The Vast Scale of Swedish Nordic Skiing: Discover Bruksvallarna
Look for Bruksvallarna, Sweden on a map, and you’ll have to get out your magnifying glass. The tiny village of 75 full-time residents is a speck amidst the massive, largely uninhabited county of Jämtland. Surrounded by miles upon miles upon miles of uninhabited wilderness and agricultural land, you could almost be forgiven for calling Bruksvallarna the middle-of-nowhere. But talk to any cross country ski buff, Scandinavian skier, or local of the area, and you’ll quickly learn that this little Swedish town is a capital in the country’s Nordic scene. In the birth region of cross country skiing, this is saying something.
The action revolves around the Bruksvallarna Nordic Center, which is just a stone’s through from the heart of the village. Not only is this one-of-a-kind ski area a dream destination for elite skiers from across the world, the scale and quality of the terrain is enough to excite even the most casual weekend warriors. Through careful planning and decades of experience, the folks at Bruksvallarna manage to offer a ski experience on terrain that’s not only radically interesting, varied and challenging, but also incredibly accessible and accommodating to skiers of all abilities.
This balance is all the more impressive when you take into account their astonishing 300 km of groomed trails, plus an additional 450 km of ungroomed backcountry trails. The groomed trails are wide and well-planned, with plenty of corduroy for skating and solid sidetracks for classic skiing. A thorough system of signs makes it tough to get lost, while a ski bus runs from end to end of the trail network to enable ambitious point-to-point skijoring adventures. For a ten-dollar day pass, that practically endless expanse is yours to explore.
Of course, being in the middle of the Scandinavian hinterlands, getting to Bruksvallarna takes a bit of travelling. Trondheim is the closest large airport, just a three-hour bus ride northwest of Bruksvallarna, on the other side of the Norwegian border; be sure to soak in some of the breathtaking sights of this historic Fjord-side city before heading east to Jämtland.
Where to stay
Though it’s a small village, the Bruksvallarna area is built to accommodate the annual influx of winter visitors. There are several top quality cottage rentals (at Pensionat Strandgarden and Skoogs Logi—both of which offer easy access to Bruksvallarna trail system) as well as a nice selection of classic Nordic inns and B&B’s.
The Hotell Funäsdalen, for instance, preserves a retro Swedish lodge-style with updated, modern accommodations. Though most of these spots are in the slightly larger village of Funäsdalen, just six miles southeast of Bruksvallarna, the trail networks are so expansive that all the nearby villages and natural beauty are easily accessed from wherever one might stay. Indeed, in the early months of Spring—when Bruksvallarna is widely known as being of the last bastions of good skiing—the snow can melt and freeze so perfectly that the plains between groomed trails become a hard enough crust to skate ski across. During that window, the expansive tundra becomes an endless wonderland for skiers to explore.
But whenever you might visit Bruksvallarna—even if it’s outside of the ski season—you can look forward to an unparalleled array of trails, lofty outlooks, thrilling climbs and drops: thrilling whether they are hiked, biked or skied. Best of all, though, is the gracious Swedish hospitality that will introduce you to all this remote slice of the North has to offer.