Where to Ski and Snowboard in Are, Sweden
Are, Sweden Travel Guide
Sweden's largest single resort, Are, is spread out along the frozen Lake Aresjon. The location is reminiscent of St Moritz but much more distant. Are is a charming community, with traditional wooden buildings painted in the usual russets and yellows. Far from the slopes, the distinct main square, where a dozen or more restaurants have risen, is the central point.
The resort is divided into four areas - Duved, Tegefjall, Are and Are Bjbrnen - having almost 100 pistes. The 40 lifts include Sweden's only cable-car. A great deal of the skiing is easy, but there are challenges as well, including the Slalombacken, the Skogis run through the forest at Bjornen and a World Cup downhill course. There are 17 mountain eateries to choose from. Highly recommended are Ulladalsstugan and Hummelstugan. Want some snack with a difference? Head to the bottom of Stendalen where you are likely to discover Lapps serving reindeer burgers, sandwiches, coffee and pastries from benches right in front of their goahtes (tepees).
The Hotel Diplomat Aregarden is in the heart of Are and near the lifts, shops, restaurants and bars. Other good hotels include the Holiday Club situated by the lake, the slope-side Fjallgarden and the Park Inn Tott.
The Swedes have been reported as the world champions of apres ski and Are projects it at its most effervescent, as a visit to the likes of the Diplomat or the Fjallgarden will confirm. Wersens Bar in the main square is also worth a visit. From late December until mid-March, there's night skiing as well.
The best restaurant would be the Villa Tottebo, a cozy old hunting lodge. The fish is excellent, and the reindeer fillet is a specialty. Sweden's most northerly ski area is very close to Norway that you can ski across the border. Due to its position, on the north-west tip of Swedish Lapland, Riksgransen's ski season doesn't really start until February when there are adequate daylight hours. Nearly 250km beyond the Arctic Circle, this isn't your normal resort - a devoted off-piste venue having little activity off the slopes. There are 19 groomed runs - with names like Lammeln (Lemming) and Fjallraven (Arctic Fox) - but Riksgransen is known primarily for its off-piste. Snowboarders rate it quite high.
Most apres-ski action occurs at the only hotel, the Riksgransen, which is the resort. You'll find a bar, snooker, bands, large dance floor, DJ and live music at weekends, plus the award-winning Lapplandia restaurant, with terrific views across the lake.
Technically Sweden's biggest ski region, Sälen is a town with a mixture of ski areas nearby. The main resorts are Lindvallen, linked up with the smaller resort of Hogfjallet, and two linked resorts close by: Tandadalen and Hundfjallet. Other local resorts include Stoten and Klappen.
The resorts rest along the crest of a long ridge, with most of the runs going down in the same direction to the valley floor. Most of the trails are perfect for intermediates, but there are more than 30 black runs spread out through the region, including the steep Wall at Hundfjallet.
Lindvallen has the dubious reputation of having the world's first ski-in, ski-out McDonald's. Aside from Big Macs, there's a delightful view from the Snogubben (Snowman) restaurant at the top of Gustavbacken, the most popular slope in Sweden and seasonal home to what Lindvallen claims is the biggest snowman in the world. At Tandadalen, Wardshus gives diners a ringside view of some of the most rugged slopes. Eat as much lamb, pork and beef as you want at the Lammet och Grisen in Lindvallen. Don't miss the magnificent Radhuset - a rustic restaurant with oak tables and fine dining near the slopes at Hogfjallet.
The slope-side 106-room Hogfjalls Hotel is considered the smartest place to stay. It has a spa, several bars, an great sushi-and-seafood place, plus two other restaurants.
Some of Sweden's most notable bands show up at the Wardshus in Lindvallen, while at Hogfjallet skiers and boarders head for Vintertradgarden.