Peaking 1883 m above sea level Gaustatoppen is the highest peak in Telemark. On a clear day, ⅙ of Norway can be seen from here.
Thanks to the Gaustabanen train inside the mountain the peak of Gaustatoppen is easily accessible. On the top you find Gaustatoppen Turisthytte, with café and accommodation, run by the Norwegian Tourist Association (DNT). Don’t miss the waffles and the hot chocolate! An astonishing view can be experienced on a clear day. In bad weather you’ll be grateful to find shelter here.
Stepping out from Gaustabanen on the top you can ski a trail marked by poles down the southern slope which leads back to Gaustabanen’s valley station. This slope is open for the public.
Another opportunity is to follow the ridge further up the mountain where you will find approximately ten different couloirs for advanced off-piste in company with a guide. The couloirs are steep with an initial angle of 42-52 degrees before slowly evening out. Please be aware that below the snow Gaustatoppen is covered with rocks and stones. Strong winds around the peak can lead to snow conditions changing fast from day to day.
The weather conditions on Gaustatoppen can be harsh, with fog, strong winds and snowfall. Be prepared that the weather can shift fast! Early in the season the conditions are uncertain. Therefore, the Gaustabanen doesn’t open for traffic until the beginning of February. The best chance of great skiing and good weather is usually in April-May.
Peaking at 1883 m above sea level Gaustatoppen offers a potential vertical drop that is unmatched in Scandinavia. In the future, when the 1939 downhill track reopens, runs with 1650 meters vertical drop can be experienced from Gaustatoppen all the way down to Dale in the Rjukan Valley.
The slope on the southern side, marked with poles, is accessible for all skiers prepared for blue and red slopes. The Gaustatoppen couloirs are very steep. To go there, excellent technique is needed, a good understanding of snow and the right safety equipment. Experienced mountain guides can be booked.
Approximate cost to book a guide: 3500 NOK per day for a group of six. If the guide is available, single tours can be booked for 300 NOK per person.
A backpack holding an avalanche transceiver, an avalanche probe and a shovel is a minimum to be brought along during advanced off-piste skiing. Most freeriders today wear an inflatable avalanche back-pack, which like an air-bag or flotation vest can keep the skier afloat on top of the snow if an avalanche goes off.
Randdonnée is a form om skiing where you leave the pistes to find your own trail. You ski up a mountain to a peak, in order to ski back down. To go randonnée you need special skiing equipment. Lighter skiis and boots that can release the heel to walk up the mountain with skins under the skis. Long before Gaustabanen opened to the public, freeriding fans would go randonnée up Gaustatoppen to ski down. In the Gausta area there are also less dramatic and more accessible peaks you can walk to.