Snowkiting in Norway > The Hardangervidda: SPOTS & WIND & TIPS
Were back, back in Norway for some snowkiting action. And I can tell you : After 4 times the Hardangervidda is still as awesome and nice as usual, always full of snow and plenty of wind (for sure this time). It really never gets boring here!! I will explain some of the snowkiting spots along the Hardangervidda in Norway to help you to never miss out on an awesome snowkite session! Or be catch on the other side of the road
In Haugastøl usually, the Snowkite season starts around mid-October and ends somewhere in May. In general October to January is regarded as the low season with less snow and generally more stormy weather than later in the season. We have been here only in March & April. In Norway and in general, in December the days are shorter, so less time to enjoy the snow. February to May is the so said high season. More lighter wind days, but don’t worry – still enough for your tube kite to fly easily And there will be still some storms passing through. Especially this year, more than 50 knots two days a week.. It used to be more sunny in this period on The Hardangervidda and it tends to be more busy with snowkiters coming to explore the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe. But that isn’t a problem, it NEVER gets crowded! The Hardangervidda is endless, endless mountains and endless Snowkite possibilities, with around 3422km2 ridable terrain!
Finding wind is not about skills, it’s about the right timing and reading the wind and weather forecasts (oke and sometimes it’s all about luck) :
- The most important one is that when the wind is coming from the east there will almost always be more wind the further west that you go. It is not uncommon that there is no wind at Ørteren, Halne and Skulevika. But when you get to Skiftesjøen the wind starts picking up. If there is 5 m/s (18km/h) at Skiftesjøen you will often experience 7-10 m/s (25-35km/h) at Dyranut which is only 2 km away.
- When the wind is coming from the west you have a similar effect. (more wind on the east side of the Hardangervidda plateau).
- Winds from the north tend to be colder and stronger in the morning. So don’t sleep in when the forecast is northerly.
- Winds from the south tend to give snowy weather, so bring good goggles to make the most out of low light conditions. And out of experience I can tell you, you can find sun somewhere, I am sure
Useful links and tips
to be the perfect weather expert of The Hardangervidda:
- First of all, download the app. It makes your live way easier around the Hardangervidda. It will send you push messages when the road is closed, when its driving in convoy, also when the road is open in the morning and closed during the day.
- It will also show the weather measurements, to choose the right spot.
- That’s not all, it also gives you links to the webcams, to see if someone already launches his kite or.. how the view is up there.
- Windguru can give you a kind of good direction in what to expect, wind, snow and temperature.
- Always ask the locals having any doubt.
- Thank the Right diesel, as you might know it can be ery cold (-35 degrees) on the plateau. Make sure you thank the right Petrol (Diesel). The German Petrol is not resistance enough for the cold, in Norway the add some extra to make sure its not freezing. – Just to let you know
- You can go snowkiting before the R7 , not in the mountains. A little tip when it I s too windy, snowy and the road is closed. On stormy days the road over the mountain can close due to to much snow and poor visibility.
- Being flexible to move around the the best spot of the day will greatly improve your chances of epic snowkite days during your holiday. So come with a car or rent one. Make sure to take a shovel and snowchains, you might need them.
Spots: The Highway 7
So now the important part: the Snowkite spots! There is just one important road you need to know: The Highway 7. That is the only (accessible) road that stretches from Haugastøl over the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe, the Hardangervidda in Norway. The drive from Haugastøl, starting on the east side of the plateau to Maurseth on the west side is around 42 km long. 35 km of the 42km offer world class snowkiting spots. It’s hard to miss any.
From haugastol to the end of the hardanggervidda starting with the spots just before the R7 goes into the mountains:
It is the lake 25 kms away from the hotel: Slødtfjorden. (the lake levels are controlled by the hydro company). The ice will be good from December – April. You can go here with South, South East, East and North East. But it will be gusty because of the mountains surrounding the spot.
1km north of Haugastøl towards the Hallingskarvet national park you will find Lillevann. The lake is about 2 square kilometres, so there is plenty of space for many kiters.
The flat lake is perfect for beginners, more experienced riders can explore the terrain towards the Hallingskarvet.. TIP: The walk to Lillevan is about 15 min, but if you are a guest at Haugastøl and the road is closed you can get a free shuttle by snowmobile.
Some private cabins are around the lake, which are not intended to be used as kickers/rails. All wind directions work here except South.
A big lake which is really nice with Westerly and Easterly winds. Nygårdsvannet is located 1 km west of Haugastøl along the Rallarvegen. The only point is that this spot is NOT accessible by car. You can get there by skiing/walking (about 20 mins) or by snowmobile. This spot is often used as a side way when Highway 7 is closed.
*These three spots are a good option if the R7 is closed.
The following spots are just after the R7 goes into the mountains, from Haugastol:
Told to be a secret spot, but almost on the road….. Hard to keep it a secret, I think. Named Ørterdalen, the spot that “always” has wind, even though there is nothing anywhere else in southern Norway, here you will have wind. But, it’s a small spot on a hill/valley and some electricity cables on the bottom. The spot is pretty small (I was actually surprised they called it a “spot”) coming down from Ørteren and down to Slødtfjorden at Haugastøl. You can kite here with East and west winds, the falling winds from the valley. Parking is on the other side of the road. If I had to kite here.. I rather skip and do something else J
Probably the most used and best spot (not in my opinion though), might be because it’s on the beginning of the R7 so easy to get to. (Also the only option to stop if you have to drive in convoy with the snowplow – and the hotels offcourse). It has a flat lake and a hill, you can go far away into the mountains or stay close. Ørteren is labeled as the best snowkite spot in Norway. Might be because the Norwegian championships, World Championships and the Redbull Ragnarok have all been held here. At this Kitespot all the wind directions work, generally there is a lot of snow here and the biggest parking spot. You can kite here with all wind directions. And its suitable for beginners and more advanced. Easy to access the terrain behind.
You can expect some water around the edges of the lake or cracks with ice rocks because, the level of the lake is controlled. It is lowered after the lake has frozen. The part that is unsafe is marked with a fence around so, it’s not a problem to see it (although it’s always really small). It might be a good idea to stay away from this…
Lægreid and Ørteren are are split by the road on the end of the spot. The water level of Lægreid’s is not controlled and a a lot shallower than Ørteren (so it will be one of the first to freeze in the autumn). It’s a bit smaller than Ørteren, but has room enough.
The other side of the road: Lægreid is a great place to start if you want to do longer trips to Tuva, Ustaoset or Geilo. Here the Redbull Ragnarok is held three times behind each other. You can kite here with all wind directions. Parking on the other side of the road.
Fagerheim / Lappestein
Next stop is a great freestyle place between Lappestein and Fagerheim. The best kite spots are found on the lakes ‘Little’ and ‘Store’ Krækkjavann or around the weather station at Lappestein. All directions work, but North west and south west are the best, since the wind will come through the valley. Usually there are three parking areas along the road. A lot of people start here cross-country skiing to their cabins or for a trip with the dogsleds.
Båtstjørn is a lake 1 km west of Fagerheim . You can kite here with any wind direction and with all skill levels,. From beginners on the lake and more experienced on the surrounding terrain.
Halne can be a great spot when the wind is right. That means North West, West , South West, Soputh , South East, East. On the south side of the road the spot consists of the lake (Halnefjorden) and on the other side of the road, the north side some great terrain riding. You can park along the road and at Halne Fjellstue (the lodge), but make sure to ask for permission first. Big mountains on the north side, which tend to make many of the wind directions gusty. Not an easy spot.
A great spot for all kiters, Skulevika is located in a small valley, going east from Skiftesjøen towards Haugastøl. Skulevika is also a great place to start if you want to do trips going south on the plateau. All wind directions are fine. Although the valley is South West – North East so that are the most used wind directions here. Parking directly on the spot. You can also set up on the other side of the road, where some great mountains await you.
In my opinion one of the best! And perfect for beginners on the lake and for the more experienced riders there is a mountain and some terrain around. At Skiftesjøen the lake is shallow, so the ice freezes early, and the rolling hills surrounding the lake are perfect for snowkiting. When the winds are from the east, the wind speed tends to be stronger here and in Dyranut compared to Ørteren and the other spots on the east side of the plateau. You can kite here with all of the wind directions J And the mountain is nice to fly off! J Parking is directly on the spot.
Although you can go with all wind directions to Dyranut, wind coming from the east is really good! This spot looks like Skiftesjøen, also with few rocks around. On the south side of the road there is a small lake perfect for beginners. The north side of the trerrain is more for the experienced riders. There tends to be wind on the ridges in the north than on the lake to the south. If the tourist cabin is open you have to ask for permission to park on the parking spot there. Otherwise park, but completely off the road… the snow trucks are big… Or the village, not in winter time before is a small parking which is more flat and easy to start. You can kite straight down in the valley. (make sure you have enough wind to come back again )
After Dyranut the terrain starts falling towards Eidfjord and the Hardangerfjord. Makes it perfect for some falling wind coming from the east. Along this spots/ places are not to many (or somedays none) parking spaces. There also tends to be less snow than higher up in the mountains/plateau, and a few more rocks sticking out. On a light wind or now wind day it’s definitely worth a drive to look for wind or just to enjoy the scenery!
Have fun and enjoy your snowkiting on the Hardangervidda in Norway!! Hope you guys will have some great days overthere.