Our top tip for trips in Møre og Romsdal: use a guide

‘You can depend on the northwest,’ says Bjørn Kruse, certified mountain guide at Romsdal Lodge. For any skiers wanting to broaden their horizons this winter, we have spoken with three pioneers of guiding in Nordmøre, Sunnmøre and Romsdalen valley.

"Det er et høyalpint landskap med en vanvittig backdrop, og det kjennetegner hele regionen fra Sunnmøre opp til Sunndalsøra." - Bjørn Kruse|© Haakon Lundkvist
Bjørn Kruse|© Haavard Dalen

“You can depend on the northwest.”

Bjørn Kruse, mountain guide, member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, and founder of Romsdal Lodge

TheNorthwest is a nickname for the low-pressure weather fronts that carry huge amounts of moisture from the Atlantic to the mountains in Møre og Romsdal and dump shocking amounts of snow in winter. The snow lies between the mountain peaks and fjords, giving panoramic views and downhill descents that you can only dream of. Well, unless you travel there to see for yourself.

Hundreds of mountain peaks and valleys in all directions are what make Møre og Romsdal Norway's number one mountain-skiing area, and it’s just a short distance from the coastal towns of ÅlesundMolde and Kristiansund. This fjord and mountains offer an endless number of very diverse skiing opportunities.

For most people, the surest way to the best snow is with a guide. The northwest also means plenty of weather, which affects different parts of this compact mountain region in different ways. There might be deep fresh snow in one valley when at the same time it's completely blown away in another. When the depth of the snow goes from zero to two meters in just two or three days, on mountains that rise up to 2000 meters above sea level, the excitement for snow needs to be tempered with a great deal of humility and respect.

Anne Stine Mathiesen, Contrast Adventure|© Contrast Adventure

“A mountain guide lets you get the most out of your trip.”

Anne Stine Mathisen, founder of Contrast Adventure

- It's very useful having access to a guide’s core expertise, both while on the trip and during the planning stage. Most of our guests have busy lives and jobs and it takes time to plan a decent trip in a new area all on your own,’ says Anne Stine Mathisen, manager of Contrast Adventure in Sunndal.

A guide is just as eager to get home safely as you are, and has the undeniable advantage of possessing all the necessary expertise. By spending time with a local guide, you’ll acquire new knowledge about travelling in the mountains during winter, and gain good insight into the mountain culture in Møre og Romsdal.

Right place at the right time|© Guide Romsdal AS

In the right place at the right time

Guided mountain tours are just as suitable for those with 10 days or 10,000 days of experience. No matter your starting point, your guide will arrange a tour according to your wishes and budget. For group tours, it’s best if everyone has about the same level of fitness and roughly the same skill level. If that’s not the case, it’s important to clarify this in advance.

Oscar Almgren|© Uteguiden

“Sometimes people think you need to be an expert to join a tour, but this absolutely isn’t the case.”

Oscar Almgren, founder of Uteguiden.

- The level of participants’ skiing skills varies considerably. That's why it’s good to have a guide, someone who ensures that guests get the best skiing that is adapted to their skill level,’ says Oscar Almgren, founder of Uteguiden at Stranda.

It's very comforting and practical to be on a trip with someone who knows when you need to get up, how long it takes to drive, where to park, which roads are safe and offer the best views, and where to find the best descents in the best snow.

Følge på vei opp

In search of the best snow

As soon as you decide to travel, the guide will start a tour consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to get to know you and anyone accompanying you in advance. You are involved in the preparations and choices throughout the process, mapping out the most suitable tours for you during your stay.

Mountains everywhere|© Guide Romsdal AS

“Sometimes the difference between a bad and a wonderful skiing experience might be just fifteen metres to the left or right.”

Bjørn Kruse, mountain guide, member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, and founder of Romsdal Lodge

Throughout the season, the guides continuously stay updated about the wind, temperature, precipitation and terrain, and are also out on trips almost daily, winter after winter. Guides in the same area regularly keep each other updated. They assess the avalanche risk in order to know the best places to travel at all times, with the least possible risk.

Anne Stine on her way up Litjskjorta with tour group|© Arild Bjerkan

“I’ve always had a soft spot for this area.”

Anne Stine Mathisen, founder of Contrast Adventure

- When we started in 2009, it felt like it was an unknown gem, which made it very attractive to guide here. It's a complex area, but an area that offers many possibilities,’ says Anne Stine Mathisen.

You perhaps know of a classic route or mountain peak you'd like to explore. The well-known routes may seem like a safer choice but the snow is more likely to be cut up and there might be better and safer snow conditions right around the corner. A guide can easily judge when it’s worthwhile skiing the classics and when it's best to ski the area’s hidden treasures, which have a lot less traffic.

A guide has one simple goal: to create the very best tour experience for you.

Sunndalsfjella cruising|© Contrast Adventure - Sunndal ski session

Up days and down days

If you’re mountain skiing in Møre og Romsdal, why not stay for a few days? There are a number of multi-day guided tours on offer, making it easy to get started.

It's not uncommon to add a day or more to the tour for other activities. Your guide adapts the tour according to weather and snow conditions, but also wants the time between skiing to be full of adventures: sampling local food and drinks, social gatherings, farm visits, yoga, climbing, fishing trips by boat, urban tours by the coast and much more. Well-being and rest are important parts of your stay.

Oscar Almgren, in the background you can see Roaldshorn which is one of the peaks at Strandafjellet ski centre.

“A guide knows what's happening and when.”

Oscar Almgren, founder of Uteguiden.

- If you plan it yourself, you might read about something online but can't be sure when it's open or when people will be there. We know the local people, who may suddenly decide to stay open for our guests,’ says Oscar Almgren.

På vei ned er det godt med plass|© Uteguiden/ Håvard Myklebust

Tours are rarely cancelled due to bad weather. You can be sure of snow in the area, whether it's fresh snow in the winter or more granular snow throughout Easter and the summer. The guides understand the microclimate in the different valleys and know where to find the best experiences. When there’s too much wind at high altitude or it’s coming from the wrong direction, there may well be perfect conditions in the next valley or nearby forests. The nearby ski resorts are also worth exploring and courses and talks are always time well spent.

You can be sure that the guide is there for you 100% of the way.

På vei opp!|© Uteguiden/ Håvard Myklebust

Nordmøre – from 1,000 meters and up

Nordmøre’s mountain areas offer particularly long descents. In the Sunndalsfjella mountain range, there are twenty-three mountains that are over 1,800 meters above sea level. Most of the Sunndalsfjella mountain range is part of the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park. Since 2010, the guiding community has organised the skiing festival Sunndal Ski Session at Sunndalsøra.

In the inner parts of Nordmøre are mountains such as Flånebba and Smisetnebba, that face out towards the Atlantic Ocean. Dronninga (the Queen) and Kongen (the King) are well-known mountains in the area. The philosopher Arne Næss referred to Innerdalen as Norway's finest valley. Another popular mountain skiing area is Øksendalen valley, home to Phillipshaugen Lodge, where the English upper class travelled from the mid-1800s to go salmon fishing. This marked the beginning of mountain tourism in the area.

The largest town is Kristiansund, which has a long history, its own opera and an airport. You can follow in the footsteps of James Bond and Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible by travelling the Atlantic Road – one of the world's most spectacular stretches of road. For a true ocean adventure, visit islands such as Smøla and Grip, where you can visit fishing villages in all their charm.

Romsdal valley - contrasts, dramatic mountains and a train station

Romsdalen is an extremely varied mountain area and is well known for its large, steep and dramatic mountainsides. It’s possible to make your mountain skiing debut on these mountains’ lovely, open and long descents. If you're looking for extreme experiences such as ski mountaineering, this is an excellent area for that too.

Once in Romsdalen, check out Trollveggen, which at 1,700 metres is Europe's highest vertical cliff. A classic in the area is Kyrkjetaket mountain, which has a range of different routes and descents. In the spring, the Trollstigen roadopens, one of Norway's most beautiful mountain passes, where you can drive 700 meters above sea level and then continue up and into the mountains on foot.

Molde is the largest town in the area and has many great places to eat out, as well Tusten ski centre right outside the airport. In the valleys further inland is Åndalsnes, situated right in the middle of the steepest mountains in Romsdalen valley. Stop by some local meeting places such as the Rauma kulturhus cultural centre, the Norsk Tindesenter mountaineering centre, andSødahlhuset cafe. Åndalsnes has a train connection to Oslo and Trondheim via Dombås, and the Rauma Railway has several times been voted Europe's most beautiful train journey.

Sunnmøre - a powder-snow paradise with fjord views

It’s not hard to see why the famous Sunnmøre mountains are widely known as theSunnmøre Alps. The mountains are distinctly alpine and, with their pointed peaks, rise straight up from the sea or fjord. Out by the ocean, at a somewhat lower altitude, are dramatic rock formations. In towards Valldal valley and the surrounding area, the landscape is more undulating, but with higher elevations.

There are wonderful places to go mountain skiing in Ørsta and Volda, as well as the Ørsta ski centre and Volda ski centre. The annual extreme sports festival X2 takes place around here, the big attraction being the freeriding competition. You can fly into Ørsta-Volda Airport.

Sunnmøre Utsikt

Møre og Romsdal's largest and most famous ski centre is Stranda Ski resort. It is situated in the middle of the Sunnmøre Alps and when the weather and snow conditions are good it really is world-class. If you want to meet a few fellow skiers, visit the Hygge cafe in the centre of Stranda.

Sykkylven, where the famous Stressless chair originates, can be found between Ålesund and Stranda. Visit Stranda ski resort’s little-known neighbour – Fjellsetra ski centre – if you fancy some serious slaloming through great snow and terrain.

The largest town in Sunnmøre is Ålesund, named Norway's most beautiful town with its concentration of Art Nouveau architecture. It takes about an hour to drive from the airport at Vigra to the Sunnmøre Alps. You might also want to Ski & Sail to the Hjørundfjord, one of Norway's most popular skiing destinations and surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps. Or how about the Hjørundfjord Haute route, a seven-day ski adventure with a sea breeze, fjord views and pristine snow?

Before you travel

  • Thank about the area you want to visit rather than which summit to ski
  • Listen to advice and tips from the guide
  • Make sure equipment is worn-in, especially footwear
  • Be in good physical shape
  • Do a few training trips
  • Know your own abilities
  • Be prepared for plans to change
  • Plan for a tour that both you and your companions can manage
  • Know your avalanche equipment
  • Download the Varsom app

    It’s possible to rent equipment that you don’t have. Ask your guide what's available in the area you’re travelling to.

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