If you’re looking to combine skiing with city life in Scandinavia, Oslo is the place to go. Surrounded by forested hills, the Norwegian capital offers surprisingly good downhill skiing opportunities and hundreds of kilometres of cross-country tracks.
There are also excellent public transportation options that whisk you from the city center right to the start of the slopes and trails.
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly ski resort, intense downhill descents, or meandering trails that allow you to enjoy the solitude of the Norwegian woods in winter, Oslo has everything ski lovers could want. Here are some of our favourite options.
Alpine skiing near Oslo
Oslo Winter Park (Tryvann)
The best option for downhill skiing near Oslo is the Winter Park. Located at the top of Tryvann hill by the city’s massive TV tower, the park sits of the edge of the great northern forest known as Nordmarka, and is easily the largest and most popular ski park in the capital.
The park features 18 different runs, varying in difficulty from beginner to expert levels, along with ski classes and easy activities for youngsters.
Whether you decide to enjoy the bunny slopes or take the plunge down the entire 381m descent of the longest run, you’ll be about to get up top again quickly thanks to the park’s 11 chair lifts, including a six-seater express lift. You can bring your own gear or rent some equipment at the park’s headquarters, which also has a nice coffee shop to warm up in.
Since Oslo Winter Park has the best slopes and most-developed facilities in town, it’s also the most popular ski site in Oslo. Weekends here can be hectic, and the large number of people heading down the slopes and or jostling for a place on the lifts can become tiresome if you’re used to quieter ski resorts. Our tip is to avoid the crowds by visiting on a weekday or arriving first thing in the morning.
Where is it?
Tryvannsveien 64, Oslo
How much does it cost?
Day passes are around 430 NOK. A two-day pass will cost you around 740 NOK, and a three-day pass will set you back about 1080 NOK. Season passes can be purchased for around 2,700 NOK. You can buy these passes online or when you arrive.
Take subway line #1 towards Frognerseteren. Get off at Voksenkollen and follow the signs on foot for 10 minutes. A shuttle bus from the subway to the park is sometimes available as well, usually on the weekends.
Oslo Ski Center (Grefsenkollen)
The Oslo Ski Center on Grefsenkollen, or Grefsen Hill, is situated about 4km north of the city. It overlooks the quiet surrounding suburbs and the picturesque valley of Maridalen to the west. The views on the road up are spectacular and once you reach the top, the bustle and noise of the city seem a million miles away.
There are two main hills here, Trollkleiva and Grefsenkleiva, each with its own set of lifts. Trollkleiva is smaller and the best choice for kids and novice skiers. Grefsenkleiva, the longer hill, includes several jumps of various sizes and is perfect for those seeking more of a thrill.
The crowds here aren’t as bad as at Oslo Winter Park, though the center is only open from 5pm–9pmon weekdays, so if you want to ski in the sunlight you’ll need to come at the weekend.
Where is it?
Trollvannsveien 1, Oslo
How much does it cost?
Day passes are around 280 NOK, while two-day passes cost 430 NOK. Season passes can be purchased for about 2,800 NOK. Note that while the day passes are markedly cheaper than at Oslo Winter Park, the season pass is about the same – you’ll have to decide which option suits you best.
Oslo Ski Center is most easily reached by car. If you’re hoping to use public transport, bus #56B runs from Nydalen to Trollkleiva once an hour – but only on Sundays.
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Cross-country skiing near Oslo
More than 2,000km of cross-country skiing trails crisscross the vast tracts of forest surrounding Oslo. Some 90 km of the trails are illuminated by streetlights, which means you can ski safely even when the sun sets early.
There’s nothing Norwegians love more than jumping on the skis right after work, so the trails are well-used, even in the evenings.
The cross-country trails can be accessed from most points where the forest and the city meet in the north and eastern edges of Oslo.
All cross-country tracks are clearly marked with signs featuring red arrows and the symbol of the Norwegian Ski Association, as well as red lines on trees along the routes. Hiking trails, marked with blue signs and blue marks on trees, can also double as cross-country trails in the winter.
If you’re looking for a short but enjoyable cross-country route to try out, consider the well-marked loop around Sognsvann, a small lake in the hills above Oslo.
You can reach Sognsvann on subway line #5, heading west from the centre. Get off at the last stop, Sognsvann station, and follow the signs towards the lake.
Unfortunately, part of the loop still lacks lighting, so if you’ll be skiing after sundown you may want to bring a headlamp.
Another fun cross-country trip is a visit to Skjennungstua, one of the many small cabins in Nordmarka serving warm food and drinks to passing skiers during the winter.
The journey there and back covers around 9km – the trail weaves between snow-capped pines trees and offers amazing views of the surrounding landscape.
It’s a fairly easy trip for skiers of all skill levels, and gives you a little slice of the rustic Norwegian mountain lifestyle.
Start your journey at Tryvann, using the same directions shown above, and then follow the trail signs towards Skjennungstua. Adventurous skiers can also use Skjennungstua as a convenient base to venture further out into the northern woods.
Some tips before setting out
Even though most trails are well signposted, we still recommend planning your route carefully before heading out into the woods. Sunset can come quickly in winter, and the majority of trails are not lit, so you’ll want to have a good idea of where you’re going and how you’re getting back.
This online map from the Norwegian Ski Association, which shows you all the ski trails in the Oslo area, is a good place to start. Since phone service in the woods is unreliable, it’s not a bad idea to purchase paper maps for the areas you’re planning to explore. It doesn’t hurt to carry a phone with a Norwegian sim card, either.
Also note that, unlike the alpine ski areas, most cross-country trails don’t receive any artificial snow. The conditions here are entirely dependent on the weather, so if you’ll be visiting in early or late winter, enquire about the current snow situation before you go.
If you prefer to enjoy your skiing from the sidelines with a warm cup of coffee, Oslo still has you covered. The city is constantly playing host to a wide variety of ski competitions every winter. Check out our events section to see what will be happening in Oslo this season.
You can learn more about the history and proud legacy of Norwegian skiing at the Norwegian Ski Museum underneath Holmenkollen Ski Jump.
Here, you can also have the opportunity to be a true armchair skier at the ski simulator. The five-minute ride gives you a first-person view of a ski jump from the 2010 World Championships, as you race down from the very top of Holmenkollen and sail through the air at over 100km/h. If you’ve decided the Oslo Pass is worth it for your trip, you can get a small discount here as well.