Artikkel i "Travel Scoop" - Januar 2000
Venabu Fjellhotell, Venabygd, Norway
by Knut Grotterod, Fredericton, NB
If you are tempted to visit lovely Norway - in summer or winter - I would like to recommend the Venabu Fjellhotell - or Venabu Mountain Hotel. The destination has been our favourite winter holiday retreat for many years, usually late February/early March when the cross-country skiing is superb. The trail maintenance and terrain are excellent and ski instruction and tour guides are available.
The hospitality here is superb. This property was opened 50 years ago by the parents of the present owners - Line Tvete Downing and Lars Tvete - and the hotel has been expanded and upgraded and now offers 56 functional but pleasant rooms, each with en suite shower. What a treat it is to step on the heated bathroom floor in the morning or after skiing. There are also two saunas for those so inclined.
Many of the guests here tend to be from Scandinavia of course. but it is also popular with people from the rest of Europe and the U.K. It's a great place to meet people and make new friends and many guests return year after year. There are two TV rooms where guests can catch the news in Norwegian, German or English, but little time is spent there. Most guests congregate in one of the two large living rooms to chat, read or play cards in front of the fire or to dance to live music after dinner in the evening.
Oh, what a treat the food is! Smorgasbord for breakfast and lunch, consisting of both cold and hot dishes, as well as special dinners with Norwegian and other specialities. We consider the room and board prices (which vary widely according to season to be very attractive, but as in all of Scandinavia, be prepared for high liquor and wine prices.
The hotel located at the timberline, 932 metres above sea level. The 140 km of marked and groomed trails - designated from `easy' to `expert' - offer skiers the choice of wooded or above-the-tree-line skiing. The view towards the Rondane National Park is breathtaking. These fresh, quiet surroundings are not disturbed by snowmobiles as they are outlawed for personal use and only permitted for rescue or delivery of supplies to the many cottages in the area. Should you tire of skiing, there are dog sled trips, all-season horseriding and torch-lit sleigh rides to a Sami tent for some glogg (spiced hot red wine). Go for it!
Some downhill skiing is available just 3 km away, but for something more challenging Kvitfjell, the World Cup giant slalom site, is only 20 minutes away. Tours can also be arranged to Lillehammer, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics and "Maihaugen" the famous outdoor museum. Reaching Venabu is not a problem. Every Saturday morning buses leave from the hotel for Oslo airport (240 km away) and return later in the day. If Saturdays do not suit your plans there is also frequent bus and train service from Oslo to Ringebu station, where someone from the hotel will pick you up.
Although we are most familiar with the winter facilities here, summer and fall are wonderful for hiking and riding and exploring nature in a glorious setting. Five nights in winter with full board in the best rooms start at about C$525 pp, rising as the year progresses to $810 in the summer with 5 days of guided walks. Daily single supplements are between $7.50 and $18 depending on room size.