Where the pros go for snow: Skiing in Scandinavia

Mattias has taken us off the beaten tracks on the slopes of Ramundberget in Sweden.

We’re traversing down the north side of the mountain, past brooks and birch trees whose branches hang heavy with freshly fallen snow.

Ramundberget is one of the resorts and towns that make up the Swedish ski area of Funasfjallen.

Thanks to the early snowfall, it’s become a treasured training destination for alpine and cross-country teams who also benefit from lifts and slopes that are hardly overrun by people.

The Alps may offer longer runs, more glamor and glitz, but skiing in Scandinavia is often a laid-back alternative with well-prepared conditions for both families and adventurous pros.

Fewer fashion statements and partying; more friendly faces, solitude that lets you appreciate nature and — in the case of Funasfjallen — gastronomy that punches the weight of a small fjall, or hill, destination.

Apres ski may be an afterthought around these parts, but when we carve our way through Ramundberget’s impressive network of slopes, intertwined with patches of forest, we find a lunch spot unlike any other.

Tusen (which means “thousand” and refers to the altitude we’re at) is located a short glide from the lifts and looks like a decapitated cone clad in birch trunks.

Its award-winning architecture is inspired by traditional Sami tents, with the birch logs offering shelter from howling icy winds and providing a facade that blends in with the natural surroundings.

At the bottom of our forest off-piste run, we join up with the cross-country tracks that guide us back to Ramundberget’s lifts.

Olympic heroes

Located three hours’ drive from Olso airport, Trysil is Norway’s biggest ski resort and an ideal location for family vacations.

There are more than 70 kilometers of slopes running down three sides of the Trysil mountain, and the cozy cabins scattered around the bottom of the hill offer accommodation with front-door access to skiing.

Riksgransen (Sweden)

Skiing in Scandinavia is cool, and it gets really cool in Riksgransen.

It’s on the Swedish border with Norway, 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, making it Europe’s most northerly resort.

The location gives it the benefit of late-season skiing in May and a midnight sun that lights up runs for evening skiing.

Stranda (Norway)

A place for less ordinary skiing.

Yes, there are alpine terrain and cross country tracks in Stranda, but it’s the drops, jumps and powder adventures that attract off-piste enthusiasts.

The resort is located in what are known as the Sunnmors Alps, offering stunning scenery with mountain peaks scattered around like white Toblerone tops.

Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen is a freelance journalist and author based in Copenhagen who writes about all aspects of Nordic culture. He previously spent six years in London working for the Guardian.