With loads of easy pistes and English-speaking instructors, pretty Geilo is perfect for families with young children...
Scandinavian resorts such as Geilo in Norway aren't as big, or as steep and craggy, as their Alpine counterparts, and for some skiers and snowboarders that's a good thing.
Resort height: 800m
After all, not everyone wants to spend all day, every day, bombing around at high speed on snow. There are plenty of others who simply want to chill out in a charming, wintry environment, sampling a range of activities between frequent breaks in the spa, sauna or swimming pool. For them, Geilo is near-perfect: a small family-friendly resort, set beneath the Hardangervidda platau, between Bergen and Oslo.
Don't get your hopes up - there are only 32km of downhill pistes in Geilo. Anyone who loves to ski or snowboard is going to get through them all in a day, so competent intermediates and experts should rule this place out in an instant.
Beginners, both young and old, should have a ball here, however. There are beginners' slopes on either side of the valley, and the lack of crowds, combined with the excellent English of the ski instructors, provides a relaxed and confidence-boosting environment. By the end of the week, most newcomers will be happily skiing the easy 'blues' (the easiest kind of intermediate piste) set between the trees on both sides of the valley.
Geilo is also home to an excellent terrain park - the Scandinavians love their freestyle skiing and snowboarding - but it's way beyond the reach of beginners and early intermediates. Far better to experiment with cross-country skiing up on the Hardangervidda plateau, where there's a massive 220km network of cross-country trails.
Most tour operators fly their guests into Fagernes airport, which is a two-hour transfer from the resort...
The railway line also links to Oslo and Bergen, which are both served by flights from the UK, though the transfer is twice as long.
The resort of Geilo is only really suitable for beginners, whether they are on one or two planks...
For experts, there is so little that they might as well take up cross-country skiing (unless they want to try the jumps in the terrain park).
You can find a few lively bars in Geilo at the weekend, but this resort caters best for families and non-skiers...
The price of a drink in Norway, coupled with the family-friendly style of the resort, means that Geilo is not the place for a week of partying. However, Geilo is livelier at the weekend, when the locals come out to play, and pubs such as the Recepten Pub in Dr Holms Hotel have DJs on hand to liven up the “after ski” (as après is known in Norway). Most Brits who come here are with their children, and will be happier to try some bowling, take a trip to their hotel's pool, or try some floodlit skiing. For posher nosh, try the French-style Brasserie at Dr Holms.
Provided you're after snowy activities rather than shopping, Geilo is superb. We've already mentioned the cross-country skiing, which is in fact more important to the resort than the downhill variety, and on top of that there's dog-sledding, sleigh rides, ski-dooing, ice-climbing, kite-skiing and lots of tobogganing. There are also some excellent hotel spas in the resort.
Cost of living 5/10
Some prices are high - especially for alcohol. By contrast, accommodation in Geilo, compared with the Alps, is spacious and good value.
Attractiveness of the resort 6/10
Geilo is cute and cosy, rather than mountainous and dramatic. The sense of being on the edge of a great snowy wilderness is very unusual for most Brits though, and adds an air of adventure to the holiday.