Since Gaustablikk Skisenter and Gaustatoppen Skisenter merged to form Gausta Skisenter last year, major efforts have been made to develop the ski facilities. A great deal of the snow production equipment at Gausta has been replaced and new equipment has been added to a value of around 50 million Norwegian kroner ahead of the 2019/2020 winter season. Thanks to higher capacity pumps and expanded production on several slopes, Gausta Skisenter can now offer first-rate snow.
There are many unique things to do during your visit to Gausta. One attraction that makes this magical destination extra special is Gaustabanen – the subterranean train that runs inside Gaustatoppen and takes you all the way to the summit in just 15 minutes. The Gaustabanen railway makes Gaustatoppen accessible to everyone and in the winter it makes magical off-piste skiing possible.
Did you know that Gaustabanen has a fascinating history? The idea of building a subterranean railway to Gaustatoppen was originally a civilian project to boost tourism in the 1950s. But when NATO learnt of the plans, it became a top-secret military project. The railway was completed in 1959 and used to transport personnel and supplies to NATO’s radio station at the summit. It wasn’t until 2010 that the secrecy was lifted and Gaustabanen could be opened to the public.
Gausta Skisenter is well known for its accessible off-piste skiing. Mix downhill skiing with off-piste skiing, or head for Gaustatoppen – the highest mountain in Telemark. At 1883 metres above sea level, Gaustatoppen has a genuine Alpine feel with a good vertical drop and varied skiing. Thanks to Gaustabanen, the summit is accessible and, if possible, the adventure becomes even more spectacular.
From Gaustatoppen, you can choose from off-piste trails with varying degrees of difficulty. The slightly gentler red off-piste trail, Langefonn, is on the southern slope. If you are a skilled skier and have the right safety equipment, you can also try out one of the dozens of couloirs on the northeastern or western sides of the mountain. But remember to book a guide!
Don’t forget: All off-piste skiing is at your own risk. Be careful and keep an eye on the weather reports. Ideally download the Gausta app. It boasts GPS tracking and SOS functionality – a good complement to a map, compass and other safety equipment. And remember to follow the Norwegian mountain safety code before setting off.
Fancy a wonderful sauna after a day out in the elements? As of winter 2018, there are two floating saunas down by Lake Kvitåvatn, just behind Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell. Here you can have a sauna and swim accompanied by a splendid view. The floating saunas have panoramic windows looking out over Gaustatoppen and are designed to help you find your inner peace.
If you’re not afraid of the difference in temperature, you can cool off in the icy lake. In the winter the ice is cut so that everyone can enjoy the contrast between the burning heat and icy cold.
Psst! While you’re in Gaustablikk’s wellness spa, don’t miss the chance to book a relaxing massage treatment. Your muscles will thank you for it!
Everything tastes better at an altitude of 1,800 metres, doesn’t it? If you come to Gausta in February or later in the year, you can visit Gaustatoppen Turisthytte and taste their famous waffles. Gaustatoppen Turisthytte enjoys a spectacular location on the edge of Gaustatoppen, just above Gaustabanen’s upper station. Many hikers come here in the summer to enjoy a well-deserved waffle after making it to the summit. So many, in fact, that Gaustatoppen Turisthytte serves more waffles than anywhere else in Norway.
Gaustatoppen Turisthytte is closed during the wildest months of winter but usually opens its doors in early February. Check out their website for the latest opening hours.
Do you know the history of Gaustablikk? Since it opened in 1970, Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell has been a clear focal point of Gausta. With its unique location next to the beautiful Lake Kvitåvatn and spectacular views of Gaustatoppen, Gaustablikk has everything a hotel in the mountains could wish for. Olav Svartdal, a man from Telemark who had long dreamt of starting his own hotel, understood this.
Olav was an accomplished skier and when he emigrated to the USA in the early 1950s, he became a ski instructor in the Rockies. His clients included several Hollywood stars. His return to Norway was perfectly timed. Olav was a stuntman in the advanced scenes in the movie Heroes of Telemark, and this gave him the funds he needed to build his dream – Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell. So it’s thanks to Olav Svartdal that today there is a whole destination with activities 365 days a year on the plateau above Rjukan.
The hotel is still as iconic today, but it also has great visions for the future.
Read more: Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell