Extreme skiing in Riksgränsen
Brothers Olle and Carl Regnér have a need for speed. They travel the world competing in freeskiing competitions, a specific type of alpine skiing that involves tricks, jumps and other obstacles – and they have several medals to show for it.
One of their favorite places is Riksgränsen, a ski resort in Swedish Lapland, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, where they have competed numerous times in the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships, the oldest extreme skiing competition in the world.
“The place is super genuine and untouched,” says Olle. “All of the focus is on skiing, which is great. What brings us back is that it’s such a fun competition, with stunning skiing and a smashing banquet after the races.”
Carl Regnér, who won the Men’s Alpine class event at Riksgränsen in 2015, agrees with his older brother. “Everything is super accessible,” he says. “As soon as you get off the lift you can easily access all kinds of off-piste skiing for all levels and there is terrain for everyone.”
Facts about Riksgränsen
Off-piste: A lot!
Ski season: February 24–May 28
Lodging: Meteorologen Ski Lodge. Hotell Riksgränsen. Hostel Riksgränsen
Get to Riksgränsen: Fly from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Kiruna. Transfer by bus from Kiruna to Riksgränsen.
Patrik Strömsten, who’s been twice voted as Sweden’s best sommelier, has a ski lodge and restaurant called Meteorologen at Riksgränsen. The restaurant serves a three-course meal that changes every night. The wine list contains over 500 different wines. At the ski lodge, which has 14 rooms, skiers get the best possible experience.
“We only have beds from Hästens since you need a good night’s sleep to be able to ski the next day,” says Strömsten. “Our restaurant has a high ambition level but instead of serving 32 courses we focus on serving food for skiers. After a long day on the slopes, you need a good plate of well-prepared food.”
Looking at a map, you might think that Riksgränsen is way too far to go for a ski holiday. But once you get to Stockholm Arlanda Airport, SAS can get you from the airport to the slopes in less than four hours.
Riksgränsen doesn’t have any floodlights, so they don’t open the slopes until February 24. Before then, the sun doesn’t reach the horizon anyway. But on the other hand, the sun never sets during the spring, so night skiing takes on a whole new meaning.
“People come to Riksgränsen is because it’s a natural ski resort,” says Strömsten. “We don’t have any snow cannons so you don’t have to deal with icy slopes, and there aren’t any lines at the lifts.”
Text: Amanda Hjelm
Published: January 23, 2017