Mar 2022 – This is something I personally have been trying to do for a couple of years. I have been in the Nordics before, but my visits always seemed to fall in the warmer months or I simply never had the means to get out and explore slopes. This season, the stars all aligned and I was thankfully able to grace the wonderful nations of Norway and Sweden at the right time and with a car! Riksgränsen and it’s amazing backdrop became my destination.
Disclaimer: my kids weren’t with me for this one similar to my posts from Zermatt and Sestriere. Having said that, due to my observations that I made…which I will naturally write about here…I hope to provide at least a tiny bit of insight for you if you decide to chase the powder all the way to Sweden 😀.
I’ll drop this here to start: there are a few other Alpine style slope areas to get to that probably aren’t as isolated as Riksgränsen…Åre further south as well as Trysil in Norway being a few of them. Narvik 🇳🇴 also isn’t a terrible place to go as well as Ruka and Levi 🇫🇮, but in my now limited experience in the Nordics…Riksgränsen cannot be beaten. It can feel a little hard to get to as the closest large airport is an hour away in Narvik. On the plus side of this, you can take a train from Narvik straight to the ski slope at Riksgränsen…something that I thought was pretty cool that I’ve only seen in Switzerland.
A great note about the season at this lovely place: it is well above the Arctic Circle and, as such, it has a different season which lasts from Feb into late May (remember darkness rules Northern Winters!). My visit was in the latter part of March and the conditions were completely unbelievable. I was blown away.
I can immediately tell you that Riksgränsen did not seem like a beginner’s slope area. The few lifts that were in operation were old school and had no bubbles to pull down and protect you from the elements. Depending on a number of things (including yours or your kids’ tolerance for weather induced pain), this could already be a strike against this area.
The “slopes”, and I use that term loosely, are relatively small. I say loosely because I think spotted two groomed trails the entire day that I spent, there. “Well Snowdad, that doesn’t sound like it’s worth visiting then does it?” you say! I’M GLAD YOU ASKED, READER! The “slopes” consist primarily of nothing but big wide off-piste open terrain with endless fun possibilities with regard to skiing and riding. You can make fresh tracks anywhere, take chutes between rock outcrops, and I even saw a natural half-pipe that some boarders were taking advantage of. When I say freeride paradise, I mean freeride paradise. If you only like groomed trails, Riksgränsen may not be the best place for you. It makes sense being in the heart of Swedish Lapland that most visitors should be intermediate or advanced to enjoy everything that the mountain has to offer.
This is the part where you have to take your kids’ skills in mind if you’re considering a visit. There wasn’t anything that I saw that resembled a bunny slope nor was there anything that looked like a traditional kids’ learning area with a magic carpet and obstacles to steer around. I also wasn’t able to find much in the realm of ski schools except this one pager. I think your little ones need to be well-versed and confident to go there and truly enjoy themselves.
Crowds-wise…I went on a late Saturday morning during absolutely perfect weather and did not wait more than 1 minute in any lift line. I was honestly amazed at the lack of crowds. Presumably this can be attributed to how incredibly far from anything Riksgränsen is.
This wonderful Lapland resort also gave me something similar to what Reit im Winkl gave me: the chance to ride across national borders into and back out of Norway 🙃.
It’s so isolated that, when the time comes for food and drink, you’ve essentially got only two places to go at the main station/resort area and one of them is in the big hotel directly adjacent to the slope base: Hotel Riksgränsen.
There’s basically only one ski shop, as well, which is also located inside the hotel. To its credit, they have plenty of rentals to include snowboards and skis for kids and the staff was all very young, cool, happy to help, and spoke wonderful English as nearly every Swede 🇸🇪 and Norwegian 🇳🇴 does.
Since I only spent a day there and I didn’t have my family team with me, the content of this post I know is a little low. I think Riksgränsen is incredible, but I think it’d be tough to justify flying so far north to only visit the mountain for skiing or riding. I honestly think it’s best to make a bigger trip out of it by visiting Narvikfjellet, or chasing the Northern Lights. You can also take some pretty awesome looking Skimobile Tours or Dogsledding across the frozen Swedish landscape
The Nordics are a very magical place and I’ve loved every visit I’ve ever been fortunate enough to make…surely attributable to my grandmother having been born, there 🙃. Riksgränsen is wonderfully suited for incredible conditions on the snow, but there is also a lot of other greatness to be found there as well as in neighboring Norway.
The small amount of info I’ve written here just doesn’t quite do the place justice. Do yourself a favor though…track down a Glass Roof Igloo, fly to Narvik, and cross into Lapland someday in March for an unforgettable lifetime experience.
Bis zum näschtes Mal!THE SNOWBOARD DAD IN EUROPE