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Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016

Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016

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Started by Dobby in Scandinavia - 7 Replies

Re:Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016

Dobby posted Feb-2016

Resort - Are, Sweden
Dates – 14-21 Feb 2016 (UK and Gothenburg half terms)
Who went - Intermediate family (Ma, Pa, 2 girls aged 12 and 15)
Where we stayed - Brunkulla apartments
Who we went with – Ski Safari

Plus points
Family-friendly resort with varied skiing, particularly suited to intermediates.
Few lift queues
Quiet pistes
The three ski areas offer different skiing experiences

Minus points
Not a lot of cruisy blues
Not a lot for beginners (didn't bother us though)
Can get windy
Expensive food and alcohol
Few too many T bars

The cast
Mrs and me are two vaguely competent but slow intermidiots plodding our way down the reds
Daughters are hooning around on pretty much any slope
We do about 4000-6000m of vertical per day, so not big mileage merchants, but like to spend most of the day skiing.

Met up with a couple of other J2Ski'ers and we had a great time...big shout to Bedrock Barney and Dan55

The cost
About £3700 for parking at LGW, flights, accommodation, hire car, petrol in Norway, ski hire and ski passes. Could have saved by booking ourselves, but Ski Safari had done a lot of leg work finding the resort, so we booked through them.

Flew with Norwegian from LGW to Trondheim. Flights about 30-60 mins late in each direction. Not most convenient flight times (arrived at Trondheim at about midnight). Who needs sleep, anyway?

Hire car
Rented an estate from Europcar. Didn't use ski rack – just chucked skis in back of car. Used boot liner made from bin bags. Handy having the car to (a) make runs to supermarket and (b) to drive to Duved ski area (8km west of Are).

Drive to Are from Trondheim
Surprisingly easy. Two and a bit hours at 1am, even on snow/ice. Those winter tyres are fantastic.

Brunkulla apartment
We stayed at one of the Brunkulla apartments, about 10mins walk from the VM8 8-man lift, and about 10 mins walk from the town centre. Generally great. Enough space. Kitchen area with oven, hob, microwave, dishwasher, fridge-freezer, coffee maker. Dining area. Living room area. 2 bedrooms sleeping 2 and 3 respectively. Bathroom and sauna. Large hallway with boot driers/warmers and big clothes drying cupboard. Lockable ski store close to apartment. Mainly families but some noisy students (for one night only....must have had a talking to...).

Are is a small town spread along (and up from) a railway. Plenty of accommodation, restaurants and bars. Couple of decent sized supermarkets. State-run booze shop.

Ski hire and passes
Booked through Skistar website. Very quick service with kit because all of our vital statistics (weight, height, ability) had been provided when booking. Got 20% discount on kit and 10% on passes by booking early.

You get 8 days kit and pass for the price of 6 – useful if your travel plans allow you to make use of it, which ours did

The skiing
Great for intermediates. Lots of reds, not many greens, blues or blacks (subject to the usual comments about some runs being mis-graded).

Generally v quiet on the pistes and at the lifts. Only had lift queues on Saturday (probably due to many lifts being closed due to wind).

Three different areas - Are By, Are Bjornen and Duved.

Are By - main area - skiing above and below tree line. Above tree line, it can get blown out and runs can get icy. Runs above Ulladalen (left of piste map) are quite exposed. Rodkullen (left of piste map) and Sadeln (right of piste map) offer some blues to play on, but mainly reds otherwise. Nice to lap red 57 and 58 first thing in the morning when VM8 lift opens at 8am.

Duved - a quiet hooner's paradise. Nice wide reds above Duved chair. Linked by a couple of drags to Tegefjall which has a couple of quiet, nice reds. Pistes tend to be easier than in Are By. Blues above Tegefjall worth a few runs, but not 20 (flat). Stop for a sausage butty and hot chocolate at Mr. Bramwell's at the top of the Tegefjall chair.

Are Bjornen - kids area lined by lift to Are By. Great skiing in the trees - piste 120.

Ski school
Kids did an hour's boarding lesson. Learnt to zig-zag down a green in an hour, which was not bad.

The snow
Pretty good, apart from on pistes exposed to wind. Pistes got a bit scalped on a busy Saturday. Piste prep good.

The lifts
Not bad - still a few T-bars, but not too onerous. We even had Bedrock Barney's family on a few T-bars.....

Food, drink and apres
Manageable because we self-catered. Beer/cider is about £1-£1.50 a can from the grog shop. Drink in bars/restaurants is expensive - £5-7 a large (0.5l) beer, £3 for a soft drink, £3 for hot chocolate. Eating out can be expensive, but there are places that are not too pricey. About £11 for burger, chips and salad in the mountain cafe. £6 for a large sausage wrap at Mr. Bramwell's.

The people/language
Everyone was extremely friendly and everyone spoke excellent English.

Would we go back?
Definitely. Local advice was to check for dates of Swedish half-term - Stockholm week is busy, but Gothenburg is not.

Bedrock barney
reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Feb-2016

Well done Dobby. Beat me to it!

Rather than put up another review, I'll add some more comments to this one when I get some time this week. Currently ploughing through a large pile of work emails, having got home yesterday evening.
slippy slidey snow......me likey!

reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Feb-2016

Great review. Not my sort of place but sounds like you had a lot fun as a family and extended group.

Edited 1 time. Last update at 01-Mar-2016

Bedrock barney
reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Feb-2016

Excellent review!

Some more info:

Snow Conditions - really good. It was below zero most of the week except for perhaps the odd hour here and there where it crept up to maybe +2. One or two pistes had icy patches but this was the exception to the rule. Other exposed parts of the resort were more obviously prone to wind blowing away the loose stuff but again this wasn't widespread. Only one piste (main run down to the VM8) was trafficked enough for moguls to be forming by the end of the day.

Off piste - it's clearly a very popular pastime and we saw lots of tracks and quite a few people enjoying the wider off piste areas. We did enjoy a certain amount of off piste but only when we could see our way back to the pisted runs. We would have strayed further ('we' doesn't include Mrs BB by the way) if we'd had a guide with us. There looked to be a fantastic looking valley off piste run accessed from the top of the A32 chair but we were not confident enough to try this out on our own. Lots of fun going through the trees from the top of Sadlen (top of chair A34 and run down to bottom of B37 chair)

Temperatures - it was -17 when we arrived (7pm). We had -16 one morning when we set out. The rest of the week ranged between say -10 and +2. Temperature inversion also for part of the time. Winds were generally ok.

Piste classifications - reasonably accurate although we couldn't really tell much difference between the blacks and reds above the tree line. Black run 71 was a proper black. In the main, the reds were proper reds. The on piste skiing was decently challenging (much more so than Hemsedal in Norway). I wouldn't consider the main areas of the resort to be particularly friendly towards beginners. We didn't ski over to Bjornen which we understand is the main beginner area.

Lifts - pretty good and actually much better than we'd expected. Dobby and Dan55 kindly got us onto some T bars over in the Duved/Tegefjall area but we were happy on lifts for the rest of the week. The main gondola from bottom to top was only open part of the time but it's actually not an issue as it;s possible to get up there by using the VM8 chair and bubble instead.

Feb half term - it was not obvious that it was half term. Other than the 57 down to the VM8, the pistes were not crowded and very little queueing for lifts.

Accommodation - we stayed in one of the Dromstugan cabins near the lake. Very clean and decently equipped. 2 bedrooms, a living/kitchen area. ski locker, parking space. The quietest accommodation we've every enjoyed on a ski hol. About a 10 minute walk into town and less than that to the nearest supermarket.

Car hire - we used Sixt and went a bit over the top with a Mercedes GLA 4x4. I ticked every insurance waiver box possible and it ended up costing £500 for the period although this was for 9 days in total.

Flights - we flew with KLM from Humberside via Amsterdam to Trondheim. Everything bang on time and super relaxed. By far our favourite route out of the country if we are flying. Trondheim airport very quiet and efficient. Car rental straight outside the arrivals hall with no queueing.

Costs - as Dobby says above, quite expensive for food and drink. We dragged family Dobby out for a meal on our final evening and I was a bit dismayed to see that the cheapest bottle of wine on the menu was £40!

Holiday costs - we were a family of 3 this time and our costs as follows (assuming 12.3 kr to £). Flights £800, accommodation £675. ski pass £500, Ski hire £247, wifi £16, airport parking £50, car hire ( 9 days) £500, fuel and tolls £40. Total £2,817 or £940pp.

Company - 10 out of 10! Dan55 & Mrs Dan55 and Dobby family of 4 most enjoyable company.

Finally, Trondheim - we skied 5 days in the end and drove over to Trondheim first thing on Saturday and stayed in the Clarion hotel until Monday. Really enjoyed Trondheim. A coffee and cake paradise. Every other establishment was rammed full of Norwegians drinking fancy coffees and eating yummy cakes. Lots of interesting shops and the cultural attractions also very good with the Cathedral, museums, art galleries etc. Our hotel was also excellent and very good value. Possibly the best breakfast spread ever enjoyed by family BB. I think I managed 4 or 5 courses on Sunday morning......

Some pics for your delectation:

slippy slidey snow......me likey!

Edited 1 time. Last update at 24-Feb-2016

reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Mar-2016

Finally got round to adding my review of Are to the excellent reviews posted by Dobby and Bedrock Barney.

We thoroughly enjoyed our week in Are. We did things a little different to the other 2. We flew to Stockholm and then hired a car from there. The journey was approx 600km and took 7 1/2 hours! It snowed all the way there but the roads weren't too bad and we hardly saw any traffic.

We stayed Half Board in a hotel called Fjallgarden. This was totally ski in and ski out. It was right next to the 6 man chair to get over towards Bjornen. We could also ski straight down to the main gondola area. The hotel was lovely. Officially a 3 star but I'd say much nearer 4 star. We were half board so didn't have to go out much after a day on the slopes! There was also the Funicular Railway down into the town which adjoined the hotel. We quite often used to walk into the town at night and then catch the Funicular back up.

The skiing as Dobby and Bedrock Barney have mentioned was really good. A little icy in places but well prepared pistes and hardly any queues which is a bonus. This is usually the case in Scandinavia. We last went to Are in 2010 with Neilsons who unfortunately don't go to Scandinavia anymore. It's changed a fair bit with a couple of extra chairs rather than T bars thankfully!!

We met up for a couple of days skiing with Bedrock Barney and Dobby and had a great time. They were both nice families and we all seemed to be similar levels of skiing! I hope I didn't bore them too much with my attempt at guiding!

Here's a group pic!

We skied pretty much all the mountain but Mrs Dan55 wouldn't do any blacks due to a bad experience last year!!

All in all a fab time!! Would we go back? Yes and considering it for next year! Think we'll do the Trondheim flights though and enjoy a shorter drive!!

I've never posted pictures before so if it works I'll add some more later! If not then help!


Bedrock barney
reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Mar-2016

Dan - not sure what you've done with your photo. You will need to have it hosted by photobucket or similar and then paste the HTML code into your post. Guide here:


Of course, what we really want to see is the go pro footage of your epic jump and subsequent dent you made in the mountain........... :D
slippy slidey snow......me likey!

Edited 1 time. Last update at 01-Mar-2016

reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Mar-2016

Tried it from Flickr but it doesn't seem to like it! I'll have a go with photobucket too I think!!

Hmmm I may have 'lost' that video :-)

reply to 'Big fat TR - Are Sweden - family trip, 14-21 Feb 2016'
posted Mar-2016

C'mon Dan. "Unlose" the video. All I remember is the thumping sound when you made your jump (or not)

Topic last updated on 02-March-2016 at 22:48