Winter fun for all the family in Värmland

Winter fun for all the family in Värmland

You don’t have to venture far to enjoy first-rate winter activities. It’s fair to say that the Swedish mountains start right here in Värmland. Join us on a wintry road trip to the wilds of northern Värmland, where snow is guaranteed.

We, four middle-aged buddies, are heading north on Hwy 62 through landscapes glittering with snow. Past picturesque Ransäter and sleepy Munkfors and on up the Klarälven river valley. Memories of our fabulous log-rafting trip a few years ago come flooding back. Forays ashore, congenial barbecues at sunset, leisurely fishing from the raft. But on this day in February, a very different sight meets our eyes. The river and the surrounding landscape are wrapped in fluffy, tailor-made winter clothing. A view worthy of any Christmas card.

The temperature has dropped to –8°C when we drive in to the busy car park at Branäs, the first stop on our winter road trip. According to the resort’s website, snow depth is a respectable 80 cm and all 30 runs are open. In other words, the best possible conditions for a day of adrenalin-fuelled skiing. In no time at all, our gear is unpacked, the lift passes purchased, and the gang are aboard the gondola en route to the summit lodge and our first run of the day.

To a city dweller, the peace and quiet up here seems slightly unreal, and the feeling of harmony spreading through your body is hard to beat. The silence is almost tangible. As you might expect, a murmur of anticipation hangs over the slopes and the lift queues, punctuated by laughter and the squeals of happy children. But come to a halt on a deserted slope, take off your helmet and enjoy the tranquillity for a while. Nobody has ever regretted a well-timed refreshment break on a sun-drenched forest fringe.

With aching limbs, slightly sweaty underwear and rosy red cheeks, we take our leave of the slopes and toddle off to our overnight accommodation to recharge our batteries with a few hours of well-earned rest. We’re going to need it. Day 2 of our trip will take us to Långbergets Sporthotell for some cross-country skiing.

After a hearty breakfast worthy of a champion skier and a 20-minute drive north, we arrive at the cross-country mecca deep in the wilds of northern Värmland. At 630 metres above sea level, surrounded by mountains, this is ‘base camp lite’ for keen amateur athletes like us. Especially considering the energy kick we get from the magical view of the hills and valleys below. Although Långberget also offers downhill skiing and lots of other fun activities, the cross-country trails are the main attraction for many visitors. Including those who have become hooked on skiing during its current wave of popularity and are looking to hone their skills for the upcoming Vasaloppet.

There are trails here to suit skiers of all types and abilities. Since none of our group have set our sights on competing in the Swedish Classic, we opt for the gentler trails in easy terrain, which turn out to be just right. The well-groomed trails provide a thorough workout, and at the end of the day four exhilarated but exhausted guys return to the car.

The final stop on our trip is Hovfjället, just north of Torsby. The resort is somewhat smaller than its counterpart at Branäs, but the snow conditions are at least as reliable. There are 15 downhill slopes, a terrain park and cross-country trails. Like Branäs, Hovfjället is family-friendly, and easy and intermediate slopes predominate. Perfect for the finale of our little road trip. Reflecting happily on our visit in the steaming sauna at the ski lodge afterwards, we are all agreed: We’ll be back. Soon!

Winter activities in northern Värmland

  • Snowmobile safari: A fun and fast way to explore the wilds of Värmland. Providers include Going North in Båtstad (Höljes), Abbas Stugby & Camping in Vägsjöfors, Nature Adventure in Gräsmark and the ski resorts.
  • Dogsledding: Take an unforgettable sleigh ride hauled by a team of good-natured dogs. Providers include Alevi Camping in Stöllet.
  • Ice fishing: Northern Värmland has an abundance of well-stocked fishing lakes. Providers offering guided ice-fishing excursions include Going North and Alevi Camping.
  • Snowshoeing: Not the fastest, but one of the most pleasurable ways to explore the beautiful surroundings of Långbergets Sporthotell and other resort

Text: Pål Johansson
English translation: Tom Ellett for EasyTranslate

An unforgettable sleigh ride at Alevi Camping in Stöllet.
Photo credit: An unforgettable sleigh ride at Alevi Camping in Stöllet. Foto Glory Days.
An unforgettable sleigh ride at Alevi Camping in Stöllet.
The ski tunnel in Torsby
Photo credit: The ski tunnel in Torsby. Foto Lars Sjöqvist.
The ski tunnel in Torsby
Snowmobile safari in Värmland
Photo credit: Snowmobile safari in Värmland. Foto Glory Days.
Snowmobile safari in Värmland