Norwegians are growing weary of all the snow and subzero temperatures lately, but Norway’s ski resorts are welcoming this winter with open arms. The country’s major downhill skiing centers are reporting record-high traffic and bookings, despite concerns about inflation and higher interest rates.
“We were very uncertain about how harder times would influence people’s spending, but then came all the snow and bookings went through the roof,” Odd Stensrud told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). He manages the firm Alpinco that runs the lifts and several hotels and restaurants at ski centers Hafjell and Kvitfjell, and says they’ve “never come close to so many advance bookings for the season as now.”
The vast majority of visitors are coming from Denmark, where the Danish krone is also stronger than Norway’s. With Danes suddenly finding Norway less expensive, hotel reservations are up 37 percent over last year and 90 percent of Alpinco’s budgeted revenues are already met.
Managers at other ski resorts including Beitostølen, Geilo, Norefjell, Trysil and Hemsedal are reporting the same, with lots of skiers coming from Great Britain as well as Denmark and Sweden. “Especially the growth from Great Britain is phenomenal,” Helen Møgster at Geilo Booking told DN. It’s also an advantage that many can fly into Oslo Gardermoen and travel directly from the airport by train or bus to many of the ski centers.
Sales of season lift passes to Norwegians are also up. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had such fantastic skiing conditions so early,” said Stefan Sjöstrand of Skistar, which runs Trysil and Hemsedal. Even though some resorts closed their lifts when temperatures fell to minus-20C or below last week, thermometers are expected to rise but not enough to spoil conditions.