    • Head torch - plus spare batteries

    **Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**

    Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • This trip is an ideal opportunity to develop Nordic off track skills with a view to more ambitious hut-to-hut, week long tours elsewhere in Norway.

    To join this level of 'off track' trip you should have completed at least two weeks of 'classic' skiing on prepared tracks at an intermediate level or above OR appropriate downhill experience on 'blue slopes' as an alpine skier plus one week of classic track skiing. You should already be at a standard where you are confident about controlling your speed and direction on cross-country skis and have a solid ‘snowplough’ and can confidently snowplough turn. You should be able to ski under control on a variety of terrain both uphill, and downhill. This trip may include some steep sections with bends, as well as some narrow tracks. You should enjoy being in remote and wild mountain areas and have a good fitness level. You should be comfortable with winter weather, which may include snowfall and cold winds. For this reason we expect a degree of self-sufficiency in terms of keeping yourself warm, and dry. You should be happy to ski on a variety of snow including perfect fresh tracks, AND tracks less than perfect which may be ‘firm and icy’. On our point-to-point trips you will be expected to carry a medium sized daypack. We use ‘waxing’ skis and 'climbing skins', although you do not need previous experience of this type of ski we would expect you to understand the principle and be prepared to follow the guidance of your Instructor. Time on skis will be 5-6 hours per day covering approximately 10-20 km (6.2-10.4 miles) per day.

    Read more about our ski grades.

  • A single room is available whilst staying in Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter. The single supplement is £250. When booking a holiday as a solo traveller a twin bedded room comprising of two single beds, is booked as standard. This will be with someone of the same gender unless you request to pay extra for your own room. Single rooms are often limited in supply so if you would like to pay a supplement for a single room we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible. When staying at Helberghytta we book small mixed dormitories just for our group for 4 or 6 people.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    Your ski guide will be a professionally qualified BASI Nordic Instructor at the least and may also be a BASI Telemark Instructor. They will hold the Winter Mountain Leader Award, or the International Mountain Leader Award or have the ability and relevant experience to navigate in winter conditions. While in no way interfering with the tour, coaching along the way in ski technique and 'grip waxing' will help you ski more effectively and with less effort. We are always mindful of safety in cold conditions and wilderness areas.

  • We recommend bringing one medium sized kitbag to transport your luggage, plus a 35 - 40 litre rucksack with waist and chest strap for skiing. In Kvitåvtn you will be cabin based therefore you can bring what you wish, however, you must be able to lift your main luggage easily to carry it to the cabin and up the steps. Whilst on the 2-day tour to the Helberghytta you will be able to leave travel clothing etc in your main bag at the cabin in Kvitåvtn.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • Your ski guide will have the maps required for this trip, but if you would like to arrive with your own maps we have listed those which cover the route:

    Around Kvitåvatn / Gaustablikk:-

    Gaustatoppen – Rjuken (Telemark) 1:25,000 (2657)

    For a smaller scale and to have the Helberghytta / Kvitåvatn & Gaustablikk

    Hardangervidda Øst DNT hiking map 1:100,000 (2556)

     

    And for a larger scale map for the Helberghytta:-

    "Rjukan 10025" The tourist series: Hardangervidda Sør-East 1:60,000 from Telemark Turistforening.

    All maps are available online via the Map Shop www.themapshop.co.uk, from Stanfords in London www.stanford.co.uk or with https://en.kartbutikken.no/

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.

  • The DNT system of cabins in Norway is a wonderful concept. 'DNT' stands for Den Norske Turistforening, which translates to the 'Norwegian Trekking Association'. 

    According to the DNT local member associations operate 550 cabins across Norway. They maintain a network of about 22,000 km (13,730 miles) of marked hiking trails and about 7000 km (4375 miles) of branch-marked ski tracks. Each year, volunteers work a total of more than 800,000 hours maintaining this system. 

    A number of our trips such as our Skarvheimen Traverse, Jotunheimen Pines to Peaks, and the Hardanger Classic Crossing require you to be a member of the DNT. Please check the 'Dates & Prices' section of the your trip itinerary. To become a member click here

    DNT Cabins are either 'staffed' or 'self-service':

    Staffed cabins

    Staffed cabins serve all meals; breakfast, dinner and a picnic lunch which is made up from the breakfast buffet. Meals are excellent in both quality and quantity! Many have showers (for a 10 Kroner fee) and electricity, either from the power grid or from a local generator. Staffed cabins are open only in certain seasons.

    Self-service cabins

    The self-service cabins are equipped with all that we need for cooking and sleeping. Firewood, gas, kitchen utensils, table linen and bunks with blanks or duvets and pillows. We do require you to bring a 'sheet sleeping bag liner' for reasons of hygiene. The cabins are also stocked with tinned and dried food which means we do not have to carry provisions! It is not possible to 'reserve' beds in self-service cabins and it is a case of 'first come, first served'. We aim to arrive in good time to secure the necessary number of beds which are usually in rooms with between 2 - 8 bunk beds. If we arrive late in the day and the cabin is already crowded then as 'members of the DNT' you will have priority over non-members in terms of acquiring a mattress. Please note this may be a mattress on the floor, think of it as camping, but with a roof!

    In the self-service cabins we look after ourselves: fetch water, cook food, wash up and chop wood. At the cabin we fill out a payment form which details everything we have used. The DNT then contact us on our email addresses and we make payment for your stay. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • If would like to spend extra nights in Oslo, the capital city of Norway, we can recommend several city centre hotels:

    The Thon Hotel Opera is a very short distance from the central railway station and, indeed, the Opera House. It is approximately 100 metres (328ft) from the railway station. Karl Johan high street, the main shopping thoroughfare, is a two minute walk from the hotel. 

    The Thon Hotel Spectrum is also central and approximately 600 metres (1968ft) walk from the central railway station. 

    Both these hotels are part of the Thon hotel chain. We would normally recommend family run hotels, but they are not easily found in central Oslo and we feel that the Thon group do provide good accommodation which is easily reached from the railway station. You will be able to book either of these online. 

    If you would like inexpensive accommodation in Oslo we can recommend the Perminalen Hotell. The hotel has a choice of accommodation ranging from bedrooms to same gender dormitories. It is approximately 850 metres (2788ft) from the central railway station. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance.

    If you have a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it. The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2023

Full

What's Included

  • 6 Nights accommodation at the Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter which includes linen, towels and final clean
  • Shared kitchen and living room for our group
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches & Thermos fill, and 7 Dinners
  • Access to the Gaustablikk Fjellresort, including bars and restaurants and a wellness area with pool, jacuzzi and sauna
  • 1 Night at the unstaffed DNT Helberghytta
  • Services of a professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor and all of their expenses
  • Return taxi transfer from Drammen train station to Kvitåvatn
  • Transport required during the ski week
  • Return journey on the Krossobanen cable car
  • Use of ski waxes
  • Tracks and Trails memento to take home

What's Not Included

  • Insurance
  • Ski hire and climbing skins
  • Flights
  • Kvitåvatn lift pass for half a day
  • Transfer cost to reach Drammen train station
  • Extra drinks and snacks
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Heroes of Telemark museum visit 

Ewen has a high level of mountain skills, is a good ski coach, and demonstrated sound judgement related to safety and skill level of the team.

- Sarah, UK - April 2022

The trip was outstanding! The hotel were welcoming, with excellent food. I came away with an understanding of the impact of posture and core strength on skiing, and could really feel the impact. Ewen is an outstanding coach. It was fantastic to feel that I was improving, whilst also out and about in such a beautiful area.

- Gail, March 22 - UK

I wouldn't hesitate in recommending 'Be a Better Skier' to anyone who wanted to improve their technique in a fun and friendly group environment. Ewen's tuition was five star. I've never felt so good after a week of XC skiing!

- Paula, United Kingdom, 2022
Return to Search Print Trip Notes

Grade: Intermediate

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At a Glance

From Price £2195
Holiday Type Nordic Touring 'Off Track'
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 4-8
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 1883m (6177ft)
Countries Visited Norway
View all Nordic Touring 'Off Track' Holidays

Off Track Skills - what is required?

The Hardangervidda

Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
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