Riksgränsen ski resort
Situated on the cusp of the Arctic Circle, Riksgränsen is Sweden’s northernmost ski resort. Known as the spring skiing capital of Europe, the resort's latitude also means that it’s possible to ski here at midnight during the last few weeks of the season in May and for a few days when the centre re-opens during Midsummer in June – when there’s 24-hour daylight.
The resort receives plenty of natural snow each year, providing reliable season-long cover. Riksgränsen offers first-class skiing in well-prepared pistes, as well as great off-piste opportunities. It's very popular with freeriders and the snowboard and Telemark crowd, but it is also a great place for conventional downhill skiing, albeit on a more limited scale than other European resorts – particularly those in the Alps.
Off the slopes, there are limited activities due to the resort’s small and compact nature, but the thriving and friendly après-ski scene provides plenty of opportunities between ski days. An additional resort attraction is the chance to witness one of nature’s phenomena during the winter months, as the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) streak across the night sky.
Riksgränsen (meaning 'state border') is located in the very north of Sweden, just east of the Norwegian border, 132km (82 miles) from Kiruna in Sweden and 48km (30 miles) from Narvik in Norway.
RiksgränsenResort Elevation: 522m
Top Elevation: 909m
Base Elevation: 522m
On the slopes
Riksgränsen has a lot to offer all kinds of skiers. Beginners, intermediates and families in particular are well served by the wide slopes and the soft, copious layers of snow; and there is a ski school in the resort for those wishing to learn or to brush up on their skills.
While experts may find the conventional slopes too easy (there is only one black run), Riksgränsen is ideal for freeriding and has exceptional off-piste conditions. The large amounts of powdery snow and the wide-open terrain also make the mountain a popular destination for snowboarding.
There are 13 marked off-piste areas, and several of these are very difficult. One classic off-piste run goes from the top of Riksgränsen Mountain to Björnfjell train station on the Norwegian side (skiers then return to Riksgränsen by train/bus). There are also guided tours on mountaintops around Riksgränsen, for example; the Vassitjåkko, Rombakkstötta, Spanstind and Storfjället, which is dependent on weather and snow conditions.
Heli-skiing is also very popular and is among the best value in the world, with around 60,000-sq-km (23,166-sq-miles) of terrain to explore. Meanwhile, cross-country skiers can make use of plenty of trails or go backcountry with a guide.
The ski season in Riksgränsen ski resort runs from middle/end of February until late May and then re-opens for a few days during midsummer (late June), with skiing under the midnight sun available towards the end of the season.