The Best Undiscovered Ski Resorts in Europe: Narvik, Norway

Where it's more about skiing than the scene

Mar 8, 2013
Outside Magazine

The Tøtta mountain massif above Rombaken as seen from Langstranda.    Photo: Ximonic/Wikimedia Commons

Skiing in the land of the midnight sun is like none other: runs that drop into the sea, days filled with 24 hours of sunlight, and, during the long winter months, skies lit up by the shimmering Northern Lights. That’s exactly what you’ll find in Narvik, which sits in the northern fjords of Norway, tucked into the Arctic circle. Make no mistake: Narvik is no quaint ski village. It’s a port town of 18,000 inhabitants and much of the world’s iron ore is shipped from its shores. Open from March through May, Narvikfjellet, Narvik’s ski resort, rises up from town and offers six lifts, a 2,945-foot-vertical drop (the largest in Scandanavia), and slopes that plunge into the ocean. The ski resort is nothing to jet across the world for—nine groomed runs and 6,000 acres of largely intermediate terrain—but the off-piste action is. Marquee lines off the resort include the shots off Morkholla and Tredjetoppen, which require a boot pack from the top of the Liken lift. For a once-in-a-lifetime ski tour, hit the east couloir on Gangesaxlar, a cliff-lined, 3,000-foot couloir that plummets down to the ocean. As a rule of thumb, March boasts the most snow, April is blessed with lots of sun, and May sees lots of daylight hours. Locals recommend visiting in April or May for the best combination of snow and sun. Given that most of the best skiing is off-piste and stretches into the mountains surrounding Narvik, consider hiring a guide, like Magnus Strand at Mountain Guide Travel.

There are no dirt-bag, ski-bum bars in Narvik; instead you’ll have to step it up a bit. Try the Totta bar on the 16th floor of the four-star Rica Hotel, which offers spectacular views of the city and surrounding fjords. Your cheapest bet for accommodation is Spor1 Guesthouse, located in the middle of Narvik, across from the bus station. Or try Breidablikk Gjestehus, which is a bit closer to the ski area. There are daily flights from Olso to Narvik.

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