Independent cross country skiing holiday in Norway

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Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Independent cross country skiing holiday in Norway

UK Office
We are well aware of the impact tourism has at home and abroad, and we make every effort to balance the environmental impact of travelling with the immense benefits sustainable tourism can bring to destinations and the people who live there.

So we start in the office: we turn off all electrical equipment every night; we use energy-efficient bulbs; we measure print and paper consumption, and re-cycle wherever possible; we print our brochures on paper from sustainable sources, and send them out in bio-degradable packaging.

Leaders & local suppliers
This holiday is run on our behalf by hotel owners, Lars and Haldis Tvete – they take the title as having been our longest serving cross country ski suppliers, as they ran our very first cross country ski week, back in 1989!

Cross country skiing in Venabu
We avoid crowded downhill resorts, seeking out instead incredibly pretty, off-the-beaten-track mountain villages where life continues as it has for centuries. When hand-picking where to stay, we choose small, family-run hotels, offering great regional cuisine, run by owners who take a genuine interest in their guests.

Originally a summer farm, the VenabuFjellhotel was the very first hotel to appear in our Snow programme 25 years ago, and guests continue to return year after year! Run by the super-friendly Tvete family, it enjoys a magnificently isolated location on the edge of the Rondane National Park where, historically, cross country skiing is the main form of transport during the winter months. This is the traditional heart of Norway – totally untouched by tourism.

In the hotel, every effort is made to operate in harmony with your surrounds, minimising any negative impact on the environment: where possible, everything from paper to food waste is re-cycled; the chef uses locally sourced products (where possible – it is very remote here, so some importing is necessary!) and works with local farmers; eco-friendly toiletries and cleaning fluids are the norm, and all renovation work over the last couple of decades has been in keeping with local styles, and using locally sourced materials.

Group size
There are no minimum group sizes on any of our snow holidays, so you can book in confidence that your holiday will definitely go ahead. Typically our holidays attract 6-10 people per departure so, by keeping our footprint small, you can rest assured you will always be treated as an individual, rather than a just a number making up a large group.

Activity
Both cross country skiing and snow shoeing are easy to learn and you’re very much in touch with nature and your environment – just breathing in the crisp clean air feels good! When we are out on skis, we make sure we leave no human trace, and our leaders ensure that wildlife are not disturbed in any way.

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