Theres a healthy attitude towards going off piste; its your responsibility plain and simple. So with that in mind, grab a guide or a local and head off to the Totten or Røgjin Summits. From the back of the Totten Summit, you're treated to some excellent cliffs and powder, which will test even the advanced rider. Make a bee-line for the run known locally as the Annus, a long, steep couloir that should be treated with respect. From the top of Røgjin take the sign for 13 but head for the back of the mountain and follow round, for a run known as the rubber forest. You'll start off in a great powder field, but quickly heading into the trees, and they're thick and deep. These runs should lead you straight to main roads, where those canny Norweigen taxi drivers are ready to take you back to the base.
Staying within the boundary line, if you like trees you'll have no complaints here. Theres some concealed tree rails in the woods off run 7.
There's 2 terrain parks and they're building a beginners park for the 2004/5 season. The intermediate park on run 33 consists of series of jumps, and a good variety of rails once you turn the corner. The main park's built well and high with a great selection of jumps, quarter pipes, rails and boxes catering for good intermediates to experts. Theres 2 half pipes including a well cut super pipe.
Freestylers looking for some natural hits, should take the Holdeskarheisen and Roniheisen chairs to reach some cool terrain, including a tight gully to pull air in.
Carvers in hard boots who dare grace the slopes will find the runs known as the Hemsedalsloypa and Kuleloyas the place to lay out turns. These may not be the longest runs in the world, but they're not for wimps. The Sahaugloypa is also a decent run on which to get some speed together. In many of Norway's resorts the runs are usually very short, so it comes as a big relief to find a trail that lasts more than two seconds. The Turistloypa is the longest descent and although it's easy (even for novices still in nappies), it's worth a blast if only to avoid being on a lift again.
Beginners seem to fare well wherever they go in Norway. Hemsedal is no exception, the only difference is that at least there is something worth progressing onto after mastering the easy flats at the base and those higher up. Instructors tend to avoid the intimidating drags at the bottom, and head up lift F, where theres a nice green all the way back down, it can get a bit busy though. Instructors do speak good english, group and 50 minute private lessons are available.
The 2004/5 season sees the expansion of the beginners/family area. The area will have waves, mini quarter pipe, jumps, rails, self timer slope, and a path in the forest with animals made of wood all serviced by 2 new platter lifts.