The giant of Scandinavia: 10 reasons to visit Åre, Sweden

The giant of Scandinavia: 10 reasons to visit Åre, Sweden

Located in central Sweden, Åre is perhaps the most highly touted ski area in Scandinavia. Below, find 10 reasons you need to stop what you’re doing and book a flight there today.

Henrik Windstedt blows up cold smoke during golden hour in Åre, Sweden. Photo: Mattias Fredriksson

1. Åre Östersund Airport

You can land at the airport—located about 53 miles from the ski area—in the morning and be clicked into your skis for almost a full day of shredding in just an hour. The airport is also committed to reducing carbon emissions, with all electricity powered by wind and a goal of zero emissions by 2020.

2. The Ski Resort

It’s the biggest in Scandinavia at 804 acres, with a monstrous aerial tram that whisks you to its 4,659-foot summit. The ski area offers everything from above treeline wind-buff to evenly spaced trees to race-course-like groomers and more, all overlooking the icy waters of Årejön, the expansive lake that borders town.

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3. The Terrain Parks

Skiers like Jon Olsson, Henrik Windstedt, Henrik Harlaut and Jesper Tjäder made names for themselves in Åre’s terrain parks—a testament to their excellence.

4. Sidecountry and Åreguiderna

The faces, chutes, cliffs and trees that make up Åre’s sidecountry terrain are legendary and the access is stupid-easy. Head out on your own (with a partner, equipment and proper knowledge) or enlist the aid of knowledgeable local guides, Åreguiderna.

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5. Food

If you’ve never feasted on the local cuisine of the Jämtland Härjedalen region—reindeer (sorry, Rudolph), arctic char, rainbow trout, fingerling potatoes, moose, mushrooms—you’re bound to say, “Det var gott!” (That’s delicious!)

6. Buustamons Distillery

Visit one of Sweden’s smallest legal distilleries, in the Rödkullen area at Åre. Drink any number of the 10 small-batch liquors produced inside the cabin-in-the-woods-esque establishment.

7. Afterski at Hotell Fjällgården

Afterski (après to the rest of us) at the Hotell Fjällgården—found near the top of the Bergbanan lift—features a rip-roaring good time of feet-stomping, dancing, cover bands and sing-alongs, all while still in your ski boots.

8. Bygett Nightclub

When it’s time to hit the town, drink (literal) buckets of Carlsberg and, to quote Earth, Wind and Fire, “let [the] groove set in your shoes” among fog machines and strobe lights. The Bygget is the ticket.

9. The Granen Hotel

You may raise your eyebrows at a hotel bar recommendation, but The Granen’s is the real deal. The hotel’s blazing fireplaces, tall bookcases, slopeside location and quaint rooms only add to The Granen’s rustic character.

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10. The History and Culture

Vikings and the Sami—an indigenous people of Scandinavia—used to inhabit the hillsides of Åre as far back as 1,000 years ago. Their influence is still felt in the region through artwork, cuisine, clothing, music, games and reindeer herding.

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