Cross-country skiing in Norway

Norway is the home of cross country skiing, and it plays an important part in Norwegian culture and history.  It developed as a practical means of 'getting around' and for social contact and has developed into an Olympic sport and is a popular way to keep fit. 

Cross country skiing today is a thriving and growing sport, and Norway is fortunate to have the best facilities in the world. Even better cross country skiing in Norway is free of charge, so no expensive lift passes to add to your budget.  

No matter whether you are a complete novice, or an expert, you can enjoy mile upon mile of clean, crisp open tracks with stunning scenery and guaranteed snow conditions.  Take the time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the downhill resorts, and spend some time admiring the fantastic scenery on offer!

Many Norgesbooking cabins have direct access to the cross country trail network.  If you want to find out more about your local conditions during your stay, you can check the website  Here you can find out everything you need to know about nearby routes and see exactly when the trails have been prepared via their GPS tracked map.

Interesting facts

  • The first cross country ski race is recorded as taking place in 1842
  • Holmenkollen has been hosting an annual cross country ski festival since 1892
  • Norway tops the Olympic medal table when it comes to cross country skiing, followed by Finland

Popular resorts for cross country skiing in Norway

Sjusjøen / Lillehammer

Sjusjøen is an attractive destination for cross country skiers and is ideal for both hardened professionals and for those who are looking for something a little more recreational during their visit. It is adjacent to the Nordseter, Øyer, Hafjell and Lillehammer trail networks, so all in all, you can access over 2,500km of tracks. It is also home to a number of competition courses making it the ideal training ground for elite cross country skiers as well as holiday makers.

Some trails to look out for:

Birkebeiner Trail

The Birkebeiner trail is a challenging 54km trail that starts in Rena and ends at Lillehammer. It is home to the Birkebeiner race an annual cross country ski marathon which has been held in Norway since 1932. It is also part of the Worldloppet series if you are serious about your skiing.

Lysløypa Sjusjøen

An easy 3.4km floodlit competition course popular with all ages and abilities.


A popular 17.8km trail that connects Natrudstlien and Sjusjøen. The trail opens as soon as the snow arrives and is great choice for novices looking for something a little more challenging.

Sjusjøen Rundt

A gentle 7.2km trail which is predominantly flat with a few gentle downhill sections that makes it a popular with first time skiers and those with younger ones in their group.

Gålå / Fefor / Gudbrandsdalen

Gålå is a well established ski resort with excellent and reliable snow conditions and 200km of cross country ski trails to explore.

5km Gålå Floodlit trail

This popular trail is floodlit every evening until 9.30pm

Peer Gynt Trail

Named after the famous Norwegian fairy tale character, the Peer Gynt Trail is a well established 87km trail that starts in Espedalen, runs through Fefor, Gålå, Kvitfjell and ends up in Skeikampen.  Along the way you will see wonderful views of the national park of Jotunheimen, Rondane and Dovrefjell.  If you don’t want to commit to the whole trail, you can just dip in and complete shorter sections and other detours along the way.

Geilo / Hallingdal

Boasting 550km of trails, Geilo is one of the best areas in the world for cross country skiing.  The season is long and the trails are maintained to a high standard.  There are plenty of trails around central Geilo including a floodlit trail at the ski stadium.

Hallingdal Trail

Running 135km all the way from Geilo to Norefjell the stunning Hallingdal trail follows is not for the faint hearted!

Ruperanden Trail

A 13.6km trail out to the Ruperanden, cabin where you can stop for refreshments (check their opening hours) before the return trip to Geilo.  This trail has wonderful views over the Hardangervidda.

Budalen Roundtrip

A 12.9km roundtrip that takes in the most beautiful scenery.

Ustedalsfjorden Trail

A shorter, more relaxed scenic trail around the lake just outside Geilo.  Perfect for those days when it is a bit windy on the higher trails or you just want something less demanding.

Gol / Hallingdal

With over 150km of well-groomed cross country ski tracks Golsfjellet is a great location for both classic and skating style cross country skiers.


With access to 170km of daily groomed trails, varying between sheltered forest and open country routes, you will be spoilt for choice in Hovden.

Auversvatn Trail

An 18.1km demanding trail over open country, so check the forecast and take plenty of snacks and extra clothing!

Hovden Floodlit Trail

Hovden has over 10km of floodlit trails which are in operation until 11pm every night.

Ål / Hallingdal

Ål is home to 430km of top class country ski trails, for example:

  • Bergsjø and Reine – 12.4km
  • Kinnhovdløypa – 8.2km
  • Blautmyrkroken til Hallingdal Feriepark – 6.8km
  • Fuglehovda – 6.5km
  • Heimstølhovda – 5km
  • Nystølrunden 4.4km
  • Roundtrip at Veståsen – 2.3km
  • Gravastølan - 2km

Information for overseas travellers

The Norwegian ski resorts are staffed by English speaking staff and are easily accessible from Norwegian airports via year round roads.  You can either hire a car to reach your destination or checkout the Norway Express bus service that serves many Norway ski resorts.  Norway also has a comprehensive rail network with some of the most scenic journeys in the world - if you want a different way to travel.

Useful links

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