It is when the wind comes from the southeast, and the clouds are pushed up against Mt. Norefjell, that snowfall is measured in feet, not inches, at Høgevarde.
The resort has quickly gained popularity amongst ski enthusiasts around the capital Oslo, as well as the rest of the central Eastern region of Norway: This is the place to be when the forecast indicates southeastern wind directions. The high average snowfall, the playful terrain and the close proximity to the country´s capital (less than two hours, making Høgevarde Oslo´s nearest high mountain) are all important factors. Norway´s largest ski magazine/website, Fri Flyt, refers to Høgevarde as “eastern Norway´s powder mecca“. Check out the video below from Fri Flyt´s Ski Patrol visit at Høgevarde back in 2019:
Geographical and topographical limitations mean that Høgevarde will never compete with giant skiresorts, the area is simply too small. Instead, the owners have chosen to focus small, but well, and have developed a master plan that involves thinking outside the box. And when we say the box, we mean the ski pistes.
Among the four owners of Høgevarde AS we find a very experienced skier and mountainbiker. Hans Christian Gulsvik is the mountain’s rock star when it comes to knowledge about the core activities that Høgevarde is focusing on in the years ahead.
– You will find wide pistes everywhere, including here, but in the alpine masterplan which lays out the directions for things to come, we have chosen to focus on what happens outside and inbetween the pistes: Give skiers access to narrower routes, almost like forest tracks in the old days. It opens up some fantastic off-piste opportunities, says Gulsvik.
Although there are plans for both a gondola lift and chairlifts in the future, it is the snow that is in focus at Høgevarde.
– We have a very playful ski terrain. It is an area of natural spruce forest, not planted, which makes the forest a lot more open than what you find in areas with planted forests. It can be a bit reminiscent of Canada, he explains.
THE HOME MOUNTAIN
Hans Christian grew up in the mountains and slopes in and around Norefjell and Høgevarde, but felt the urge to travel. As a result, he has gained experience from ski slopes and mountain terrain all around the world.
– Høgevarde was far less developed when I was growing up, but I know these hills and mountains very well. However, I have spent most of the adult years abroad, and I have worked as a guide in large mountains in Canada, Japan and South America, he explains.
After working as a guide instructor in South America in 2015, he turned his nose back home, found a Norwegian girlfriend and decided to settle down on his family´s farm. When an opportunity to work at Høgevarde opened up, there was nothing to wonder about. Now he brings his experience from the world home to the slopes of the Norefjell Plateau, and has become a central figure in the development of the area.
LIFT OPERATOR AND SNOWBOARD ENTHUSIAST
Morten Espeseter is responsible for the lifts at Høgevarde, but readily admits that the best time is the time off.
– Last year I was lucky, and had the weekends off when it snowed the most. So then I managed to sneak in a few trips in between work weekends, he says.
He shares the experience that the terrain in Høgevarde is seriously fun and challenging.
– When there is a lot of snow, there´s plenty of fun free-riding opportunities near the slopes and on the backside of the resort. I personally really like the small scale of the resort. Then you get many runs in a day and get to know the terrain very well. That means you don’t have to spend a whole day finding the good lines, as is the case in larger resorts, he concludes.