Take a break from the Christmas shopping rush and dream of your next ski adventure with magnificent views of the snow-covered slopes. Head to Norway, home of the fjords and some of the most breathtaking summits, with a team who will bring you the whole package, curated tours, beautiful hotels and adventures that will stay with you forever. Head north!
From Val d'Isère, Cortina and Courchevel, you could choose the well-trodden path this ski season, then again you could avoid the crowds and experience the hidden treasures of Scandinavia. From stunning fjords to the beautiful rugged alps take a trip with a team who will show you the beauty of Norway through a series of guided ski tours and summer trips that will undoubtedly leave you wanting more.
Headnorth came to fruition when an Englishman (Brendan) met a Norwegian girl (Sissel) in 2007. He'd always loved travelling but never felt truly settled. Norway (and Sissel) changed all that. Here Sissel introduced him to the north's stunning scenery by way of ski tours and he knew his winters would never be the same again. "We started Headnorth in 2015 because we love ski touring and we wanted to make ski touring in Norway more accessible to international guests. While we don’t mind roughing it we also love combining a fantastic day out in the mountains with a bit of simple luxury – Scandinavian style, so we came up with the idea of combining unique ski touring experiences with exclusive accommodation in parts of Norway that are entirely off the radar in wintertime."
Headnorth tours will take you to some of the most dramatic areas of Norway. From Hemsedal and the innermost reach of the winding fjords at Flåm to arguably the most spectacular ski tour area at the jagged Sunnemøre Alps in the west. Towards the east is a tour of the historical Telemark region, home to WWII resistance fighters and polar expedition teams. It's the closest you'll come to the South Pole on mainland Europe. Brendan and Sissel have created a series of unforgettable guided tours that afford their guests the chance to experience the country's untapped beauty and to stay in traditional cabins, independent hotels and modern architectural masterpieces along the way.
In the winter months, the team offer a range of tours for varying levels of experience in the form of either 'Basecamps' or 'Routes'. Basecamps are an ideal introduction to ski touring. Head out for day trips to local mountains to ascend summits and ski down, returning to the same 'basecamp' hotel each evening to experience local food, good company and a chance to reminisce about the day's adventures and plan for the next one. Routes are 'point to point' trips where you'll travel between accommodation. Depending on the tour, there'll be a choice of traditional hotels with historic charm, those with cutting-edge architecture or even more authentic experiences staying in ski club mountain cabins. "If you want to get under the skin of the Norwegian people a stay in a mountain cabin is a great place to start", says Brendan.
The 'Exclusive Long Weekend Tafjord and Sunnmøre' tour gives guests a taste of both traditional and contemporary Norway. Described as a 'mini-adventure of epic proportions' in a few days you'll encounter ascents on the mythical Sunnmøre Alps with powdery descents and views across Hjørundfjord, cold beers and hot tubs await you at the end of the day's adventure. Brendan told us his favourite aspects of this tour. "What we like most about this trip are the contrasts. You have the stunning mountain & fjord scenery, awesome skiing and two hotels that style wise are polar opposites yet together create an intense set of experiences. Each day gives an adrenalin-fuelled skiing experience, and then at night you have the total relaxation, first stepping back in time 100 years and then fast forward 100 years into the future."
The traditional hotel at the start of the tour is the Hotel Union Øye; built in the Swiss chalet style, it sits on the Hjorenfjord, the most secluded fjord in Norway at the heart of the Sunnamøre Alpes. Dating from 1891 it is a favourite of adventurers and royalty alike. "What we love about the accommodation are the contrasts. At Union Øye you’ve got this crazy old world elegance with a suit of armour in the hallway and full on Agatha Christie air about it. Then at Juvet, you have the ultimate in future spartan minimalism."
Utterly unique Juvet Landscape Hotel brings nature into your domain. Situated in a small village in rural Norway, this impressive modernist hotel perches between pine and aspen trees. Here innovation meets traditional techniques. Located at Alstad in the upper Valldal valley the accommodation offers 'Pod' rooms and relaxation with floor to ceiling windows where breathtaking nature and your space become one. Juvet is a hotel not to be missed.
And what of the tour itself? "The skiing is classic backcountry Norway with mountains rising 1700m straight from the sea. The smell of salt water, when you get down, is a surreal experience and throws most people. All of the classic photo vistas of off-piste skiing above the fjords are here on this trip. Nothing compares to standing atop a summit overlooking Hjørundfjord and knowing you've got 1500m of fun waiting for you on the descent. In between, you travel through some iconic fjord scenery, cross fjords on car ferries and see Norway at its winter best. The best of all is a days skiing followed by a cold beer in the steam room at Juvet overlooking the gorge and raging river below and the monochrome palette of white snow and black mountains. The steam room has the floor to ceiling glass, and it’s a pretty surreal experience sitting there sweating with the harsh Norwegian night a few centimetres away."
Who better to travel with than a team that is so passionate about this beautiful country and the adventures it has to offer. It's clear Brendan is sold; now it's your turn.
Book your tour with Headnorth here.