Cross-country Skiing: Venabu

8 days
$1,545 USD
Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 11 reviews >
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Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Cross-country skiing
Min age:
Group size:

Cross-country skiing in the Norwegian wilderness

Snow-sure and picturesque, the traditional Norwegian hamlet of Venabu sees cross-country skiers returning for that ‘away from the crowds’ experience year after year. A short distance from Lillehammer, this stunning destination sits on the edge of the Rondane National Park, looking down on the Gudbransdalen Valley. Here the dramatic landscape ranges from spectacular gorges and snow-capped peaks to pretty fells and valleys that extend to the horizon.


  • Enjoy cross-country skiing in remote wilderness
  • Ski safaris available 24th February until 17th March (payable locally and subject to minimum numbers)
  • A snow-sure resort with skiing from the hotel doorstep
  • Sample traditional Norwegian dishes

Key information

  • 7 nights en suite hotel
  • 6 days guided cross-country skiing
  • Cross-country skiing Grades 1-3 Beginners to Intermediates. 
  • Grade 4 Advanced weeks available 24/2; 3/3; 10/3; 17/3 when hotel offers ski-safaris (pay locally). These weeks are still suitable for grades 1-3
  • Cross-country skis, poles and boot hire included

What's included

  •  All meals
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Cross-country ski hire and maps
  • One yoga lesson

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Start Venabu

    A private bus is sent from the hotel to Oslo Airport which collects all clients and transfers to Venabu (3hrs) in time for dinner. We recommend all clients arrive in time to join the group transfer. We have a brief introduction to the hotel and the ski room with briefing about the week's programme and equipment given to clients.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Morning tuition with our local instructors. The afternoon is free to practise on your own

    The first two days are usually to help learn the principles of walking and gliding on snow, and extra tuition is available on selected departures. Tuition is given by our local ski guide in the morning, followed by a short ski tour in the local area before returning for late lunch (at 2-3 pm). The late afternoon is free for independent skiing. Maps are provided so you won't get lost.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cross-country ski tour with tuition.

    This morning we head out on another ski tour around Venabu, our guide will observe what we have mastered and see where techniques can be improved. During the ski tour there will be further tuition to help us improve on what we have learnt. The late afternoon is free for independent practice and you can also book extra private lessons with one of the local instructors (paid locally). On one afternoon there will also be a group lesson with focus on hill techniques available (booked and paid locally).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Ski tour with our instructors. Choose between shorter or longer tours. You can also ski independently.

    Another day of cross-county skiing, either independently or on one of our ski tours.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day for the snowshoeing or skiing independently

    Wednesday is a free day, when most clients choose to take part in the snowshoeing tour. Equipment is included and it is a great way to relax and enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the Norwegian forest. Alternatively you may choose to head out and ski independently. Remember maps are provided so you won't get lost.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 6-7

    Ski independently or with the group on one of our ski tours.

    For the last two days of the week we ski out with our guides to explore the beautiful Norwegian landscape. Afternoons are free to travel further as your confidence grows.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Venabu

    After breakfast, we transfer to Oslo Airport.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



No visa required for British passport holders.



There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included.
The food is all traditional Norwegian cuisine. Breakfast is a continental buffet with the highlight being the selection of tasty local cheeses. You can have the choice of a buffet lunch with a hot meal or a picnic lunch to have whilst you take in the spectacular scenery.
Dinner will either consist of an extensive hot and cold buffet or a set dinner. On Wednesday there is a special Norwegian buffet.

For New Year’s Eve champagne and a special four-course meal with cheese and dessert buffet will be served.


Venabu is a snow sure destination. It is situated at 932m and the maximum height in which we ski is at 1200m. The average snow depths varies from 70cm - 120cm. Winter temperatures in Venabu can be cold (as low as minus 15/20°C or more), particularly between mid-December and mid-February, and whilst you won't feel this as much when exercising, you must bring appropriate clothing and equipment to keep you warm and comfortable.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is operated by our sister company, Headwater, who offer more flexibility, so you can ski as much or as little as you like. There are some subtle differences between the way Exodus and Headwater trips run which may appeal to you:

Minimum age: children over the age of 6 are welcome to join as long as they are able to participate in the skiing.
No minimum group size: departures are not subject to a minimum group size in order to run, although occasionally a ‘small group’ or ‘sole traveller’ supplement may apply.
Sole travellers: if travelling on your own a compulsory single supplement will apply (unless stated otherwise - look out for dates where there is no charge for single rooms).
Group leader/evenings: the hotel’s ski guides will ski with you during the day, yet they may not join you in the evenings; there are no ‘group’ dinners and parties tend to dine separately. The hotel will also help you to arrange other activities.
Insurance: insurance details are required at the time of booking.

Cross-country skiing is an increasingly popular winter pastime. Compared to those used for downhill, the skis are longer, thinner and lighter with bindings that allow you to lift up your heel. Most cross-country skiing is undertaken on prepared tracks (loipe) covering flat and hillier terrain enabling you to explore the winter landscapes away from the confines of the alpine piste. Guided ski tours are usually in the mornings, arriving back before lunch so that the afternoon can be spent for people requiring extra tuition or shorter tours. Please note that ski tours will be shared with other guests staying at the Venabu Fjellhotel (non Exodus and Headwater clients).

The area is one of the best in Norway for cross-country skiing, both for families and for those who enjoy a challenge. All weeks are suitable for beginner to intermediate grade cross-country skiers; the weeks from 24th February - 17th March are also suitable for advanced skiers (please see below). Please check the grade of skiing that applies to your selected week via our website:

Beginners and Intermediate:
The Venabu Fjellhotel will provide two to three ski guides each week (depending on group size) to cater for different ability levels; these tours are shared with other clients from Venabu Fjellhotel and are suitable for beginners to intermediate.

There will be an accompanied ski tour every day (excluding the free day - usually Wednesday and the arrival/departure day, usually Saturday). You can switch between groups mid-week as you progress. The first two days (usually Sun and Mon) are a chance for beginners to learn the basic technique and for intermediate and advanced skiers to find their ski legs again, as well as for the ski guides to assess your ability and group you accordingly. There will be optional ski tours every day, except Wednesday which you can join as you please. On Wednesday snowshoe tours will be offered.

On departures from 24th February - 17th March, in addition to the normal cross-country skiing programme optional ski safaris will be available for more advanced skiers which can be booked and paid for locally (NOK150 per person per tour, subject to minimum of 5).

These guided ski safari tours are entirely optional and comprise roughly 50% off-track skiing, covering 20-30km over 6-8hours, enabling you to reach more remote areas.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Venabu Fjellhotel

The Venabu Fjellhotel has been run by the friendly Tvete family for over 50 years, and owing to its traditional charm and quiet location, it is a relaxing place to stay. There are 20 standard rooms housed within the east wing, or if you prefer you can upgrade (for a supplement) to one of the more spacious 36 superior west wing rooms. The hotel's saunas and ski waxing centre are free for everyone to use. There’s also a bar, a games room (table tennis, pool, etc), a TV room, craft shop and two spacious sitting rooms with open fireplaces. The dining room - which offers a spectacular Scandinavian buffet - affords glorious panoramic views out across the mountains.

One yoga session is held most days either in the morning or in the evening, typically 5 days a week. You are entitled to one complimentary session during your stay. After this, additional sessions are payable locally.

Room Upgrades:
Room upgrades may be available on request for a supplement; prices start from £10 per person per night (£70pp for the tour duration). Prices are based on 2 people sharing, and are subject to availability; please enquire at the time of booking for further details and prices.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries


Celebrate the 2018 Winter Olympics by taking part in a challenge of your own.

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Alison Brind

    venabu cross country skiing

    Well organised easy going cross country skiing in really friendly hotel with excellent food and facilities. Excellent cross country ski guides - highly adaptable to needs of group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snow shoe trip to wonderful frozen waterfall

    What did you think of your group leader?

    No one leader. Ski guides organised us with no fuss

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on this trip for relaxing cross country skiing

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want challenging skiing don't go on beginners week
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Hugh Price

    Lovely area, great Hotel, excellent food and great gudes

    If you are into cross country skiing or want to learn this is a great choice. The guides are very good and extremely helpful. The atmosphere is excellent and the fact the guides return so often speaks volumes. The hotel is comfortable and warm, the rooms are not stylish but are good, upgrade id you want a bigger one. The food is very good and a wide variety available for all tastes. The staff are very friendly and helping the environment and love of the area is as important as profit at this family run hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sunrise on the Rondane NP Mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There wasn't one! All the guides helped the guests and no specific leader was needed. There are guests from Germany, Norway, Netherlands and GB and it worked just fine.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mitts not Gloves definitely. Take layers but you don't need too much kit as you exercise so much. Buffs are good

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The guides are really flexible and we had 3 days of snowshoeing one being a full day ascent.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Alison Raynes

    Alison - Venabu Cross Country skiing

    A great introduction to cross country skiing in Scandinavia. The hotel ski guides were really helpful and sorted us out on the waxing which we had never done before. The hotel was good - free tea and coffee at all times made it feel very homely. Buffets were excellent with plenty of choice.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably 2 inspirational moments - we had good displays of the Northern Lights - which was a real bonus & also on a ski safari the guide persuaded us to "climb" on skis to a hill top 300 feet above the ski track. We had fantastic views and a great ski back down - which I had not thought I would be able to do.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There was not a Group Leader as the holiday was via Headwater but the ski guides from the hotel were very good - they were great leaders and also considered conditions on the day and the abilities of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We really enjoyed having booked a week when there were ski safaris as well as the guiding. The ski safaris were longer days and had more off track.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was our first time in Scandinavia & we really liked that there was a mix of track skiing (which we are familiar with) and off track skiing.
  • Reviewed July 2015
    Carol Sweet

    Off track at Venabu

    First day "off track" was daunting but by the last day it was fantastic and so so much more exciting. We had great guides from whom I learnt new skills. We were relieved we could cope with the temperatures at the end of March which were perfect for X country skiing. The hotel provided us with plenty of entertainment and was "the" place to be for many other tourists.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to ski on open snow across the side of mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?


    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Nothing that comes to mind.
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Anne Crowter

    Delicious Norway

    A superb location for sampling the delights of winter in Norway. The hotel was authentically Norwegian - lots of wood and candles, excellent smoked/marinaded/baked fish and meat, with a few veggie options, mouth-watering desserts (several of us "bagged" our faves before the earlybirds - aka The Germans - scraped the plates), good skis, help with waxing and great tuition and group leading. The sauna was very welcome after the day's battering - sorry "getting to grips with XC skiing" and the West Wing room was unusually spacious for a ski holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The slideshow from Lars on Venabu and the mountains gave us a bigger picture of the area and the Norwegian buffet on Wednesdays was delightful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert, Richard and Siobhan went the extra mile to help us, both on and off the skis. Robert was excellent at tailoring the routes to the changing conditions, Richard was the waxing guru and his wife Siobhan mentored us newbies like a Pro.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Practice your balance! Yoga or Pilates are good. XC skis are a lot more nervous than downhill and tip you off far more frequently, forwards and backwards as well as sidewards. If the snow is soft it's OK but it got icy towards the end of our stay and my coccyx hasn't forgiven me yet.
  • Reviewed February 2014


    This is a great location to get away from the daily frustrations of work, commuting etc. The location is absolutely stunning when the sun is out. This holiday is suitable for cross country skiiers of all levels from beginners to more advanced.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had a week when it snowed a lot so the most inspirational moment was the day we had sun and could finally get an idea of the beautiful mountain location all around. We were lucky enough to spot with Robert, the local ski guide, a herd of reindeer moving up the mountain, they were far away but still exciting!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There was no group leader on this trip, however, the hotel has two great ski guides who take out the hotel guests on cross country ski tours. Wenche and Robert are very nice and open to any questions someone may have, it was a pleasure spending time skiing with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some fun days in the snow regardless of weather, even if it snows during the week the surroundings are magical.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think I will come back to Venau at some point, it was a great holiday!
  • Reviewed February 2014


    It was very nice hotel with excellent food, bus connection to the airport is comfortable. Our ski instructor are all very helpful and nice. Feeling like going again next year :)
  • Reviewed March 2013


    Excellent, professional and friendly set up, with comprehensive tuition and guiding. The full board option is very good value for money in what can be an eye-wateringly expensive (in GBP terms) country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Placing my skis in the parallel tracks and realising that I can glide; Heading out on my own in the afternoon round the hotel and finally 'getting' the rhythm right; Snowshoeing through the woods and coming out onto a viewpoint over the frozen waterfall.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not really a group leader as such (it's managed by the hotel) but Robert and his team of giudes / instructors were really friendly, helpful and patient. Instruction and tours were tailored to the group experience, with alternatives offered and there were extra training sessions in the afternoons focusing on specific skills, if you wanted to practise.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want a drink in the evenings, bring some duty free with you and don't expect alpine style apres ski!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really enjoyable holiday, good value with all the food included, great fun.
  • Reviewed March 2013


    This is an excellent mountain hotel. There is plenty of variety from new to x-country ski to off track mountain skiing

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Although there is no resident Exodus rep the hotel guides (Robert and Wenka pronounced Venka) made us very welcome. They are both skilled skiers and knowledgable about the tracks and mountain terrain.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The brochure understates the ski potential by a long way. The hotel Ski Safari trips are worth the holiday in their own right.The leaders were able to accomodate guest with litterally no x-country ski experiance to those of us with 30 years skiing.This hotel is also the start and finish point for some DNT hut to hut routes so for those who would like longer trips there are DNT huts within easy day skiing 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As with every where in Norway alcohol is expensive by UK standards (at least N of England and Scotland).The tradational Norweigan buffet mid week will not be to every ones taste and tradationally they are not as veggie as many UK veggies would like. The horse, whale and raw fish dishes are intersting to try. More familiar reindeer, beef and lamb dishes were popular.Fish eating veggies are well catered for with a different fish every evening, there were also pure veggie options with chick peas and beans on the cold buffet. 
  • Reviewed March 2013


    Extremely enjoyable, very challenging if you've never done any skiing before but great exercise! Tour guides were great and very knowledgable. Hotel rooms were basic but food was really good. Only negative is there was not a lot to do at night for younger (20-40) group members.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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