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It's never too early for keen skiers to start thinking about their next snowsports adventure and with summer now officially behind us, thoughts do turn to winter breaks. Whilst the Alps have been seen to be suffering from the drastic effects of climate change in recent seasons, no such lack of the white stuff is prevalent if you head higher into the northern hemisphere. The relatively overlooked, yet excellent, resorts, of Sweden and Norway, offer superb conditions in uniquely beautiful situations. The small village of Beitostolen, half way between Bergen and Oslo, (about 4 hours drive either way) is one such gem. Although the mountains are not staggering here, the charm and simplicity of the surroundings more than makes up for lack of height. The one thing you want most from a ski resort, snow, is here in abundance. From November through to May, every year without fail, Beitostolen will be picture-postcard pretty as it buries itself under masses and masses of wonderful, powdery, fluffy, perfect snow.

The second best thing about Beitostolen is the queues. It doesn't have them. Ski on and ski off is the order of the day, taking uncrowdedness to such a new level that it is akin to having your own private slopes. Which is not to say there is not much ski area and 3 chairlifts, a T-bar and five button pomas give access to 12 different pistes, covering 21 km, two of those are floodlit at night. Children have their own park and terrain, with a field set aside for snowmobiles for 6-12 year olds. More challenging ski-ing is available a short bus ride across the valley at the Raudalen Alpine Centre, where the chair lift goes up to 1,440 feet. You can go off-piste at Raudalen, renowned for its awesome powder, but it is highly advisable to go with a local guide.

Beitostolen's claim to fame is not in its downhill facilities, however charming and accessible they are; it is as a haven for cross-country skiers. With 320 km of groomed tracks through forest, past frozen lakes and through fairytale scenery, much of it in the Jotunheimen National park, the quantity and quality of choice here is astounding. Indeed, it is a World Cup arena and hosts many major competitions. Again, there is a long track which stays floodlit until 10pm. The main hotel is a Radissson BLU but there are generous scattering of well-appointed, log cabin type chalets.

Apart from ski-ing there are lots of other wintry activities on offer, from ice-fishing to husky sledding and of course there is always a chance you might get to see the spectacle of the dazzling Northern Lights "aurora Borealis". Food is simple and traditional, with pizza and tapas bars also featuring in the village. In keeping with most smaller places, it livens up considerably at the weekends, when recreational visitors pile in from the cities. This is when you will hear live music in the pubs and clubs, while during the week it is certainly quieter.

All in all, this makes for a magical retreat for families, where the slopes could have been designed to accommodate little people and there is enough variety and action for more accomplished members of the party too.

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