Trip Report - Are in Sweden - family trip, Feb 2017

Trip Report - Are in Sweden - family trip, Feb 2017
Started by Dobby in Scandinavia - 2 Replies
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27-Feb
Dobby
Resort - Are, Sweden
Dates – 18-26 Feb 2017
Who went - Intermediate family (Ma, Pa, 2 girls aged 13 and 16)
Where we stayed – Forsa Fjallby apartments, Duved
Who we went with – DIY

Plus points
Family-friendly resort with varied skiing, particularly suited to intermediates.
Few lift queues, though a few bottle-necks
Relatively quiet pistes (apart from night skiing in Duved)
The three ski areas offer different skiing experiences
Very friendly people who speak English ridiculously well
Not as expensive as you would think, especially if you self-cater/eat in lots
Good value accommodation
Easy to book accommodation, skis, passes independently via SkiStar website.

Minus points
Not a lot of long, cruisy blues
Not a lot for adult/non-kiddy beginners
Hogzon (high zone) often closed due to high winds
Duved area not linked to Are/Bjornen
Piste preparation wasn't the best
Not a large ski area (100km or so total) if that's important to you

Who we are
Mrs Dobby vaguely competent but slow intermidiot plodding her way down the blues and reds
Daughters are hooning around on pretty much any slope
Me trying to keep up with daughters, especially No. 1 daughter
We do about 3000-7000m of vertical per day (depending on inclination, weather, conditions etc.), so not big mileage merchants, but like to spend most of the day skiing.

The cost
About £3400 flights, accommodation inc overnight at hotel in Trondheim on the Saturday night, hire car, petrol in Norway, ski hire and ski passes. Could have saved a lot by taking flights from LGW to Trondheim, but went for flights from Cardiff to TRD via AMS.

Flights
Flew with KLM from Cardiff to TRD via Schipol. Flights slightly delayed on way out and on way back. Some squeaky-bum moments re connections, but we made our flights, as did our luggage. Would probably not bother flying this way again, would probably use EasyJet from LGW to Are direct – would have been a lot cheaper.

Hire car
Rented an estate from Sixt. Seemed alright. Handy having the car to take all stuff from accommodation to lifts and to visit Are/Bjornen.

Drive to Are from Trondheim, and back
Easy if you take your time. Drive back was not great – in places the road had not been cleared well, which meant all you could see in the flat light was white. Where's the road gone? Made me giggle when we crossed over the border form Sweden to Norway – as soon as you hit the border, the road had been cleared of snow.

Forsa Fjallby apartment
We stayed at one of the Forsa Fjallby apartments in Duved, about 10mins walk from the lifts in Duved. It was the bottom part of a lodge/house. 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 but no sauna. Hallway had room to dry/store wet kit/boots, but no ski store (dare say we could have left skis in the hallway). Left skis in the car overnight.

Duved was very quiet. And we had a deer that kept wandering past the apartment each morning.

Resort
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.

Duved is a smaller, separate village some 8km from Are. Has supermarket and a couple of bars/restaurants.

Ski hire and passes
Booked through Skistar website. Once again, 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

Our "intermediate" kit was generally good, although it's worth making a note of the number on your skis or lock them up – skistar rent out a whole bunch of Head Rev 70s…..

Daughter No. 2's kit was a bit manky – skis and boots were very old. I'm guessing that it's because she is a "youth" which means she gets adult-sized kit at cheaper rates.

There is a ski hire shop in Duved – Fjallsports – which looks like a potentially good place to hire nice new kit…slightly cheaper than Skistar and kit looks nice and new.

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

Pistes were not too busy (apart from night skiing in Duved).

Lift queues were not bad, apart from at key times of the day. Queues at Sadelexpress were quite long at 11:30 and 3pm as people tried to get back to Are from Bjornen. Rodkullen T bar queues were bad at about 10am. Queues at the VM8 could get bad if higher lifts are closed. Vargenliften (B42) is a PITA – slow button with kids falling off it, bless em – as an alternative ski down to the bottom of Bjornenliften and take that one to get to the top of Bjornen.

Lift queues in the Hogzon may be worse this year because one of the lifts has conked out.

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. We didn't bother much with the Hogzon this time. Runs at Ulladalen and 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 – piste 14 is a lot steeper than 15. 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.

If you want some nice easy blues, then runs 32, 33, 34 and 40 around Rodkullen and Ulladalen are great, as is blue 119 in Bjornen. The blues from Sadelexpress are also good, but you do drop onto reds at the bottom. Blue 118 in Bjornen was shut, to store snow by the look of the huge mounds of the stuff on the piste.

For some hooning about, Duved is good. Some wide, generally quiet pistes. Piste 15 in Tegefjall is one of the easier reds in the Duved area. The reds above the Fjallgardexpressen lift are also good because you end up at a lift which is usually quiet.

For some harder reds, try the reds in the Hogzon and the lovely reds above the VM8 lift or those above the VM6 lift. Get there early for some nicely groomed pistes. Get there later for some sugar-on-ice action.

The weather
Sunday rained. Yes, rained. Felt like Cardiff. Then it cooled and snowed. And snowed. And the wind blew too.

Piste conditions
Nowhere near as good as last year. Pistes lovely early on, but ice always lurking underneath the surface. Did for my daughter who had her first proper fall (yard-sale, face plant, off the side of the piste proper fall…)

Food, drink and apres
Not expensive IF you don't eat and drink out much. Beer/cider is about £1-£1.50 a can from the grog shop. Decent craft ale about £2-3 in grog shop. Drink in bars/restaurants is expensive - £5-7 a large (0.5l) beer, £2-3 for a soft drink, £3 for hot chocolate.

Eating out can be expensive, but there are places that are not too pricey. About £13 for burger, chips and salad in the mountain cafe. £7 for a large sausage wrap at Mr. Bramwell's.

Pigo's in Duved is a friendly, warm and inviting bar/resto. Pizza for about £10, huge mega burger with trimmings and chips about £15.

Jensen (??) in Duved is a nice café-bar which was good for quick bite to eat before leaving on Sunday. £10 for burger and chips.

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

Would we go back?
Yes, but may not go back next year. So many places to ski and so little time.

28-Feb
Bedrock barney
Excellent report Dobby. Interesting to hear of the icy conditions this year compared to last. Maybe a bit of freeze thaw going on? We had been thinking of Are for Easter but I think it would have to be a last minute decision based on reasonably accurate weather forecasts.
slippy slidey snow......me likey!
28-Feb
Dobby
I think you are right, Barney. Lots of freeze-thaw, according to a local.

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