Beitostolen Aug 14 2019
Norway is a place we’ve always wanted to travel too. We’ve met many Norwegians and they are great people! But when is a good time! Well August… but its also a good time to ride the Sea to Sky country. This year we decided to bite the bullit and just go and check out this Northern Country.
A few years ago a Dane, Kasper, came to Canada to learn how to build trails and became a Level 2 PMBI Instructor. He took this knowledge back with him and started to work in a small Norwegian ski town called Beitostølen. It is in an area called – Øystre Slidre in Oppland and is 223km North West of Oslo. It is a touristy area with a small ski hill, which is one of the best places to develop mountain biking! With the lift access and other hiking trails in the area it was a no brainer for Kasper to settle here and bring Mountain bikers to this place. Kasper has built two lift accessed trails on the ski area, has put on Enduro races and offers people guided rides on trails in this area through his company – Bike Beitostølen.
Since Beitostølen is at the foothills of the Jotunheimen National Park, it offers another area where Bike Beitostølen has many rides to showcase. Since the town is at 900m, and is surrounded by mountains, valleys and small farm communities it is littered with hiking trails. Norway’s Allemannsretten or Right to Roam allows access to private property so long as you are not within 150m of habitation, nor impacting cultivated land and are RESPECTFUL you can go anywhere. Since Mountain biking is in its infancy here, the trails are natural and fresh.
Our first day in Beitostølen it was pissing rain so we hiked the trails that Kasper Built!
The ski area has a network of natural rocky janky trails, but in order to attract more recreationalists new products were needed. Kasper was contracted to build a green and a blue flow trail. These trails will persists as a benefit to all hikers and runners as well I’m sure.
Due to the boggy low lying areas and rocky hills trailbuilding here is extraordinarily hard, labour and machine-intensive. There is almost no material in situ so all material must be imported from external sources and placed. There are almost no green beginner trails in the area. These are among the first purpose built trails. The tundra is scraped and shaped to become rolling contours, then geo-grid textile is laid down, then coarse rock is laid down on the geo-grid with finer rock forming bed surface. Once the trail is set hopefully it will be forever.
On our second day we rode on Alpine Singletrack west of the town at 1370m in an area called Sletterfjell. This ride had amazing views and finished with a descent through the forest on trails that Kasper cleared.
Our third day we did two rides. The first was a push up to Hugakøllen, a popular hiking trail, followed by a descent on granite slabs then publicly maintained and marked pine-needled singletrack of acceptable quality.
The second part of the day was a pleasant ramble on the lift-assisted Beistølen ski area trails then ridge-wandering up and over slabs and down singletrack above tree-line. Again quality was acceptable although once again we wondered at the lack of wall rides and gratuitous skinnies.
On the fourth day we rode more of Kasper’s Secret Goods inspired by the Sea to Sky Loam Hunters.
Our ride at Kvithøvd started out cloudy and foggy. Kasper said “Norwegians dream of finding trails like this”. We responded “Mountainbikers dream of finding trails like this” as we rode on mossy forest undergrowth and roosted triple overhead blower brown pow.
By afternoon the skies broke and the sun made an appearance as forecasted. Showing the diversity of the terrain within a short distance of Bike Beitostølen’s home turf within 25 minutes drive we were at the borders of the Jotunheimen National Park to take a spin on the alpine ridgelines of Skindrofjellet. More views ensued.
We arrive with the help of our Oslo friend, Helge who took care of our bike bags for us! I stocked up on Jameson at the airport in Dublin. The Raddison Blu prepared dinner for us which also was our breakfast since we slept in past the Hotel breakfast.
Tourism Valdres treated us well putting us up at the wonderfully comfortable Radisson Blu Mountain Resort, Beitostølen. Thanks Kasper ‘Malkovich’ Madsen, Valdres and special guest Bent!
This green trail is approx 3.4km long and was funded by the municipality of Øystre Slidre to the amount of 2.2Mn Kr (327k CAD or $ 10.37 per m).
There are almost no green beginner trails in the area. These are among the first purpose built trails. First the tundra must be scraped and shaped to become rolling contours. Then geo-grid textile is laid down. Then coarse rock is laid down on the geo-grid with finer rock forming bed surface.
There are also natural hiking and game trails interspersed with the man-made trails. The natural trails are rooty, technical and janky but also fun. Here one intersects the green trail
At the intersection of the in-progress section of the blue trail and the bare-surface section you can see (i) large pipe to direct water from the subalpine tundra off-trail (ii) a roll of geo-grid being prepared to lay on (iii) the rough trail surface just recently scraped off tundra and shaped into a contour.
Also behind downslope is snow that is stockpiled through summer for the next season. Beitostølen prides itself on being one of the first (if not the first) of the ski areas to open in the season
$11.00 can of IPA!
Breakfast each morning was a great selection including cheese, eggs, meat, amazing bread coffee, and other Norwegian goodies. We were also able to prepare lunch with the breakfast offerings.
Todays Ride was on Slettefjell, an easy drive from Beitostolen. Details below.
Kasper has his shuttle truck
Some pushing on the Sletterfjell plateau
Descent from Sletterfjell plateau
Back in the trees and true singletrack in the Vang Valley
Dinner at the Radison Blu. Very good selection of food!
Day 2 of Riding.
First ride of the day on Van Hugakollen
8km, 2hrs, 316m climb, 650m descent
Second ride – Oystre Slidre as below. Lift assist on the ski area near the hotel.
Hike up what we ride down.
Views don’t suck.
Back in the single track forest!
Second ride up to the Slabs of Beitostølen.
Old natural hiking trails in the ski area.
Back to Radison Blu for dinner!
First ride of our third day were on some trails that Kasper discovered, if you want to see them you’ll get to get him to guide you!
Kvithold 10km, 2:10hrs, 400m climbing, 610m descending
Second ride was in a Jotunheimen National park as below.
Watchtower that used to be burned to warn of Danes invading from the south. Guess it didn’t work.
Jotunheimen National Park. You can do a longer ride, this was just a taste.
More dinner at the Raddison Blu!
Look Mum! I won’t starve with all this food at the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort, Beitostølen. The staff are very international. The cooks are from Poland, Norway and Spain.
Some of the ammenities in the Raddison Blu hotel.
Thanks Tourism Valdres!