With new flights, summer skiing and some of the world's most spectacular scenery, a summer holiday to the Hardangerfjord region of Norway promises an easily-accessible outdoor adventure, as the Ski Club's Content Editor Chris Madoc-Jones found out back in June 2016.

I had travelled to Norway principally to ski on the Fonna Glacier, high above the fjord-side town of Jondal and a mere 90 minutes from Bergen Airport. However, keen to experience the wider region after two days on the snow of Fonna I ventured out to explore the rest of the region – and as I discovered, the possibilities for outdoor activities are almost limitless.

Summer Skiing

First however Fonna Glacier Ski Resort has to be mentioned. Following the arrival of new owners, in the past three years it has rapidly become “the place to be” when it comes to summer skiing in Norway. Yes the ski area is relatively small, with one lift providing access to four slopes and a park, but for a couple of days there was more than enough to keep me entertained and get my ski legs ready ahead of the winter. During my visit in late June the snow quality was fantastic thanks to the hard work of Andreas and his piste team, and remains good enough to welcome the Norwegian World Cup race team in August.

A lift pass costs 380NOK pp for one day, or 690NOK pp for two days.

The Jondal Region

Fonna Glacier Hike

Although the skiing often grabs the headlines, the Jondal region has a huge amount more to offer – but be quick to book your accommodation as it gets snapped up very quickly during the height of summer. For example after my first day’s skiing I took the short ferry across the fjord to Tørvikbygd (95NOK each way) to visit the Steindalsfossen waterfall near Norheimsund, made unique by the fact you can walk behind the water, before stopping off at one of the famous fruit stalls in Øystese.

I also took the opportunity to explore the Folgefonna plateau beyond the confines of the ski area, tackling a Blue Ice Hike with the excellent Folgefonni Breforarlag. My group set off with guide Anders, equipped with crampons, ice axes and full winter clothing for the six hour trip that took in the spectacular blue ice of the tumbling Juklavass Glacier – an offshoot of the main Folgefonna Glacier. This was a spectacular way to see the inner workings of a glacier and see nature at its most powerful – head over to the Ski Club’s Blog to find out more about this adventure.

Folgefonni Brerarforlag offer several other tours over the glacier during the summer, with the Blue Ice Hike starting at 720NOK pp. Kayaking costs from 790NOK pp.

Trolltunga

Just under an hour away from Jondal, through two huge tunnels underneath the Folgefonna Glacier, lies the town of Odda, buried deep in the Sørfjorden – an offshoot of the main Hardangerfjord. From here it is a 15 minute drive to Skjeggedal, the starting point for the hike up to Trolltunga, arguably one of Norway’s most famous sites. From here it is a 22km round trip to the top, which most take on foot, but I hooked up with Trolltunga Active to take a much more direct route to the top. The route in question took in a 7km mountain bike ride, a two hour hike and the Himmelstigen Via Ferrata – a fixed climbing route directly up 200m of cliff face.

Under the guidance of our guide Line, my group snaked up the fixed metal steps with the ground steadily disappearing further beneath our feet. Despite a newly discovered dislike of heights and having never climbed before, it was a fantastic way to get to one of the most photogenic locations in the world. The view from the top was well worth the effort and certainly made the five hour return trip much more bearable.

The tour costs 1100NOK pp, takes between 8-12 hours and requires a good level of fitness.

fizza

Voss

The quickest route back to Bergen from Odda took me through the ski resort of Voss – arguably western Norway’s top winter destination. In the knowledge that Voss is a perennial Ski Club Freshtracks favourite during the snowy months, I was excited to see what Voss had to offer in the summer. I arrived in the middle of Extreme Sports Week https://ekstremsportveko.com/live/, where both competitors and holidaymakers from around the world descend on Voss for seven days of competition, taster sessions and concerts. As a result the town was buzzing and it was a real shame that I couldn’t be there for more than a few hours.

However I did have time to visit one of the top attractions in town - VossVind, an indoor skydiving centre. Again this caters for novices and professionals alike, something that many Norwegian activities seemed to do. The two 90-second “flights” were a blast and proved to be a fantastic way to end my trip.

Aside from the skydiving Voss offers a huge array of activities in the summer, including some of the best rafting in the country. Sessions at VossVind start at 765NOK pp.


Thanks go to Andreas and the team at Fonna Glacier Ski Resort for hosting me and for providing lift passes. I travelled to Norway thanks to the support of the team at Fjord Norway, Visit Hardangerfjord and Visit Voss, who helped arrange all of the activities mentioned - check out their websites for more activities in the Norwegian Fjords. Flights to Bergen were provided on Norwegian by Innovation Norway.