The resort Riksgränsen is situated on the border of Sweden and Norway — just as the name in Swedish suggests. This is the last outpost and when the blizzards reign, also where the road ends. Nevertheless, the train stop is less than one hundred metres from the hotel and the base station of the ski lifts.

The clash between civilization and wilderness leaves no one unaware and the contrasts are part of the magic that makes Riksgränsen such a legendary resort. The season starts late – the first chairlifts only open towards the end of February. But nowhere else will you find the opportunity to enjoy the rays of the midnight sun while carving the last turns of the season.

If you are into ski touring the season lasts even longer, and many claim that Riksgränsen and its surroundings is at its very best when the ski lifts have stopped running for the season.

The location so close to Norway means that the resort is highly popular among Norwegian visitors as well. And the place has a heritage from the days when the frontier here played a far more important role than a border line on a map. This line is easily crossed during one of the best excursions outside the ski area. By traversing from the summit you will eventually slide into Norway where a playful ravine awaits. This run is often neglected by many of the others who are chasing the fresh snow on Mount Nordalsfjäll. The work of pushing back to the lift after the run is a bit of a struggle but usually the sun accompanies those taking it on. And by the time you get off the top chairlift you will have forgotten the struggle and the tips of your skis are once again pointing at a brief excursion abroad.

In Riksgränsen you ski above the treeline and this resort is renowned for great backcountry skiing.
Riksgränsen has a lot of percipitation due to the westerly wind from the Norwegian sea. Hence heaps and heaps of snow.
The restaurant, Meteorologen, is famous for its food - and for having Sweden's best sommelier.
In May when the midnight sun appears, you can go skiing 24/7.

Although Riksgränsen has become virtually legendary in freerider circles, the secret of the mountain’s possibilities is still unknown to many. We are not exaggerating when we claim that most of the visitors to Riksgränsen opt for the almost unlimited facilities for easily accessed off-piste skiing. The slopes look different from one year to the next depending on the whims of the weather gods and never cease to challenge even the most experienced skiers.

However, those who prefer to shape perfect carving turns on well-groomed corduroy snow will find the pistes wonderfully wide and deserted. Lift queues are rare here and the dramatic front face of the mountain is compensated by the gentler back where the on-slope restaurant offers perfect views over the children’s area. Riksgränsen may experience a real boom of family visitors once all these pro skiers have reached the state of teaching their offspring to ski; skiing culture here is just as strong as in Tärnaby — the cradle of Alpine World Champions such as Ingemar Stenmark and Anja Pärson — with the exception that here you won’t be finding any gates or poles.

Those who prefer to shape perfect carving turns on well-groomed corduroy snow will find the pistes wonderfully wide and deserted

Instead there are other attributes that’ll make your heart beat faster. On those wonderful days, so called blue bird days, with clear blue skies and crystal clear views, the characteristic chopping of the rotor blades forms a natural part of the soundtrack here. Those coming back from a multi-peak heli-skiing trip around Riksgränsen have something of new-born skiers in their appearance; including those who have tested this same activity in other parts of the world. Especially the summits around Kebnekaise, reachable from Riksgränsen, tempt with spectacular skiing in otherwise virtually untouched snowscapes.

Those of us not doing heli-skiing on this particular day are just as happy. We still have the chance to walk up Mount Nordalsfjäll to find untouched snow or simply enjoy the sunshine with a cup of coffee. Here, in Riksgränsen passion for skiing rules; the freedom of choosing your own way down the slopes together with the opportunity to develop as a skier, whether you have been skiing for twenty years or are on your very first skiing holiday.

The article is previously published in Lapland Resorts Magazine 2013/2014.

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