Do winter properly with snow, a chill in the air, ski touring, the crunch of the snow under your boots and a new winter hiking favourite. All framed by majestic fells, as accessible as they are stately. High-class living, enjoyable meals and relaxation for mind and body. All this is what makes Grövelsjön and the Grövelsjön fells (Grövelsjöfjällen) a real jewel for those who want to escape the everyday for a weekend away with an extra dash of winter.
Lars Ericson of the Grövelsjön Tourist Association starts doing the maths. During his time as a hotel owner in Grövelsjön, they have had an average snowfall of around 3.5 metres.
“When we bought the hotel, I rang up the guy who kept the weather records in Grövelsjön and asked him how many times they had had a winter here without snow. In his 48 years, not a single one,” Lars chuckles.
In other words, in Grövelsjön you’re more or less guaranteed a good blanket of snow – perfect for anyone dreaming of a proper winter wonderland.
“Here, you’ll find snow, snow, snow and more snow, with a chill in the air, tall snow banks and a crunch under foot. A clear starry sky also adds a really nice touch, and you might even spot the Northern Lights which we get here from time to time.”
The trend was spotted well before the pandemic. People were yearning to live closer to nature, to have a more peaceful and stripped-back existence, far away from the stress of the city where you can never truly disconnect. In Grövelsjön, they found what they were looking for and it’s a trend that has only gained more traction since the pandemic. Lars also gets the sense that this longing for the sort of laid-back, close-to-nature winter experiences the area is known for will only increase.
Winter hiking done properly
Tour skiing and cross-country skiing are already firmly established, popular activities in Grövelsjön. Helped in no small part by the 10 miles of well-prepared, high-standard trails. Getting straight out onto the slopes and just breathing in the surroundings or skiing on well-prepared cross-country routes truly is chicken soup for the soul.
Equally, more and more people are exploring nature and the mountains on foot, even during winter. This type of winter hiking is becoming ever more popular, as the demand for walking trails through wintry surroundings grows.
“We’re also seeing a huge increase in the demand for being able to get out and explore wintry landscapes without skis. So winter hiking is an option that people really appreciate. Above all, it’s attracting a lot of people who just want to get up close to the mountains, to experience the snow and the winter without having to exert themselves.”
Having the option of going on a winter hike is also a welcome alternative for couples or groups where one person is perhaps injured, or can’t or simply doesn’t want to go skiing but still wants the proper outdoor winter experience.
“Or maybe you want to get out on your skis for five days out of a week, but want to spend one day hanging out at the hotel. In that case, you can just chill out a bit, read, have a coffee and a cake, take a walk and then wind up in the sauna or take a dip in the hot tub. You don’t just come here to ski, you want to have several activities to choose from.”
An extra wintry winter weekend
Last year, a wintry walking trail starting in Storsätra was trialled.
“More and more people were asking where they could go walking and we discovered that some had even started walking on the skiing trails. Which we obviously don’t want, they’re just for skiers. So we created a separate hiking loop that proved enormously popular. Now we’re working on two more trails, one up to the STF Mountain Station and one by Lövåsgården. That way, you can head out on a winter hike in the middle of Grövelsjön, or at either end of the area,” says Lars.
He believes the reason so many people have been drawn to Grövelsjön is down to the area being so unique as it has managed to retain its authenticity and cosy charm, and at the same time offer great service.
“But then again, we are also the southernmost and most accessible mountain area in Sweden. Our mountains are not exactly Alpine, we’re only around 800 metres above sea level. When you come here, you get the views and you get to properly experience the landscape itself.”
So anyone looking to properly experience winter should take a look at Grövelsjön. The season is also long and accommodation is often available all the way to the end of April. Towards the end of the season is also when the region’s fifth season, a so-called spring-winter, tends to offer perhaps the most enjoyable days of all. Skiing on névé snow, enjoying the winter sun with a pair of skiing goggles and packing a proper tasty lunch.
In other words, a winter weekend in Grövelsjön delivers on all fronts, especially the wintry one.