Customer reviews: Cross country skiing in Norway
Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop and, where necessary, improve our services and ensure our skiing holidays continue to be the best they can be.
Eveyone who travels with Headwater will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assesment of all aspects of their skiing holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their skiing holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
By Mr Smith on 24/05/2017
Venabu Fjellhotel is the perfect cross-country ski destination. Headwater really know what they are doing by organising the logistics of this holiday - we highly recommended!
By Miss Chard on 02/05/2017
Great fun and the best possible place to learn cross country skiing
By Mrs Turton on 05/04/2017
Venabu is a well run and comfortable hotel. The skiing programme was well organised and thought out catering for different levels of experience with a choice of tours offered each day.
By Ms Singleton on 29/03/2017
Venabu Felljhotel was excellent. What it lacked in glamour was more than made up for by the quality of the food and the excellent staff and ski guides who were so friendly and helpful. The whole experience was wonderful. My first snow holiday and I would definitely go again.
By Miss Styles on 24/03/2017
Excellent holiday for first skiiers. The guides were brilliant and the hotel kept us well fed.
By Mr Oakley on 23/03/2017
The holiday at Venue totally lived up to 'the promise'. The skiing was excellent due to the location and the professional ability of the guides. Great holiday to go on ones' own as everyone is there for the same reason and generally with a similar background in terms of fitness and interests. When not skiing the Fjellhotel provided excellent food, a very welcome sauna and even yoga classes. With everything included in the cost the holiday was extremely good value for money. Would definitely return without question.
By Mr Belson on 22/03/2017
Regular vistor to Venabu. Great skiing, good international friends, good guides and good food. What more do you need?
By Mr Sayles on 22/03/2017
Good: - Hotel, food, weather, X-country skiing area, ski team guides and ski prep. organisation. 'Wicked' VIEWS.
By Mr Payne on 21/03/2017
Venabu is an excellent Cross Country skiing holiday for anybody from beginners to experienced skiers. With a good network of tracks right from the door, plus guides with the knowledge and skills to teach beginners or lead off piste tours. This is backed up by a comfortable hotel with excellent food.
By Mr Knight on 14/03/2017
Very comfortable hotel with a very good, plentiful, and varied daily buffet. The guides were very thoughtful and trips they arranged excellent.
By Ms Arnott on 14/03/2017
My first holiday with headwater - well organised and good service from agents. I travelled alone, and found the whole thing a very easy intro into x-country skiing. While Norweigans of all ages are skiing, my group was definitively middle aged and up. Staff at the hotel were ready to engage & just overall very pleasant. Guides were also easy to get on with altho I would add that while all were very knowledgeable & helpful, some were not so good at actually instructing. If you're a competent downhill skier my advice would be don't go in the beginners group, you'll be bored within 30mins because you already know what skis and poles and balancing feels like. Groups were large, if you want to experience space and peace going off by yourself or with some buddies in the afternoon would do the job. There seemed to be a good choice of equipment, I was able to change my boots after a day or so to get ones which were more comfortable. Also seemed to be in good condition (judging by the boots being clean, newish, not smelly in any way!). location of hotel is excellent for skiing out either in the groups or alone. it's as beautiful as you hope for. And handy to be able to walk down to supermarket. Meals are a buffet - the food was plentiful, delicious, and varied particularly if you eat both meat and fish. I was surprised how good it was, and lots of new things to try - the description given by Headwater of the fermented fish is offputting, but really it's not scary as long you don't stick your nose right into it! Like everyone says booze is pricey, and there's no common area to drink your own with other people (not that's allowed anyway...). I was in a double room in the older wing and it was disappointing: heating which wasn't reliable, thin curtains you could shoot peas through, duvet was short so it would cover feet or shoulders but not both (I'm 5'8'), an open electric bar heater in the bathroom, the shower curtain sticking to your legs scenario, no products except showergel - not even the ubiquitous 'bonnet de douche'. Having said that, I wasn't spending much time in my room but if there were two people it would be a bit of a squeeze finding room for clothes towels etc. Decent quality towels though. There's a separate ladies sauna and if you're prepared to walk over the corridor, up some stairs you can cool down on a tiny deck. Nice.
By Ms Zouganeli on 09/03/2017
Lovely area for beginner and intermediate skiers, excellent food, relaxed atmosphere, delightful sociable environment to make great friends; great for solo travelers.
By Dr MacMillan on 08/03/2017
Excellent centre for xcskiing, both on and off trails. Could ski with guided group or without guide. Very comfortable hotel with friendly atmosphere and staff, and wonderful food.
By Mrs Rowland on 08/03/2017
Venabu is an excellent location for a cross-country skiing holiday. The hotel is very comfortable, the food is excellent, and the welcome from the family is warm and genuine. There are ski trails and tracks to suit all abilities, and plenty of guides are available. The equipment is good quality, with metal edged skis which are suitable for tracks and off-piste. We had a wonderful week in Venabu and I'd happily go back tomorrow and do it all over again! We had learnt to ski while living in Sweden 40 years ago and had not been on skis since. We had no idea if we would remember any techniques. On the last day I did a 25km 'safari' and my husband did 17km before lunch, so we felt very pleased with our progress!
By Mr Carter on 08/02/2017
An excellent holiday for cross country ski beginners. Fabulous location. Great food. Small group. Helpful instructors.
By Ms Ross on 07/02/2017
Another great trip to Venabu, everything up to the usual standard. I particularly like the inclusion of Pilates and Yoga sessions, along with the option of booking a Massage. Good for tired muscles!
By Ms Fox on 14/01/2017
This holiday delivers in all respects.
By Mrs Cornthwaite on 10/01/2017
We spent Christmas in the Fjellhotel at Venabu and learned to cross country ski. The tuition and guidance was excellent. The area is perfect for skiing with well maintained ski pistes, ski runs and signposts which clearly show distances travelled and points of interest, it is a really beautiful and unspoilt area. Maps are supplied so it is impossible to get lost, well thought through. The ski guides are excellent, friendly and versatile. The food is exceptionally good with many healthy options and cuisine for all tastes. Our only disappointment was the room for which I had paid an upgrade after taking advice from a Headwater representative by phone before booking. It was very tired and drab, poor decor and no facilities as advertised, such as Minibar, Hairdryer, TV and Wi-Fi. (Wi-fi is only obtainable in the main lounge of hotel). I checked twice with reception, that this was indeed an 'Upgraded room!' I would advise taking a head torch to
read/see clearly for cards/hand crafts, as the lighting in the hotel lounge is very poor and there are 18 hours of darkness at this time of year.
By Mr Hordern on 07/01/2017
This was a brilliant holiday away from the crowds, aggro and danger associated with downhill skiing. I seldom go away alone but the company of like minded people was great. Food excellent, location brilliant - what more can I say. Cross country skiing is hard work - you need to be fit to enjoy it.
By Ms Foster on 03/01/2017
A great holiday. The skiing was excellent and the quality of the guiding superb. We were really lucky to have great weather. The extra activities available by the hotel (snow shoeing, night skiing, horse drawn sled ride etc.) really added to the experience. The food was plentiful and, as vegetarians, we were well catered for - although the food was a bit richer than I am used to. I really liked the fact that we did lots of off-track skiing. The final day's trip to the hut was a real highlight. The hotel is traditional and some of its rooms are in dire need of an upgrade - that said, the staff are great, it's a good location and the beds were comfortable.
By Mr Queen on 28/04/2016
Very good hotel with friendly staff and guides, in a fantastic location.
By Ms Robson on 27/04/2016
The package provided by Headwater was excellent for the solo traveller as it included everything I needed to try xc skiing for the first time. The group approach made it a lovely week; small groups for skiing at different levels each day meant I always had people to ski with. The hotel is friendly and comfortable and ideally situated in the middle of miles of routes. Will definitely be going back!
By Ms Jessop on 18/04/2016
Fantastic service from initial phone conversation with headwater to the holiday itself.
the cross country skiing was fantastic, and there were groups to suit every ability. The ski guides were all friendly and encouraging and the hotel accommodation laid back and welcoming. Overall a great experience.
Thanks for organising a wonderful holiday.
By Dr Nesbitt on 05/04/2016
Well organised trip,excellent food, rural location, plenty of opportunities for independent exploration as well as guided activities
By Mr Price on 30/03/2016
We loved our first experience of cross-country skiing. The ski guides were outstanding, and all staff at the hotel were most friendly and helpful. The food was superb, with a vast array of different dishes at every meal. The skiing area around Venabu is beautiful, with a huge variety of tracks to cater for beginners and intermediates - not being experts, we can't comment on suitability for them. We also loved the snow shoe expedition, and a couple of yoga sessions - both included in the holiday cost. In fact, everything that was needed was included in the price, and it would have been possible to have a good holiday wiothout spending any money locally. All in all, a great holiday.
By Mrs Turnbull on 30/03/2016
We had a great time. The skiing was excellent and we particularly enjoyed the guided ski tours which took us to different areas every day. We loved the walk on snowshoes to the waterfall too.
By Mr Clague on 30/03/2016
Thoroughly enjoyable, met a great bunch of people and skied in a magnificent location.
By Mrs Telford on 29/03/2016
Wonderful experience. Excellent location , great tuition great guides
By Mis Ross on 21/03/2016
There is no better place to cross country ski than Venabu. Food, accommodation and quality of Guiding is excellent and Line, Robert, Wenche and the rest of the team maintain their standards year in year out. A unique place.
By Dr MacMillan on 09/03/2016
Excellent area for xc skiing, and hotel, equipment, staff also excellent
By Mrs Goodfellow on 09/03/2016
This holiday delivered exactly what it said on the box- fantastic, extensive, well maintained ski-ing area, a friendly sports hotel, likeminded guests, great hospitality, superb ski instructors and guides.
Don't go if you want a modern, five start hotel, but do consider it if you love XC skiing or want to try it for the first time.
By Mr Ferdenzi on 04/03/2016
We would recommend a cross-country ski holiday at this friendly. laid-back resort. The area was lovely and it felt so peaceful because we had it all to ourselves!.The food was bountiful, imaginative and always of high quality. The staff were helpful and leaving the resort felt like leaving friends. The tuition was excellent, the ski tours good and varied. The wireless was reliable. The rooms, though small, were adequate for a week. It was useful to have a drying room for damp clothing and the saunas were good and well-used. The transfers to and from the (Oslo) airport were good and reliable.
By Mis Kerridge on 04/03/2016
Amazing trip to get away from everyday life, relax and enjoy the mountains. Richard was a brilliant guide and teacher. Loved the snow shoeing and husky dogs too. Food was superb and never ending...fantastic. Can't wait to go again
By Mrs Gillott on 25/02/2016
The guides were fantastic, food amazing. Unfortunately xc skiing is not for us.
By Mr Tomkinson on 22/02/2016
I decided to take a cross-country skiing holiday at the Venabu Fjellhotel after reading the recommendations left by previous visitors on the Headwater website which I fully endorse. The hotel was comfortable with welcoming, friendly staff. The food was wonderful & plentiful - 5 course lunches & dinners with many different dishes to choose from.
The ski tour leaders were excellent.They gave advice on skiing techniques and also explained features of the landscape, plus details of the local flora & fauna which added to the enjoyment of the tours.
I stayed in a single room in the East Wing which was adequate if a tad on the small side. Larger rooms are available in the West Wing for a supplement. Tea & coffee was not provided in the room, but is available in the public rooms at no extra charge.
I met several guests in the hotel who had stayed there before & one person was on his fifteenth visit! I, also, hope to make a return trip to this hotel at some point as it is an excellent centre for cross-country skiing with many kilometres of waymarked loipen from the hotel.
The only improvement I can think of is that it would nice if the hotel had a swimming pool!
By Mrs McKown on 17/02/2016
This beginners week in Venabu was in my opinion the perfect introduction to the delights of cross country skiing .
The all inclusive package insulates you from the normal expense of a holiday in Norway in this snow assured area .
The hotel was charming all the staff friendly and we wanted for nothing during our stay .
The room was warm and comfortable , the food plentiful with all tastes catered for and truly excellent .
Our ski instructors,Richard and Siobhan were great .
There wasn't a direct flight from Manchester to Oslo but that is the only downside to this holiday !
I rarely return to the same location for holidays but I can see why people do for this holiday and I think it will be very difficult to
match this experience and overall value , so I might well be back again !
By Dr Barton on 17/02/2016
A really good experience - excellent organisation, beautifully located hotel with comfortable accommodation and lots of really good food, great skiing tuition tailored to our needs, huge choice of ski routes and other options such as snow shoe trekking - and other guests in the hotel were really friendly and good company. Hard to beat!
By Mis Ross on 11/02/2016
Venabu is the best place for cross country ski-ing. No matter what your level of experience is, you will be well looked after and have a great week.
By Mr Mitchell on 11/02/2016
Overall very good , although due to exchange rates Prices are high compared to hotel prices
By Mr Kennedy on 04/02/2016
Although the accommodation is dated at this hotel, it is more than adequate, clean and comfortable. The family welcome, ambiance and excellent wholesome food, makes this a holiday worth repeating.
The teaching instruction we had was excellent and we were extremely well looked after. The guides went out of their way to ensure we had a rewarding and enjoyable introduction to XC skiing even though we were reluctant to go up or down hills!!
By Mrs Ruberry on 27/01/2016
This was coming up to our 20th visit to Venabu. For us it is more like 'going home' to see friends and family than a basic holiday. Venabu is a unique destination.
By Mrs Freedman on 25/01/2016
The hotel is really welcoming, and the ski guides and the food both excellent. This was my fifth visit.
By Mrs Hughes on 19/01/2016
Great introduction to XC skiing. Wonderul scenery, lots of snow. Amazing food!
By Mrs Hannah on 19/01/2016
Venabu is the perfect winter 'get-away-from-it-all' destination, and great for immersing yourself in learning how to cross-country ski. It was lovely staying in a hotel that is still owned & managed by the original family. The instructors were superb, and really made the holiday for me. We had an American, Richard , and his lovely wife Siobhan with our beginners group. They were so experienced, yet incredibly patient, enthusiastic and encouraging and displayed such a passion in passing on their expertise. It made for a brilliant holiday!
By Mr Bruce on 18/01/2016
Family friendly hotel with relaxed atmosphere with excellent food and facilities for Crosscountry skiing
By Ms Turner on 18/01/2016
Wonderful holiday in the most amazing,quiet location. Stunning views from the hotel which was run by lovely staff. Will probably go again next year!
Cross country skiing guides were great and patient with us novice skiers! Went out on some great trips.
By Ms Sholer on 07/01/2016
A great experience trying something new in a fairly remote location in Norway. Ideal for getting away from city life, we really enjoyed the cross-country skiing and found it reasonably easy to pick up (some downhill ski experience does help). The food at the hotel was excellent, including for vegetarians which I wasn't expecting.
By Ms Sinclair on 02/07/2015
It was the first time I had travelled alone but I had no problem making friends. There were 11 others in the group and they were really fun to be with. The hotel staff were friendly and helpful especially the tour guides. The skiing was brilliant helped by amazing scenery and blue skies most days. The food on offer for breakfast, lunch and dinner had to be seen to be believed! I especially enjoyed the Norwegian buffet. There were lots of little touches which made the holiday more enjoyable, such as having your flask filled with hot chocolate each morning and relaxing in the sauna after a long day's skiing! Altogether one of the best holidays I have had
By Mrs Harbach on 09/04/2015
The entire Headwater team was extremely professional and accommodating. They were most helpful (especially Donna Webber) in sorting out a more 'tailor made' holiday to suit our particular requirements and we couldn't have been more delighted with the end result. The Venabu Fjellhotell was quite simply one of the best hotels we have stayed in in terms of friendliness, warmth of welcome, quality of food and skiing tuition. We will definitely be going again - thank you to everyone for helping to give us such a wonderful holiday.
By Mrs Shotton on 09/04/2015
Excellent location for cross country skiing, very good twin room, friendly staff, amazing food,
By Mrs Mortley on 26/03/2015
The Venabu hotel has things just right. The rooms and public areas are comfortable and homely, the food is good and staff are welcoming and helpful. This was our first cross country skiing trip. The equipment and tuition were good and the instructors knowledgeable and friendly doing all they could to ensure everyone has the best experience. A great holiday.
By Mr Caldwell on 26/03/2015
Everything it promised and more. The guides, instructors and staff were outstanding. The food and extra activities like yoga mean that this could be a great wellness break in its self, add in the great skiing and beautiful landscape and it has everything you could want.
By Mrs Williams on 06/03/2015
Venabu offers excellent skiing, knowledgeable guiding and fabulous food.
By Ms Edwards on 06/03/2015
An excellent week with everything just as described on the website. Great service from the whole team at Venabu and a superb choice of food at every meal. Snow-shoeing in fresh snow down to a frozen waterfall was the highlight of my week.
By Mrs Simpson on 02/03/2015
Very relaxing. Everything organised for my daughter and I. Hassle free. Excellent holiday.
By Mrs Eidahl on 26/02/2015
Wonderful! Great variety of skiing routes. Great guides - great people. A very unique family run hotel that is very international. Everyone feels at home.
By Ms Kirk on 12/02/2015
Wonderful hotel with very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and beautiful location on edge of Rondane national park. Ski trails for all abilities. Food and catering outstanding as were hospitality and helpfulness of hotel reception and dining room staff. Excellent sauna and free yoga classes available. Massage also available at additional charge.
The provided holiday is inclusive of a full week's guided tours and also 3 very substantial meals a day. If this is more than what some travellers are looking for, the hotel itself provides a range of other flexible options. Journey time from Oslo airport is ca 3 hours by arranged coach but the hotel will also organise collection from the nearest train station for those travelling independently.
By Mr Manvell on 15/01/2015
Good skiing opportunities in a very scenic location; good equipment with knowledgeable and helpful guides.
Family hotel, excellent food, good facilities - sauna, massage, yoga, fitness room, games rooms, horse drawn sleighs, dog sledding, board games, music / dancing. Excellent selection of wines to match some very good food - lots of choice at the buffets. Special Norwegian buffet was very impressive at New Year.
All staff we encountered were very friendly and helpful. We met lots of returning clients. Free WifI was a bonus.
Good location to offer snow shoeing weeks as well as skiing. Ski instruction was first class, good boots, good skiis, great guides and well equipped ski room.
Local supermarket well stocked for any emergencies or forgotten items.
By Ms Kitchen on 28/03/2014
Remember to bring a pair of walking boots in order to best enjoy the excellent snowshoeing trip, usually run on Wednesdays! Everything else is catered for on this excellent week for either complete beginners or improvers in cross-country skiing. The Tvete family at the Fjellhotel are not only friendly and welcoming, but also extremely well organised and hard working. The scenery is so stunning that the odd grey day doesn't matter.
By Mrs Heywood on 26/03/2014
First holiday on my own, and despite my worries, I was made to feel welcome by the members of my group...experienced warm and friendly company from fellow holiday members, hotel staff and guides.....a busy and active holiday, wonderful scenery, great for me as an important part of the holiday for me is to paint the landscape.
By Mrs Cartwright on 18/03/2014
Venabu is an ideal resort for cross country skiing. The guides at the hotel are brilliant and make the holiday a memorable experience.
By Mr Payne on 17/03/2014
We have been to 6 different XC Sking venues with Headwater and Venabu is consistantly the best. Excellent variety and length of ski tracks from easy starts near the hotel to Challenging hills within 5km. Food is always of good choice, well prepared and generous in quantity for hungry skiers. The guides are knowledgable, helpful and good instructors for beginners and more experienced skiers - particularly Robert Molnar, who is a good allround athlete as well as good skier and an excellent instructor. For the above reasons we have now been to Venabu 11 times and we meet friends who also return each year from UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Canada.
By Mrs Williams on 26/02/2014
Venabu is the perfect place for all generations to enjoy cross country skiing.
By Mis Smith on 19/02/2014
An invigorating break in a beautiful location with great food and wonderful guides
By Mis Ross on 10/02/2014
There is no where better to cross country ski than Venabu.
By Ms Charlton on 09/02/2014
Fantastic scenery, excellent ski tuition, warm & welcoming hotel.
Just what I needed to start the new year.
Message for hotel- Hotel was comfy but needs to update accommodation. Message for ski instructors - good instruction but need to keep us moving in such cold temperatures so our muscles dont freeze up. Wenche paced things well and kept us moving.
By Dr Winslow on 05/02/2014
Very good. Vegetarian food a bit variable
By Mr Williams on 29/01/2014
An excellant t
By Mr Manning on 01/01/2014
Excellent hotel for friendliness and Norwegian culture, especially at Christmas. The food was outstanding. We were complete novices so the cross country skiing was challenging, but the ski guides were helpful, patient and encouraging. A sauna on site was most welcome.
By Ms Davies on 13/04/2013
The hotel at venabu was excellent. Top notch in all aspects.
I was however extremely disappointed that we had to leave at 9am, and duly spend 3 to 4 hours sitting in the airport waiting for the flight home.
Considering we travelled through ringebu, then past Lillehammer, within the context of a high cost holiday, not permitting us an hour or so to spend in these places seems very mean spirited.
For this reason I would hesitate to recommend headwater. I cannot fault the hotel, so would recommend people to make there own way there .
By Mr Payne on 30/03/2013
Venabu is an excellent XC ski centre with reliable snow. It has a much better quantity and range of tracks than any of the mid/southern european resorts. With gentle undulating tracks close to the hotel and hills 5 - 7 km away for the more adveturous amongst us. The guides, Robert and Wenche are vey good teachers and guides. The hotel accomodation is comfortable and the food is very good.
This is an excellent XC skiing holiday for beginners and experinced skiiers.
By Mr Mitchell on 19/02/2013
I have been to Venabu numerous times and , first time visitors are given an equally warm welcome as returning guests. This relates to all the hotel staff.
Nothing is too much trouble.
Best place in the world to switch off from the hustle & bustle of London
By Mr Churchett on 24/01/2013
Very nice hotel in an wonderful location. The two ski guides (Robert and Wenche) were excellent and helped to make this a wonderful holiday. I will be going back to Venabu!
By Ms Griffith on 24/01/2013
Venabu was an excellent location, and the facilities and staff there were amazing.
By Mrs Freedman on 05/04/2012
By Mrs McCormick on 31/03/2012
Fabulous, wonderful Norwegian hospitality.Hotel was just perfect - amazing friendly staff and owners. Noregian food was incredible.
By Mr Payne on 17/03/2012
A very good skiing holiday with good food and accomodation. Robert is a brilliant guide, ably assisted by Wenke.
By Dr Alcock on 18/02/2012
Another most enjoyable X-C skiing holiday. thank you
By Mr Nicholson on 18/02/2012
Very nice, really nice ambiance in the hotel, and an excellent cross-country skiing venue
By Mis Ross on 18/02/2012
Excellent - the usual standard of Venabu service.
By Dr Winslow on 10/02/2012
apart from broken planes from Wideroe it was fab
By Dr Roberts on 27/01/2012
By Ms Garburg on 21/01/2012
very relaxing time
By Mr Mitchell on 00/00/0000
Very relaxing and your able to do things at your own pace
By Mr Hall on 00/00/0000
Fantastic location to learn cross-country skiing. The hotel, staff, food, skiing instruction and guided tours were excellent.
By Mr Green on 00/00/0000
Other than booking I wasn't aware it was a Headwater holiday. Hence I wouldn't recommend you as I don't know what you're like if you were actually delivering the holiday.
On the phone the staff weren't that good. I'd decided to go so they had nothing to do, but they weren't that helpful
I thought the documents sent out were not so good
My comments are based on comparison to Skedaddle who I go with frequently
I will go to Venabu again. The hotel staff and guides were excellent