A jury consisting of one Olympic medal winner, an Alpine World Champion, an editor, a photo journalist, an avalanche expert and a retired cross-country enthusiast voted recently Hemsedal the most complete ski destination in Norway.
Hemsedal is one of the largest ski resorts in Norway and also the place for ski touring adventures. Situated halfway between Oslo and Bergen, Hemsedal is a place with alpine mountains and long ski traditions. The village center lies 650 meters above sea level, while the surrounding summits rise up to 1750 meters. Mass tourism is perhaps what springs to mind when Hemsedal is mentioned. On weekdays, however, ski touring in this area can be a serene experience.
Related article: Your One Stop Guide to Skiing in Norway
A number of express buses stop by Hemsedal on their way between the eastern and western parts of Southern Norway. There are several daily buses to the village of Gol, from where you can catch the trams on the Bergen line. To get to the ski lifts from overnight accommodations in Hemsedal, there are three buses. Apart from the trip to Kyrkjebønosi, the mountains here are easiest to reach by car.
Snow, season and weather conditions
Hemsedal lies east of the water divide and has a dry inland climate. Therefore, this area doesn’t get as much snow as the mountain regions further west. In winter, temperatures in the twenties below zero are not uncommon. Snowy weather usually comes from the east/south-east. If a snowfall is followed by strong winds and mild weather from the west, avalanches become a risk on the steepest slopes. Ski touring in this area is usually best from February until mid-May.
The regional avalanche forecast for the area Hallingdal will give useful information about the conditions in Hemsedal. The forecast is published here.
Related: Norwegian Ski Holidays
Accomodation and shopping
Hemsedal offers the full range of overnight accommodation. Contact the tourist information office for an overview. If you want to lodge in an authentic local atmosphere, Harahorn and Fauske Skysstasjon are two good alternatives. In Hemsedal you can find shops and gas stations. There is a store at Ulsåk close to the starting point for the tour in Skogshorn and Nibbi. Skandinavisk Høyfjellsutstyr is a ski touring specialist store.
Hemsedal Skisenter is one of the best ski resorts in Norway. It includes 21 lifts and has a vertical drop of more than 800 meters. You can enjoy good off-piste and use the lifts as a springboard for short ski touring trips. In Grøndalen, a few kilometers north of Hemsedal, you find the ski area named Solheisen (the Sun Lift). It includes three lifts and has a vertical drop of 300 meters.
There are a number of Summits along the road over Hemsedalsfjellet (Road 52). Høgtoft (1920 m), the highest mountain in Hemsedal, is a long and nice day trip. Set out from the north-west end of the lake named Eldrevann. Storebottskar (1719 m) is a snow-reliable summit with a relatively easy descent. Park the car on the left side of the road just after Støytestølen (in the right curve before the long tangent section towards Bjøberg). Bjøbergnuten (1515 m) offers several steep descents. Harahorn (1581 m) lies in Grøndalen, right across Hotel Grøndalen. Storehorn (1482 m) is a nice trip in spring. Start from the Thorseterstølene by Ulsok.
Related: Winter Sports in Scandinavia
Hemsedal offers a wide range of activities all year round. Ice climbing and alpine winter climbing are good options in Hemsedal and Gol. Cross-country ski tracks are abundant in this area. At the tourist information office, you can book trips with dog-sled.
For more information
Go to Hemsedal official website
Feature image (on top): Photo SkiStar