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My guide to skiing at Myrkdalen and Voss in Norway

The area is easily accessible and great for piste, off-piste and ski touring

Written by Fiona

April 22 2024

I recently visited the ski resorts of Voss and Myrkdalen in Norway with my friend Alice. It was our first time skiing in western Norway. Many times during the five-day skiing trip we exclaimed surprise and delight at a wealth of great discoveries, including:

  • Easy and speedy travel from Scotland to Norway (fly Aberdeen to Bergen).
  • “Reasonable” cost of food and accommodation.
  • Excellent snow.
  • Superb just-off-piste skiing.
  • Beginner and intermediate-friendly access to ski touring.
  • Fabulously mellow mountains and slopes. 
  • The friendliness of local people.
  • Nearby out-of-resort attractions such as a fjord boat cruise and a mountain railway tour.
  • In this guide, I expand on these discoveries, as well as a host of other highlights, for skiing at Mykrdalen and Voss in Norway.
Alice and I were interested to discover what was on offer at Myrkdalen and Voss resort.
Voss ski resort. Credit: Norway Home of Skiing

How to get to Voss and Myrkdalen

This was our first surprise. There are short and direct flights from Aberdeen to Bergen, then a train ride to Voss and Myrkdalen.

The closest city to Myrkdalen and Voss is Bergen in Norway. Alice and I live near Inverness. We decided to take a more sustainable travel route to Aberdeen by train. The Inverness to Dyce, train is around 2 hours, then a taxi for the final few miles to Aberdeen Airport. The return train fare was £33.30 (or £26.60 with my Scotrail Club 50 discount card). The taxi wasn’t cheap at £18 but the train fares and taxi ride added up to a to less than parking at the airport.

We flew from Aberdeen to Bergen with Widerøe. The Norwegian airline has daily flights, starting from £97 one-way. It was our first time flying with Widerøe and we found the flight to be pleasantly short – only 70 minutes – on time and comfortable. 

From Bergen airport, regular trams head to Bergen centre (£3.26) and then a very scenic train journey to Voss of less than 90 minutes (£41 single/£82 return).  See Norway Trains.

There is a free ski bus that travels regularly between Voss (just in front of the railway station) and Myrkdalen.

The ski resorts: Voss and Myrkdalen

We planed our trip to Norway with Ski Weekends.

The two ski resorts are only 35km apart and linked by a bus (or car) journey of around 40 minutes. In the ski season the bus is regular and free.

These are not huge, nor high, resorts by European alpine standards but I would call them “small and perfectly packaged”. They are ideal for family skiing with plenty of pistes majoring on easy to intermediate, with a few flattering black-graded runs.

We enjoyed superb snow.
We tried Nordic skiing, as well as pisted skiing, off-piste and ski touring.

The snow cover was excellent during our trip in March and we often found ourselves saying: “It’s like Scotland but with much more snow.” Because this area of Norway is a little further north and east of the UK, the country has more snow on average.

The landscape reminded me of the Grampian mountains in north-east Scotland, meanwhile the surrounding scenery is superb with high mountains, deep valleys and spectacular fjords.

The ski season normally lasts from November to May. 

The slopes of Voss resorts. Credit: Jon Tannalvatn Ton
Brede chats to Alice in Voss resort.
A restaurant at Voss.
Alice hires skis at Voss resort.
We enjoyed great skiing conditions at Voss.

Voss resort

Voss Resort, which rises to a high point of more than 960m,  offers 40km of groomed pistes across 24 varied descents, including an international giant slalom course and a SuperG course.

Access from Voss town is really easy thanks to a new gondola that whizzes you to the resort centre. Most skiers stay in a wide range of accommodation in the vibrant town, while there is a growing complex of ski cabins on the mountain slopes.

Coming out of the gondola and into the resort at Hangurstoppen (818m elevation) reminded me of being at Cairngorm Mountain in Scotland, only the weather was much kinder when we were visiting. There is a restaurant and ski rental at this base station.

There are eight uplifts in the main resort, including the gondola, a couple of chairlifts and five T-bars. Again, this felt “Scottish” and there were a few times that Alice and I didn’t quite negotiate the start of the T-bar and needed to get off and start again. I was reminded of a similar incident on a tricky T-bar in Scotland when I used to snowboard. At most T-bars in Voss, a ski lift attendant is available to help you on to the Norwegian lifts and we greatly welcomed this.

Some 16 of the pistes are graded easy green or blue. Note that there is also a beginner ski area with two magic carpet and a button drag lift, plus a terrain  park. In addition, the resort has several red-graded pistes and also a black piste. 

Best for beginners – There is a very scenic and easy-going green run Vossatassen that is well worth a ski. From Slettafjellet, the green run Panoramaløypa also offers fabulous views.

Best for intermediates – Also from Slettafjellet, at 917m, a T-bar serves two blue pistes and a red run, whihc Alice and I greatly enjoyed. We also loved the longer ski runs from Horgalatten at 964m. 

Best for advanced – We liked Storslalåmløypa, the world cup route that heads down from Hangurstoppen for more challenging skiing and the long Utforløype run from Horgaletten to the Bavallen area was an excellent leg burner. 

Off-piste skiing is easy to find right next to the pisted slopes.
A gondola whizzes you from the Voss town to the resort. Credit: Hunnalvatin Media
Off-piste gems. Credit: Hunnalvatin Media

The off-piste skiing possibilities, close to the pistes yet in frequently delightful fresh snow, were superb. Thanks to our resort guide Brede, who is a local, Alice and I were treated to many runs of powdery off-piste skiing. We felt lucky to get a fresh dump of snow while we were at the resort but, apparently, this is not unusual.   

Apparently, Voss Resort gets an average annual snowfall of 500cm of snow and, on average, has 45 annual snowfall days. The current 10-year snowfall record is 60cm, the average snow depth at Voss Resort is 142cm.

I cleverly kept an eye on various websites for the snow forecast for the Voss area and was able to travel at short notice to take advantage of fresh snow and some sunshine. 

In addition, the ski resort is served by a modern restaurant and several cafes, as well as covered areas for eating packed lunches. 

Myrkdalen for families. Credit: Sverre F Hjørnevik
Myrkdalen in March offered good snow and sunshine.

Myrkdalen resort

Unlike Voss resort, which is located above a town and a vast range of accommodation, Myrkdalen is more of a traditional on-mountain resort. There is a large four-star hotel with ski-out and ski-in right from the doorstep. The rental shop is a short walk from the hotel and there are other shops and places to eat at the resort base. 

The resort base is around 450m and rises to 1060m. There is some 30km of pisted runs, including a range of 22 graded runs, including are seven green and blue runs, two reds and two black pistes. 

These are served by nine ski lifts, including two express chairlifts and several T-bars.

We also heard about plans to extend the on-piste ski area at Myrkdalen with new lifts.

Myrkdalen is the place to come for confidence-building slopes. There is plenty for first-timers to explore, plus intermediates will enjoy the wid and quiet slopes.

Best for beginners – The Transporten green run offers 400m of easy-going skiing through trees and next to the beginner area.

Best for intermediates – The Strandaløypo area has a  long, flowing red run and it’s a great place to pick up some speed. At higher altitude, two red pistes, Finnbuløypo and Kari Traa-løypo, became our favourite place to ski.

Best for advanced – Leinevegan is an 1800m long run with some steep terrain and the option to head off-piste.

Alice and I also enjoyed skiing Ondrahaugen that descends 350m over a distance of 1200m.

Alice and I gave Nordic skiing a try. It was trickier than we imagined but fun.

In addition, Myrkdalen has a freestyle skiing area and a ski jump hill, plus 5km of groomed Nordic skiing trails, which has floodlighting in the evenings. For back-country skiers, it’s possible to book avalanche training in the resort.

The Nordic skiing – on skinny skis with heels unattached – takes practice and while Alice and I were able to quickly get used to skiing on the flat, the downhills proved a lot trickier. We could only watch with respect as much more adept Norwegians passed us, with some skiers seemingly able to run on skis.

Nordic skiing appeared to be a popular evening activity, rather like people in other countries going for a walk or a run for exercise.  

Alice skins up ahead of another couple of skiers to Finnbunuten.

Superb ski touring

A highlight of the trip to Norway was the discovery of a vast array of easily accessible ski touring in mountains that provide miles and miles of mellow ups and downs. 

Both Alice and I have enjoyed ski touring adventures in Scotland and further afield – I spent a couple of weeks ski touring in northern Norway – but travelling to a new destination for ski touring opportunities can be daunting. 

From both Voss and Myrkdalen resorts, the ski touring possibilities seems limitless and very favourable for people who are just getting started with ski touring, or who are familiar with the activity but do not want to be faced with challengingly steep slopes and various unknowns.

Of course, if you are less experienced it is still a good idea to pay for a guide – there are plenty of guides to book if you plan ahead – but if you have a reasonable level of fitness, a good amount  of prior experience and the ability to read a map, navigate and understand avalanche risk, then this area of Norway is truly superb.

The ski touring can be easily started right from the resort. 

A short ski tour above Myrkdalen took us to Finnbunuten summit.

Short ski tour to Finnbunuten 

One afternoon, Alice and I decided to skin uphill from the top of Myrkdalen ski resort. We simply rode the T-bar to the highest point at 1060m and then added skins to the base of our skis and unclipped the heel of our boots in the ski bindings. We also carried emergency ski kit including snow shovel, probe and a transceiver each. 

Our aim was Finnbunuten at 1358m (just above the height of the UK’s tallest mountain of Ben Nevis) and, having checked the map, we calculated this to be about 1.5km. We also knew the hight gain would be only 300m.

Other skiers were doing the same route and it felt companionable although certainly not crowded. At no point did we feel the skiing areas – in and out of the resort – were busy.

The incline was mostly gentle and we skied uphill at our own pace, stopping every so often to regroup. The sun was shining, the air felt dazzlingly clean and the views, especially from higher up, were spectacular. 

Snowy peak, after snowy peak spread out as far as  we could see and, again, we commented on how Scottish the landscape looked, although covered in much thicker snow than we tend to experience.

The route took us around an hour and at the summit, marked by a large cairn, we met a few other skiers. 

We removed the skins from the skis, returned the bindings and boots to ski mode, clipped in both toe and heels and then slipped off the top of the mountain to return to the resort.

The snow was deliciously light and creamy and the gradient was pleasingly easy. We took as long as we could over the descent because it was so much fun but, in reality, we skied down the same slope as we had just ascended in minutes.  Our first taster of ski touring in this area of Norway left us buzzing.

Ski touring near Myrkdalen resort with Derek.
Alice and I really enjoyed the snow and sunshine on a day of “top touring”

Day ski tour from Myrkdalen

We were grateful for the company of local skier Derek, who was very happy to show Alice and I a ski touring route of some 15km in the mountains. He also told us tat ski touring is called top touring – toppturer – in Norway. I rather like this.

We used the lifts in Myrkdalen to reach Storhaugen at 950m elevation before heading out of the limits of the resort and on to fresh off-piste snow.

Again, we had all the safety kit with us and we tested the transceivers as we set off. The first section was downhill on snow that was early-morning heavy and unpredictable. Alice and I fell a few times and we both felt a bit “novice”  but Derek kindly assured us the snow wasn’t easy to ski and it would improve as we climbed higher. It most certainly did – ands the snow during the rest of the tour was brilliant. 

But first, there was an uphill. Rather like hiking or ski touring in Scotland, there are numerous routes to choose from so we were grateful for the lead of Derek, who is very familiar with the mountains.

The snow was solid with a fresh layer on top and Alice and I were happy to follow in Derek’s wake so that we had the advantage of his indented tracks. 

The gradients were never daunting and mostly gradual but we still skied uphill for hours and the effort was muscle zapping. Alice’s skis collected big balls of snow underneath, which was hugely frustrating, and she concluded it was time to buy new the skins.  

We made sure to take our time, resting and enjoying ever widening vistas as we climbed. Derek had warned us that he sets a fast pace but he urged us to call for him to slow down if needed. 

However, we were each happy to ski uphill at our own pace, always within sight of each other. The sun was shining, the wind was almost non-existent and I am not sure any of us would have rather been in another place at that moment.

Our aim was a peak at over 1100m. This wasn’t as high as the previous day’s ski tour but it didn’t matter at all. The ski tour was all about an enjoyable journey in pristine snowy mountains and with great companions.

As we approached our chosen summit, we could see a pair of other ski tourers arriving from further north. These were the only other people we encountered during many hours of skiing out of the resort boundaries.

While we could easily see Myrkdalen resort below us – probably only two to three kilometres away, our mountain slopes were deserted. This is apparently the habitat of reindeer although we didn’t see any during our tour. Across the mountains, we spotted Finnbunuten summit from the day before.

After some food and a swap from uphill skiing kit, to downhill skiing mode, the three of us made our way south skiing on fresh, silky snow. It was joyful skiing on fairly gentle gradients and being able to see where we were heading next.

I have done plenty of ski touring before but the part I don’t enjoy is skiing downhill into “who knows what?” because the slopes descend in steps and stages of different gradients.

The Norwegian skiing was gratifyingly easy-going. Skiers do need to be good on-piste skiers and with some off-piste skiing experience, but this is the ideal place to hone skills even with limited ability.

After a few hundred metres of whizzing downhill, with wide grins and whooping happily, we stopped, regrouped and made our next plan.

We decided to skin back uphill, this time heading towards the edge of the resort again. To do this we needed to ascend over another high point and, at times, this gradient was a little steeper so we zig-zagged uphill to lessen the degree of the slope.

We rested and refuelled again at another high point and with fabulous views stretching out ahead of us, before making our way downhill. More great skiing on truly lovely snow took us back to the edge of Myrkdalen resort.

We enjoyed a few more runs, making use of the lifts, before the final descent back to the base and our hotel. In total, we ascended 700m by own steam, although this was enhanced by ski lifts. We descended some 1885m of slopes throughout the day both in and out of the resort.  

If you have been keen to try ski touring, or you want to build you fitness or improve your touring skills, the mountains around Myrkdalen are just about as perfect as I can imagine.

Alice and I had a day off the skis for a fjord cruise.

Anything else to know?

Norway in a Nutshell

Alice and I enjoyed a day off our skis courtesy of the Norway’s Best for what is known as a “Norway in a Nutshell” day trip. We caught the 950 bus from Voss to Gudvangen for a two-hour fjord cruise to reach Flåm.

The peaceful electric boat cruise took us through UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord. It was sublimely beautiful sailing along the calm waters of the fjord and between steep-sided mountains on both sides. We spotted high waterfalls and very remote farms, as well as villages that seem to cling to cliffs.

Tip 1: Pop into Flåm Bakeri for lunch.

Tip 2: Flåm museum is also worth a trip. Entry is free.

Flam railway.

The next part of the day was a journey on Flåm Railway, which is 20km long and climbs to Myrdal, high the mountains at 867m. It was like stepping back in time as we boarded the vintage train compartment and took our seats at a window. 

The National Geographic Traveler Magazine named the Flåm Railway one of the top 10 train journeys in Europe, while in2014 Lonely Planet called it the best train journey in the world.

By the time our train set off, the clouds had descended and it had started to snow, but we still enjoyed some impressive views.

The railway was built between 1923 and 1940 and is said to be one of Norway’s greatest engineering feats. The railway line is one of the steepest standard gauge lines in the world, with 80% of the journey running on a gradient of 5.5%. There are no less than 20 tunnels, 18 of which were built by hand. One of the tunnels even takes a 180 degree turn inside the mountain.

At times, the rail ahead seemed impossibly steep but we still continued to climb.

There are a few stops on the route, including a five-minute photo stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall. It was frozen solid when we were there and snowing quite heavily. 

Another stop at Vatnahalsen  is the location of a hotel that is recommended as a base for further top touring options.

A wine cellar hidden in a hotel in Voss was a unusual discovery.

Voss: Home of one of the world’s best wine cellars

Take a guided tasting tour in a somewhat surprising attraction hidden in a rather faded looking hotel in Voss. The Park Hotel is scheduled for a major revamp (book in just now if you want budget prices for rooms and breakfast) but it’s definitely worth a visit to step into one of the world’s largest wine cellars, boasting more than 47,000 bottles in stock.

The wine cellar started in 1979 as a secret collection by former owner and wine enthusiast Jan Bruse Andersen. His dream was to create one of the world’s most complete wine collections.

Now owned by Park Hotel Vossevangen, in recent years the cellar has been managed by Francesco Marzola, who won Norway’s best sommelier in 2020 and Scandinavia’s best sommelier”in 2018. Today, twins Reidar and Robert Johansen oversee the vast award-winning wine collection.

In the Star Wine List awards 2023, Park Hotel Vossevangen won four gold stars:  The Best List Overall, the Best Long List, the Best by the Glass List and Best California Wine List 

Robert’s tour of the extraordinary Voss attraction was fantastic. He is very knowledgeable and delivered lots of facts and figures in a very engaging format.

Afterwards, we enjoyed an evening meal at the Park Hotel’s Restaurant Eleyse, where many innovatively created and cooked courses were each matched with a different wines. 

Myrkdalen Hotel.
Fleischer’s Hotel, Voss.

Where to stay in Myrkdalen and Voss

Myrkdalen Hotel (4 star) is in a great ski out, ski in location. In addition to standard rooms, the hotel has many different rooms to choose from, including adjoining family rooms and more luxurious suites. Guests with children can make use of two playrooms, plus there are two bars and three restaurants. The website reports: “The food tastes like the landscape outside, wild and pure – with a few surprises.” Certainly, Alice and I enjoyed an excellent meal on the night we arrived. 

The help-yourself breakfasts are vast and varied and a really good way to start the day ready for energetic skiing.

Fleischer’s Hotel (4 star) is in Voss town. It is a beautiful and historic hotel with many modern attributes that has been owned, managed and run by generations of the same family. 

It was built in 1889 in the popular Swiss style and has been added to over the decades. There are now 110 rooms, plus a motel, located within walking distance of the main building, with 30 apartments. There is a lovely lake view from one side. 

Fleischer’s Hotel has two restaurants, a terrace that is open in the summer season and a bar. In addition, there is a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, solarium and small gym area.

It’s a short walk to the gondola from the hotel, which then whizzes you to the main resort base.

Book through SkiWeekends

Myrkdalen Hotel:

  • Prices from £394 per person – 4 nights half board
  • Prices from £650 per person – 7 nights half board
  • 4-day adult pass prices from £129
    6-day adult pass prices from £199
  • 4-day skis and boots / snowboard boots prices from £73
    6-day skis and boots / snowboard boots prices from £104

Fleischers Hotel:

  • Prices from £403 per person – 4 nights Bed & Breakfast
  • Prices from £662 per person – 7 nights Bed & Breakfast
  • 4-day adult pass prices from £142
    6-day adult pass prices from £189
  • 4-day skis and boots / snowboard boots prices from £125
    6-day skis and boots / snowboard boots prices from £162
Food and drink in Norway was not as expensive as we had thought it would be.

…But isn’t Norway expensive?

One of the questions I have been asked many times during and since the trip to Norway is about the cost. Norway has long had a reputation for being expensive, especially for tourists. 

However, Alice and I were pleasantly surprised by the price of food, coffees, snacks and accommodation. 

As an example, on the first day, Alice offered to buy us a mid-morning coffee each at Myrkdalen Resort. She headed off to order, somewhat anxious about the cost because a) it was Norway and b) It was a ski resort. She returned smiling and scratching her head.

After checking the rate of exchange she decided the coffee was reasonably priced at £2.95. It was the same when we went for an evening meal in a Voss restaurant that served burger style food. We paid £47 for two large main courses and two drinks, including a large glass of wine. 

Our accommodation was paid for as part of the trip but we did take a look at various websites to see the price and it seemed cheaper than many options in the UK and certainly cheaper than skiing in the Alps.

After chatting to locals and doing a bit of a Google explore, it turns out that over the past 10 years the Norwegian Krone has significantly weakened in relation to most currencies. The persistent weakening of the NOK, recently hitting record low exchange rates against the US dollar and the Euro. This also means the rate is favourable for the British pound, too. 

In the interests of transparency, Alice and I enjoyed a hosted trip courtesy of Wideroe, SkiWeekends, Norway’s Best, Voss Resort, Myrkdalen.

Also see Visit Norway.

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