Four Hours in a Fjord

Greetings from the 🇳🇴 place

Mar 2022 – As I continued my childless travels throughout Scandinavia, I had been googling non-stop for any potential opportunity to get a snowboard onto some Norwegian or Swedish snow. I knew that I’d be heading far north of the Arctic Circle in the coming days, and finding worthwhile Alpine-style ski and ride opportunities was proving to be difficult. Not to mention I had a very finite window to make such an opportunity happen as I had other commitments to take care of while running around the beautiful landscape in northern Norway.

My searches kept leading to a place called Narvikfjellet…a ski slope situated above a bustling port city situated in the northern fjords with an interesting history from World War II. At first glance, the city seemed like such a weird and unlikely place to enjoy downhill skiing or riding. However, literally situated above the sea-facing city was the ski resort.

The unique area of Narvikfjellet

DISCLAIMER: much to my dismay, the entire region had experienced an odd warming spell over the previous two weeks and the day I visited was a day that saw some wind disruptions. Ever since trying cross-country skiing for the first time, I’d been looking for those opportunities as well…but the warming trend was quickly killing those hopes in addition to my hopes of finding fresh powder for a snowboarding day. What I’m about to describe is very weather-based so please don’t judge Narvikfjellet only on this post.

The resort’s name is Narvikfjellet and it can easily be reached via flight from Oslo 🇳🇴.

It normally comes in with 20km of actual groomed Pistes and (apparently) a lot of off-piste options, but when I arrived, there were tons and tons of slope and lift closures that really limited the experience I was trying to have.

Lower ski area looking upwards towards the, at the time, closed upper pistes.

Driving up to the main slope area was super intimidating. I have never driven up a road that made me feel like a small mistake would send me flying off into a freezing fjord…but that’s just how Narvik rolls. On a sidenote, I drove right by a Russian Yacht that was on house arrest so I got a good loud laugh in my car when that happened.

There are several places to park…but since basically nobody was out during this day, we ended up parking for free at the Gondolen parking lot. This was pretty much directly next to both the mountain “base” and the primary cable car/gondola to the upper mountain. Since I was traveling for work, I had to rent a board and bindings at the lodge; however, it was pretty reasonable at around 400NOK for the day.

I can guess that the mountain base, on a good day, is pretty lively. There were tons of space outside the main “lodge” for seating and it was ideally located directly next to the kids’ slope (wink wink parents 🍻). The kids’ slope also had a sheltered magic carpet…but since the entire place was deserted, I can’t say whether or not one could use it without a lift ticket 🤦‍♂️. See the below photo for a little snippet of where the kids can enjoy short runs with some overhead cover.

A kids slope with a Sea and City view (photo credit http://www.visitnarvik.com)

So……As I said, weather was a factor this day! It was pretty windy so basically the entire upper region of the mountain was unreachable since the primary Gondolbahn to the top was not functioning due to said high winds. That basically confined us to a single T-Bar lift and two slopes 🥺…but at least one had a few jumps. But I had the big sad, nonetheless.

The snow was basically awful. A very strange thing to say when you’re talking about Norway. The entire coastal region had experienced an unusual warming pattern the week prior and the groomers available to us at the lower levels were very slushy and sticky. I was very very sad because I knew Norway had better and was known for being a paradise to anyone chasing snow. The saving grace here is that the really cool and amazing-in-English counter guy sold us half-price tickets (250NOK I think) because of the weather and snow conditions.

After enjoying what we could of the two (yes two) runs available to us and catching some air in their park, the wind died down and actually allowed the Gondolen to the upper section of the mountain to operate…so we immediately hopped on and made the ascent in hopes of better snow and more fun.

It was not to be.

Lower portion of the mountain. Gondol somewhere off to the left.

The entire area available to us at the upper section was wide open Eastern U.S. style ice highway. It was so saddening because the pistes were so massive and wide that a lot of fun could have been had. If I had my kids with me and the weather had been great, these would have been some of the sweetest groomers to ride due to their width and incline. The bizarre weather just made it impossible. We only stayed a few hours as well…hence the shortness of this recap 😬.

The views, however, were pretty incredible. I don’t think I’ll ever experiencing snowboarding in view of ocean water ever again.

Absolutely unforgettable view. Oil tanker photobombing me!

I think Narvikfjellet is absolutely worth visiting if you’re either in the region chasing the Northern Lights or you’ve just always wanted to be on a board or skis in Norway. Norway has other alpine-style ski areas like Trysil further south or even an hour East into Sweden at Riksgränsen, but the most memorable thing I found in Narvik was the view.

On a better day, weather-wise, this is probably a great place for kids. The lower ski area is pretty easy-going and even the first section of the upper mountain is nice and wide open without a steep grade. Sadly I can’t speak to what an experience with kids in-tow really costs since my day was without creatures as well as not a full-price day.

I leave you with ice and views!

Bis zum näschtes Mal!

the snowboard dad in europe

Author: TheSnowBoardDadInEurope

Through a series of life choices (occasionally involving alcohol), I ended up with a great wife (Kate), two great kids (Karaline and Noah), and the good fortunes to live in the beautiful country of Germany. We love the Alpine landscape of Europe. After seeing so much of it with my family, I decided to share , in blunt honesty, our successes and total failures in hopes of helping some of you, fine folks. I have no six pack. I drink too much beer, and I swear too much; however, I love seeing the Alps with my family.

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