|Chilly chair lift ride|
Hotelli Levitunturi in northern Finland comes up in my mind as a similar place, what they lose in the water park side may be offset by their very nice children's play house. But I can't think of any other examples in the world, can you?
|Tree skiing near Björnen|
|The entire upper mountain is a playground|
Despite its relatively modest size and round mountain forms, Åre has plenty of off-piste terrain. In good weather, snowmobiles or cats take skiers from the top of the highest lift to the Åreskutan. For 5 Euros, this must be the cheapest cat skiing in the world, along with Copper Mountain cat-included-in-the-lift-ticket deal, of course. At the top you will find a small cafe, a large radio antenna, and wind-blown Swedish mountain landscape as far as you can see.
From the top you can choose multiple descents. The path towards the lifts is the easy and safe alternative. A bit further away awaits Blåstensbranten, an extremely steep run. At 50 to 60 degrees, it should only be skied by experts. If you stand up on Blåstensbranten and extend your hand to the side, you will be able to touch the ground.
|Cornice jump near the Tusenmetersliften|
Return of the barfcam! (Thanks, Melinda) The above video shows one path from the top of Svartberget to the Västra Ravinen.
|Västra Ravinen Off-Piste|
|Beware of reindeers on off-piste|
The essential parameters for Åre are as follows. The Goulash index (price of soup) is 9 Euros. The maximum vertical difference is 890 meters (which can be skied in 3 minutes and 20 seconds, but who is counting). The steepest on-piste ski run is 27 degrees, but this on the almost always closed-for-races ski run, the Störtloppet.
|Top of the Svartberget|
Åre can be reached by car, a party (!) train from Stockholm, or by flight to Östersund, 100 kilometers away. Taxi transfers are reasonable though, 29 Euros one-way. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation.
Photo credits (c) 2009-2011 by Jari and Olli Arkko