Norway – Northern Powerhouse

How Voss, with a side helping of Myrkdalen, may just be the perfect weekender

a skier makes powdery tracks below camera in an off-piste area of Norway's Myrkdalen surrounded by small trees and a golden low (dusk or sunrise) light

“During a Trans Norway Trip (see issue 187 for the full story), I may just have stumbled upon the ultimate ski weekend,” says Jonny Richards. Here’s how and why!

Bergen land of perfect airport/flights:

Normally, cheapies mean pain on the timings. Stupidly early, or God awful late. But fly Norwegian to Bergen from Manchester (or London Gatwick), and it lines up beautifully. I’m close to the former, for Friday hopping on the 19.30 (ideal as you don’t need the day off, one-way from a shade under £50) which lands at 22.10. Customs and baggage reclaim took just 20 minutes for me, so you should be through by about 22.30 (which don’t forget is only half nine for us, given the time-difference in winter) then it’s onto the tram…

City or resort:

No transfer bus! No pricey private hire! Instead, just decide whether it’s to be a night in Bergen, or straight to resort (mountain always wins for me, especially on these short trips where you want first bell to last lift days). Either way it’s a doddle. Buy your ticket right outside the terminal (big, obvious machines) then down a single level to the tram. Think loads of signs, lots of helpful electronic displays, and as the airport (Lufthavn) is the end of the line, everything’s lined up waiting for departure time, which makes loading with a ski bag a lot less stressful. For me, the wait options were something like two minutes, seven minutes, 12 minutes – but you get the message. Easy, and efficient. Just like the airport. Oh yes, price is nice too at 40 NOK (under £4) for the 40-minute trip. 

To the stasjon:

See, Norwegian lingo’s a doddle! Like this trip! Anyway, if like me you want to get a razz on in terms of getting to resort, there’s a late Bergen to Voss train, as we’re on the main West to East line for Oslo. With the 00.38 lining up nicely, and perfect even if the plane or luggage is a bit delayed. It’s not a large station (don’t forget Norway’s population is less than a tenth of ours) with only one central everything-happens-here area, with the helpful, nice and warm ticket office to the side. Like the tram, the displays are big, helpful, and again it’s the end/start of the line, so loading is relaxed once more. To give you an idea, my train was parked up, showing on the boards, ready for boarding twenty minutes before departure. As to the time, if rolling your eyes at the lateness (01.55 arrival at Voss) don’t forget that’s an hour earlier for us… and you’ll have had a nice kip on the plane after that airport lager. Reasonable fare too at £23 one-way. 

Take me to your leader… or maybe just the ski hill:

Well, a bit dark for that, so maybe just the hotel Scandic Voss for now (views of both the gondola and fjord in daylight), which is modern, very decent and crucially just 50m from the station. As to price, the Scandi adventure not-nearly-as-much-as-you-may-have-feared theme continues with their weekday or weekends ski package from 184 for two people per night. Oh yes, and that’s for a nice twin or double, with excellent breakfast and ski pass each included… Rather brilliant – book here.

To the resort:

Well, resorts actually. And you get Voss (straight outside, just hop on the swish Pinafarina gondola) or Myrkdalen (25 minutes away, via free ski bus that leaves at 08.30 or 10.00; and returns at 16.00). Both have plenty going for them, and usefully, often different weather/conditions. So for example, Voss had been powdery before I got there earlier in the week, but a change in temperature made it crusty, so I fairly quickly headed straight down and over to Myrkdalen, where there was less crunch and more powder.

a zoomed out view of Voss ski resort in norway with blue coloured mountain strip sandwiched between white sky and snow. a cable from a ski lift is in sight with skiers dotted around, as well as on a drag lift.
Voss ski resort

About Voss resort:

They say: The largest ski resort in western Norway, with 11 lifts, 24 slopes and 40km of groomed pistes. 

We say: A lovely up-and-downer – you’ll understand more when here – but in short the gondola shoots up from the town/fjord/everything, with all the slopes being fed from the main base above. Topping out just below 1000m, like so much of Norway it’s not high, but that means it’s usually good to go whatever the weather. And given the stats, there are some surprisingly tasty fall-lines, including the World Cup course. Trees, cuts and sneaks pepper the sidecountry, with my notebook simply reading: big potential! A lot of new, expensive infrastructure (Leitner six-man high speed chair, new in 2019 gondola), mixed with the usual Norway recipe of higher up T-Bars.  

About Myrkdalen resort:

They say: The most complete resort in Western Norway, with family friendly ski areas… and great off-piste.

We say: Norway’s powder resort, with an annual snowfall average over 5m, God knows why more Brits don’t ski here. Like Voss, it’s not a large hill, but skis a good deal bigger than its 22 ski trails and nine lifts. Lots of the joy starts below the 1358m Finnbunuten – think wide open pow into lower down trees. Like its not-far-as-the-crow-flies sibling, there’s excellent accommodation at base, high-speed sixers etc, mixed with a sensible lift pass price (under £50 per day). Food and beer can be pricey, like all of Norway, but that’s easy to live with as so much else is good value. Plus, it’s usually so quiet compared to the Alps.  

And… home:

Early (but not ridiculous) train from Voss for the scenic journey (mmm, glacial features) back to Bergen, and the 10.10 to Manchester.

For more information on the resorts featured here, and to book, visit Norway Home of Skiing.