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Camilla's child-friendly ski holiday in Hovden

Snow-covered landscapes, beautiful skiing conditions, and peace and tranquillity in the mountains - perfect for a winter adventure far away from both everyday life and Danish winter weather. At least that's what Camilla and her husband Stefan thought when they were invited on a ski holiday in Norway. Read the article and steal the family's packing list.

Camilla grew up going on ski holidays as a child, so it was not difficult for her to say yes when the question of going to Norway came up. Her husband didn’t have quite the same experience, but he was on board with the idea when their friends invited them along on the trip with their two children, Anker aged 6, and Nellie aged 3 in mid-January.

With two demanding and inspiring jobs - Camilla as co-founder and Head of Brand & Marketing at Landfolk, and Stefan as a consultant - taking a break from everyday life where you can just spend time together as a family and experience something out of the ordinary is highly valued.

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Packing the car

How was the journey from Aarhus to Hovden?

We drove to Hirtshals, where we met our friends from Aalborg and took the ferry to Larvik together. The journey took four hours, and the kids played, getting off to a good start to the holiday together. We had packed driving snacks and lunch from home, but also bought some snacks on the ferry.

When we arrived in Larvik, we headed for Hovden Alpine Center. It was almost dark when we got off the ferry, and the drive took a total of 3.5 hours. We stopped at McDonald's on the way to have dinner. There was quite a bit of snow, but the roads had been cleared, and of course, we had winter tires on and snow chains in the car. We arrived around half past eight, and the kids were already asleep. It was easy to find the key and make the beds, and fortunately, our host had turned on the heat, so it wasn't freezing when we arrived.

Explore cabins in the mountain regions of Eastern Norway

What was the most important thing for you when choosing a holiday home in Norway?

That the cabin was close to a ski resort, had enough space for everyone, and a cosy living room where we could all hang out together.

Find the perfect ski destination for your family

What were the 3 things you appreciated most about the holiday home you visited?

That there was a large sofa where we could sit and hang out in the evenings together. Bunk beds for the children where they could also play and build forts. The proximity to the slopes with ski in/ski out.

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Kids on skis

You were on a skiing holiday. What preparations did you make before you travelled?

We booked ski rental and lift passes in advance on the Hovden Alpine Center website. It required knowing everyone's weight, height, and shoe size, but it also made it super easy to get on the slopes on the first day.

Our host had also given us great instructions on what equipment was available at the cabin, so we didn't need to pack more than the necessities. The kitchen actually had everything we needed, including a toaster, so we just brought our food.

Kids and adults often have different needs when on an active holiday. Do you have any advice on how to make the trip great for everyone?

It wasn't possible to book ski school for the kids when we were there, most likely because January isn't peak season, so we booked two private lessons of 90 minutes each for the two older boys. It turned out to be an excellent investment because already on the first day, they could ski down the green slopes – and I am convinced that we avoided some conflict by having other adults than us parents teach them. So, I would definitely recommend that.

With only two children, my husband and I could also easily divide ourselves between them, so we took turns skiing with our 3-year-old daughter. She found the first two days quite challenging and had shorter days than the others, so it was nice that one of us could drive home with her and do something fun there instead while the other stayed with our older son.

We used the children's slope a lot with our daughter, where you could ride up on something that looked like a conveyor belt and choose between two small descents. On one of them, there was a slalom course with animals and colours, which made it extra fun to navigate for the kids.

Downhill

What did your days look like?

The slopes opened at 9:30 AM, so we went down there between 9:30-10 AM. The earlier we went, the colder it was, so waiting until 10 AM suited us well. We skied until lunchtime and brought a cooler bag so we could eat in the lunchroom at the ski centre, where there were tables and benches. We brought bread and toppings, so we didn't have to make our lunches in the morning.

After lunch, we skied again until 4 PM when the slopes closed. In the entryway, we had underfloor heating, so everything dried and was ready for the next day. After changing out of our ski clothes, we made hot cocoa, the kids played, and we enjoyed games or watched cartoons while dinner was being prepared. It was nice to have more than just two adults to share the practical tasks, it gave us all a little break.

I was surprised that the kids weren't more tired in the evening. In fact, they went to bed at their usual bedtime around 7:30-8 PM, and it was nice that the older boys wanted to share bunk beds.

After the kids went to bed, us adults relaxed and talked, something we didn't have much time for during the day. Two of the days, one of the slopes offered evening skiing with lights, so two of us adults went back to the slopes and had a few good runs.

Family.

What is your favourite thing to spend your time on when you are away together?

Just being together from morning to evening was wonderful. I loved being able to ski down some of the long green slopes with our son the last two days when he really got the hang of it. It was a fantastic feeling to zoom down and see the joy on his face when we reached the bottom.

Where do you dream of travelling to next?

We're actually going back to Norway in March because I've gifted my husband a long weekend in Eggedal, where we're going cross-country skiing. I'm really looking forward to it, both because I've never tried cross-country skiing before and because it's just me and him going on a trip together. We've never travelled abroad without our children. Usually, we like to spend the summer vacation in Denmark, but there are so many great "stugor" on Landfolk that I dream of experiencing, so maybe Sweden will be this year's summer destination.

At the cabin

Packing List

Your winter adventure in the mountains gets even better if you remember everything you need to be comfortable, and to make that as easy as possible for you, Camilla has shared the family’s packing list – so you can be inspired to what items should be on your very own list.

The cabin trip

  • Ski pants and jackets for the adults
  • Winter suits for the children
  • Ski socks (two pairs for the children)
  • Thermal underwear (one set each)
  • Neck warmer
  • Thin hat to wear under the helmet
  • Mittens
  • Ski goggles (we only used them the one day it snowed)
  • A set of regular clothes in addition to underwear
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Swimwear in case the children didn't want to ski at all one of the days, but we didn't need it
  • Thermos to bring coffee or hot cocoa on the go
  • Cooler bag (for lunch at the lunchroom by the slopes)
  • Toys (we brought some magnet tiles, paper and colours, Pokémon cards, figures)
  • Books (primarily bedtime stories for the children)
  • Duvet for the car
  • Winter boots (for playing in the snow)
  • Fun games, such as Partners and Uno

Read the article about 7 things you should know before going on a ski trip in Norway

For the car

  • Toys
  • Books
  • Snacks
  • Duvet
  • Music
  • Pillow
  • Chains

Meal plan

  • Tartelettes
  • Pasta Bolognese
  • Lasagna

In addition to this, we bought hot dog buns and breakfast products, milk, rye bread, spreads, vegetables, fruits, and snacks from home.

Guro Sofie Ulsaker Nordahl
Written by Guro Sofie Ulsaker NordahlFebruary 2024
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