Battle of the ski resorts: Stranda

skier on snowy slope by fkord

How does Norway’s only entry, Stranda, measure up in our Battle of the Ski resorts

Nominated by Will

Ease of access 6/10

Reaching Stranda by air is now straightforward as Norwegian flies from Gatwick into the nearby coastal town of Ålesund. There are also buses from Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo. By car the trip takes about eight hours from Oslo and seven hours from Bergen.

Sense of scale and epicness 9/10

Stranda is in the Sunnmøre Alps above the Hjørundfjord. The combination of fjords and mountains is epic.

Variety and quality of the pistes 7/10

Not only is it beautiful, it’s quiet. The marked area is small: a four-seater and restaurant on the Furset side of the valley, plus a Telemix (chair/gondola) and restaurant on the Roald side. There are 18 pistes, plus a park, floodlights and plenty of Nordic tracks.

Off-piste potential 8/10

The excellent off-piste terrain is the draw. Norwegians rate Stranda and its surroundings among the best and prettiest off-piste locations in Europe, with umpteen backcountry options, and some lines running uninterrupted from 1500m to the sea.

Lapability 6/10

It’s not really about the pistes – unless the weather’s socked in. Boat skiers and ski-tour groups arrive in Stranda if backcountry conditions are poor; and it can also be a nice break for a day to take some lifts instead of skinning. In spring the sun is up for a long time so you can pack more into the day.

On-hill grub 7/10

Norwegian food is great (apart from some suspect sweet brown cheese) and in Ålesund things are pretty sophisticated but in Stranda it’s all about simplicity. The three restaurants have great views of the fjord and the mountains beyond, plus there is a cafè at the bottom of the main slope.

Après scene 5/10

Don’t expect a Folie Douce experience. It’s about eating well, having the odd beer and soaking up a tranquil atmosphere.

Base suitability 9/10

Hire a guide and catch a ferry to the other side of Hjørundfjord to skin up some of the peaks, and be back in Stranda in time for tea. If you’re boat-skiing, you could moor alongside the dock in Stranda and take a run up to the ski area – or you might be dropped off elsewhere and skin up and over, down into Stranda. Basing yourself in Stranda is all the more ideal if you buy an Alpepass, which gives you access to a group of ski areas on the west coast of Norway.

Family friendly? 6/10

The Stranda pistes are wide and not particularly challenging, while off-piste there’s much fun to be had. So it can be a good family combination, as beginners can get going while others are off in the deep stuff or busy skinning for the day. Accommodation is typically in self-catering cabins within walking distance of the ski lifts or in more style at the hotel in town.

RANK: Joint 15th