It’s a little known fact to those who ski Sweden that the northerly European country has one of the largest counts of ski areas for anywhere in the world – with some 500 ski hills – albeit 95% of them small, single rope tow hills, next to villages across the country.
However the country is home to several internationally famous Swedish ski resorts, including the World Alpine Skiing Championships resort of Are-Duved (Åre), the most popular of the nearly 1,000 ski resorts and hills of Scandinavia, and Riksgränsen up 200km within the Arctic Circle where the lifts don't open until February but keep running well in to June, for skiing and boarding under the midnight sun from late May, and affordable heli-skiing.
There’s a very long history of cross country skiing in Sweden just as in the other Scandic nations, with old skis dating back more than 4,000 years old preserved in bogs. Downhill skiing has also been possible here as long as the sport has existed.
Swedish ski resorts also have both the advantages and disadvantages of other Scandinavian skiing nations - short cold days in midwinter (there is a lot of floodlighting of pistes to compensate for this), balanced by long days from April to June as the season stretches on when the snow has long gone from the Alps and the Rockies. Many of the world's top skiers head to Sweden at that time.
On the slopes there’s a predominance of small ski hills with small verticals and mostly short easy runs served by drag lifts rather than chair or gondola lifts except at the big resorts like Are.
Sweden’s ski resorts are also known for being particularly family friendly however, which includes free skiing for children up to age 7 or 8 in some resorts, friendly and relaxed child care and ski school and high safety standards on the slopes.
There's also the reputation for high prices, which is no longer really true compared to the Alps or Rockies, except in the case of alcoholic drink, which is expensive. Many of Sweden's top resorts have long histories and have developed in a similar way to the classic Swiss ski centres. Other well known centres such as Sålen and Funåsdalen offer similar expanses of terrain, although most are actually made up of numerous small areas.
There are also unique experiences such as the Storlien Mountain Resort hotel which has its own lifts as well as a vast array of non-ski alternatives on offer, all delivered from a setting of timeless ambiance.
Riksgransen, Are and other famous resorts have been rail-linked for a century or more, and it is a Swedish ski tradition to climb on to trains equipped with restaurants, discotheques, sleeping cars and play rooms in Stockholm in the evening and party north overnight to the ski centres.
Sweden: latest snow conditions round-up
Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Sweden. Fresh snow is forecast at 2resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 0 are reporting good piste conditions.