In January, Ben, Hannah, Maggie and I visited two Scandinavian resorts just an hour apart. Stöten in Sweden only joined our programme last winter while Trysil in Norway has been one of our most popular Scandinavian resorts for many years. So how do they compare?
Both resorts are accessed by Oslo airport which is just a two hour flight from most major UK airports. From there, the resorts can be reached by transfer or car hire, with the journey taking 2 hours 20 minutes to Trysil and 2 hours 45 minutes to Stöten.
Verdict: Trysil is slightly closer, but only by 25 minutes. Both resorts are very quick and easy to access from the UK, so perfect for a short break or family holiday without the hassle.
Stöten is the most compact ski resort I've ever visited - in a good way! If you're staying at the Stöten Ski Hotel, Stöten Mitt or Pistbyn then everything you need is less than a 10-minute walk - the slopes, ski school, restaurants, bars, pool and supermarket. No need for a car and it couldn't be easier to navigate.
In Trysil, things are a bit different as there are two resort bases - Turistsenter and Hoyfjellssenter - each with its own Radisson Blu hotel which is where most of our customers stay.
If staying at the Radisson Blu Resort (Turistsenter) then everything is an easy walk away and there's more choice for eating out in the evening. If staying at the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort (Høyfjellssenter) you'll typically be on half board as, even though the hotel is ski-in ski-out, you'll need to catch a bus to visit the grocery store and restaurants.
Verdict: The facilities in each resort are comparable, with a pool and spa complex in each and everything within easy reach. But, for unrivalled convenience and no need to catch a bus or even a lift, Stöten just edges it for me.
It's worth noting that if you're staying at the Mountain Resort then you do need to catch a bus to ski school as the lifts don't start running until 9 am.
We were very lucky with the snow conditions in both resorts as the region was having its best year for snowfall since the 1960s! With snow falling each night this meant a nice layer of soft, fresh snow on the piste each morning and plenty of untouched snow in the trees.
Both resorts excel in terrain for all abilities. In Stöten, you'll find a green or blue run from the top of every lift, in Trysil from all of the lower lifts. This makes them both ideal for beginners and early intermediates to explore the whole resort, and for mixed ability groups to catch the same lift up, ski their preferred run and meet again at the bottom.
Stöten's piste map may look quite small, but something we didn't realise before we travelled is that all the terrain between the marked pistes is also skiable, with easily accessible tree skiing available to all abilities - even complete beginners. The trees to the left of the resort are so spaced out, and the gradient so gentle, that it's ideal for your first powder turns. As you move along the resort, the pitch gets steeper and the trees closer together - so even though there are only a couple of marked black runs, there is plenty of fun to be had off the piste.
Trysil has a much larger ski area with plenty of groomed black runs and tree skiing in the Høgegga area. On a clear powder day, the runs down from the top are fantastic. The number of green runs at each base rivals any resort in the world so it's ideal for beginners who want a bit of variety while learning.
Verdict: While I had a great time on the slopes in Stöten, most intermediate and above skiers would ski the whole resort in a few days, so Trysil wins for a larger ski area and more difficult terrain.
An extra mention must go to how quiet it was in Stöten, whole runs without seeing another person and not a lift queue in sight. While it was also quiet in Trysil the main lifts did see some queuing and the most popular runs did see some crowding - but it was a weekend!
While I didn't have any ski lessons myself, the feedback from customers at both resorts is always excellent.
Louise Baugh was impressed in Stöten: "Ski instructors were brilliant; we had two family ski sessions and one snowboard lesson and the instructors were patient and helpful with excellent English. The best we've experienced to date."
Meanwhile, Sarah Wood had this to say about Trysil: "The tuition is a really high standard and feels personal even when you're in an adult group lesson. Our instructor (Erik Jacobsson) was fantastic and as always, there is absolutely no language barrier in Norway - their English is perfect and when you're trying to perfect your technique, that can be invaluable."
Ben did have ski lessons in Stöten as it was his first time skiing real snow, he described his experiences as a first time skier back in March.
Verdict: From what we saw, it's hard to pick a clear winner - you can expect just as good a learning experience at either resort.
Flexibility is key in both Stöten and Trysil, which makes them ideal for families and mixed groups. No matter the size or makeup of your party, you'll find accommodation to suit - connecting hotel rooms, apartments, family suites and cabins are all available.
While we stayed in the Ski Hotel, I was particularly impressed by the Pistbyn apartments in Stöten (where Andy Hemingway stayed with his family later in the season). They couldn't be better equipped for two families, with two double rooms and a bunk room with four beds, plus large shared spaces.
In Trysil, we stayed at the Radisson Blu Resort and it couldn't be better for convenience. The ski lockers are found in the basement, with the door opening out onto the slopes and a button lift taking you up to the Turistsenter base area (if on foot it's a short walk or magic carpet ride). On-site, you'll find restaurants for all tastes plus an adventure pool, rock-climbing wall, surfing pool and bowling alley.
Verdict: Trysil wins for the facilities at the Radisson Blu Resort, but we're all considering going back to Stöten to stay at the Pistbyn!
With only two days in each resort, it's hard to do a true comparison but we did enjoy buffets at each - Brasseriet in Stöten and Hill's Breakfast & Buffet in Trysil. Both had a large selection with plenty to cater to all tastes and dietary requirements (including vegan and gluten free in our group). Stöten even had a separate buffet for kids on a lower table. Aside from the buffets, highlights included fine dining at Alvans in Stöten and delicious giant pizzas at La Piazza in Trysil.
Verdict: We didn't get to try it all, and while might Trysil win for variety, I was particularly impressed with the care that appeared to have gone into the menus in Stöten. Plus, the service everywhere we ate was always top notch.
If you've skied any of the more popular Scandinavian resorts you'll be familiar with Valle the Snowman. He's on-hand to help out with ski school, childcare and après ski for the kids. Stöten has its own mascot - Vargy (Wolfie in English).
Vargy performs much the same function as Valle - keeping kids happy! He even has his own après dance, which the ski instructors and locals all know well:
Verdict: Unfortunately, Vargy was hibernating as it was outside peak season so this one can only go to Valle who we met, hugged and skied with.
There's no clear winner here, we loved both resorts equally. Stöten is absolutely perfect for families and groups of beginners learning to ski, but anyone intermediate and above would only want to spend a long weekend or short break there. Trysil is a larger resort with more for all abilities, but powder hounds would probably still only enjoy a short break - perhaps as a warm-up to a trip further afield.
Speak to a Specialist
The jury is out on which is a clear winner - it all depends on your specific requirements. Talk to our experts who have first-hand knowledge of both. They’ll be able to help you reach an informed decision, whether here or in any of our other destinations.
To receive a price tailored to your requirements, request a quotation online or call our Scandinavian ski specialists on 01273 224068.