Don’t let the cold and snow stop you from having a good time when you are visiting us in the winter. There is a variety of activities both close by and a little further away in all seasons and weather. Just remember to dress so that you stay warm and dry as otherwise you will be miserable.
Some of the websites that we recommend are in Swedish only, but if you have Google Translate installed on your device, you can get the sites in English. Most people in Sweden speak English, so communicating via mail or phone should not be an issue. We recommend that you book as early as possible to avoid any disappointments.
Driving in snow is of course not as easy as driving in the summer, but all hired cars in Sweden have winter tires, the roads are usually well ploughed and sanded/salted and if you use the engine brake more than the normal brakes, keep your distance and take it slow you should be OK. SMHI, Swedish weather station, issues weather warnings where Class 1 is “take care”, Class 2 is “only venture out if you have to” and Class 3 “stay inside”.
Also remember that daylight during the darkest part of winter is from 9-15 so we recommend early starts to any outdoor activities especially for the ones you need to drive to.
SWESCOT Svenska Stugor AB is not liable and take no responsibility for any injuries or damages caused when doing any activities and urge every guest to consider health and safety at all time.
If you wish for help from us in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Snow for making a snow man is best at around 0 degrees Celcius as below -5 and it is too hard.
There are plenty of spaces in Kolforsen to make a snowman.
When the snow is right (see comments about snow man) then you can also build a snow lantern just outside the cottage.
Make snow balls and place them together like an igloo and place a small candle inside.
Sledging is fun for young and old and you can try it in Rönnåsen which is just outside Ockelbo near Ulfsta (takes approx. 30 mins to drive to) if you want a large slope, otherwise you are free to use any type of hill you find around the cottage. Sledges are included in the rental and shared with other guests.
We recommend the use of helmets.
Why don’t you challenge each other on making the best snow angel outside the cottage?
The art is to make the angel stay put whilst you get up.
Down by the lake is a timber grill that is free to use. Here you can warm frozen fingers and toes, but also grill food. You take wood from the storage but need your own matches and kindling. Just make sure you know where land end and lake starts as the lake is normally frozen over, but may not be safe to walk on.
A spark or kick-sled is traditionally built from wood and has two runners, a bumper at the front and a chair on top – in case you get a passenger. It is steered using handles on the back of the chair. The runners come out behind the chair; you stand on one and kick the sled along with the other foot – which is where the name comes from.
It is a very Swedish way to get around in winter.
There are sparks around the cottages and they are shared with other guests.
Sparks only work on non-sanded, not-too-icy, not-too-deep-with-snow roads.
After a day of open-air activities, it’s wonderful to pull on a hat and jump into a steaming hot bath in the middle of a Swedish winter wonderland.
The hot tub and sauna is located by the lake, ca 1 km away from the cottage. It is an absolute wonderful experience especially in the winter and you can do it even though the temperature is up to minus 20 degrees Celsius.
Please contact Arja Löthberg on mobile +46730642968 or email her at email@example.com for availability and costs. It takes approx. 8 hours to fill the hot tub with water and heat it in the winter, so please book with Arja as early as possible
It is especially fun to run from the sauna or hot tub into the cold air and splash a bit of snow on yourself. Some people may even take a dip in the lake, but this is only advisable if you know exactly what to do as it is dangerous.
Even more amazing? When you sit in the hot tub and watch a starry night sky, perhaps even being able to see the Northern lights.
An unforgettable experience is gliding across a frozen lake. You can book skating incl. boots and ice picks at Högbo, which is 45 mins drive from cottage, but we recommend going to Årsunda, at lake Storsjön, which is south of Sandviken and approx. 1 hour’s drive.
www.arsundaif.se/skridsko website will tell you what the ice is like and other important stuff you need to know.
You can rent the skates at the Gulf petrol station (link and telephone number on the website) and then it is just to head out on the lake – remember to bring a helmet from our store.
It is a surreal feeling that in the summer you would swim in the lake and here you are with skates on. Don’t be surprised if you see cars, snow mobiles, skiers and ice fishing going on at the same time.
Cross country skiing is accessible to skiers of all ages and levels of experience. So, put away your lift pass and leave the stress and the queueing to others, and learn how to do cross-country skiing. We recommend www.hogbobruk.se
Högbo is a 40-min drive from the cottage (heading towards Sandviken on road 272) and is a beautiful recreation spot mixing nature, steel history and varied activities.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information around ski hire, guides, etc.
Otherwise you can try cross-country skiing free of charge around the cottage on our skis from the 1940s, which are stored in the garage at K39. All you need to do is to put your shoes in the binding and start skiing. Be careful though as it is hard, so we recommend wearing a helmet.
If you fancy downhill skiing or snowboarding, we recommend www.kungsberget.se
It takes ca 50 mins to drive to this ski resort and lies north of Sandviken. Best way to get here is to go on road 272 and 302.
The season is December to April and they are ever expanding, this year it has 22 slopes and 12 lifts catering for children, beginners and advanced skiers. If you want to learn there is also ski schools.
Note: The ski equipment needs to be booked beforehand online.
Dog sledding is a real adventure. See more on www.swedenhuskytours.com. It is an approx. 2,5 hours drive there heading north on road 272 passing Ljusdal.
This is very winterized event and need to have the right condition of snow and cold, so it is not available always, so contact the organizers as early as possible.
Here you will steer the dogs yourself (of course with experienced guides to help you) as well as sitting in the sledge behind the dogs, going through deep forest and on frozen lakes.
If you want a fantastic snow mobile safari on frozen lakes and up snowy mountains where you drive the snow mobile yourself (with the help of an experienced and enthusiastic guide), we recommend www.aventyrsmastarna.se
It takes approx. 2 hours to drive (on the E4 north most of the time) to the town called Hassela, so we recommend the afternoon safari which could include lunch if you want. You can also combine ice lake fishing with snow mobiles. You can even add a 4-seated Nilapulka to the safari where you sit cozy and warm and let others do the driving.
Ice fishing might not be the most action-packed winter activity, but it is certainly both relaxing and has elements of excitement. Traditionally, once you drill a hole in the ice large enough for your bait, you then lie on reindeer skin placed on the ice and look through the hole hoping for a nibble from the fish.
As this activity is on the dangerous side (you are after all walking on a frozen lake) we recommend that you do this with an experienced guide or as part of the snow mobile safari in Hassela.
Ice fishing is great for hooking a big pike.
The Barbeques Hut is behind Kolforsen 43 (where Agneta’s mum Linnea live) and can be used whenever you want to, if you are prepared to share with other guests. Sit on real reindeer skins and enjoy the fire (you can even grill food). Wood is free, and you get it from the storage next door, but you need your own matches and kindling.
Linnea lives next door and can help, as well as Agneta.
There is nothing like on a cold and clear night gazing up to the sky in Kolforsen as the stars are so intense and sometimes even the northern lights are visible (although further north there is much more chance of seeing the Northern Lights).
We use an app called “My Aurora Forecast & Alerts” which give alerts where there may be a possibility of northern lights.
Another amazing view is the full moon shining on snowy land – you can see for miles.
Animal tracks in the snow are amazing and in Kolforsen there are sometimes even tracks on the road.
Look out for elk, deer, lynx, wolf, hares, fox, grouse, squirrels, wild boar.
The bear sleeps during the winter so there is no point in looking for their tracks.
If you can walk in summer, you can snowshoe in winter! Snowshoeing is a wonderful way to explore the winter landscape around the cottage at a relaxed pace for both young and old - it doesn't require the experience and technique of cross country skiing. Leave nothing but footprints as you strike out across untouched snowfields and delve into winter wonderland forests (don't get lost though)!
You can borrow snow shoes from Agneta - currently we have 2 pairs.
Ice hockey is a great sport and if you want to see a game go on to this website www.brynas.se to book tickets. Tickets are normally emailed to you.
There are quite a lot of rules in ice hockey, so we recommend that you read up on the game before attending.
The arena is called Gavlerinken and is in Sätra, Gävle. It takes approx. half an hour to get there driving on the E4 south.
Great atmosphere and fun. And of course, Brynäs is the best team in the country!
If you want to look at an odd winter sport, then go to a bandy game. Bandy is hockey on ice, but not ice hockey and has to be seen. We have several teams nearby:
Sandviken AIK www.saik.com which is in Sandviken, 45 min away on road 272 south.
Bollnäs Bandy www.giffarna.se which is ca 1 hour away on road 272 north.
Broberg/Söderhamn Bandy www.brobergsoderhamn.se which is ca 1 hour away as well, driving on the E4 north most of the way.
If you are visiting us in December, you need to check out the Christmas goat in Gävle (ca 45 min drive most of the time on the E4) and see if it is still standing. Every year it is put up for first of advent (4th Sunday before Christmas Eve) and then most years it is burnt down – even though it is illegal.
You can read about its history in English on Wikipedia or follow it at www.visitgavle.se/sv/gavlebocken
If you stay with us in late November and through December – and you are desperate to meet the real Santa, then we recommend a drive to Mora to go to Santa World www.tomteland.se.
It is a 3-hour drive mainly on the E16 towards Oslo, but no-one has yet come back being disappointed even though it is a longer drive.
There are daily events and shows for kids (presented in English on certain days) and there’s a very good chance of meeting Santa himself.
There is also another wildlife zoo nearby (20 mins from Mora) called Orsa Rovdjurspark www.orsarovdjurspark.se
If you stay with us during late November and up to just before Christmas Eve we recommend sampling a traditional Swedish Christmas Smorgasbord. There are several restaurants in the area that serves this culinary experience.
Söderhjelmska in Gävle (ca 45 min drive most of the time on the E4 south) www.soderhielmska.se/julbord
Axmar Brygga in Axmar Bruk (ca 40 mins drive along the E4 north) www.axmarbrygga.se
Another recommendation for a Christmas Smorgasbord is IKEA (in Valbo, which is situated between Gävle and Sandviken on the E16 – ca 40 mins drive) – it is a lot cheaper, but still nice, but of course it is in the normal restaurant, so you don’t get the traditional feeling.
If you don’t fancy meeting the wild animals in the wild, but still would like to see them, we recommend a visit to Järvzoo in Järvsö. It takes 1,45 hours to drive but you can also go by train direct from Ockelbo (www.x-trafik.se).
The website is www.jarvzoo.se and here you can see Swedish version of the “big 5” i.e. wolf, brown bear, lynx, fox and wolverine (although the bear hibernates in the winter). They are also many other Nordic animals such as reindeer, elk and musk oxen.
We like this zoo because there is a 3-km wooden walk-way, so you walk above the animals and the journey to the zoo takes you through traditional Swedish landscape.
Stockholm is always worth a visit as it is a beautiful capital. It takes 2.5 hour to drive (E4 south), but the trains are also very good (www.sj.se).
We recommend a visit to the Skansen www.skansen.se which is situated at Djurgården, because it is the world’s oldest open-air museum, showcasing the whole of Sweden with houses and farmsteads from every part of the country, from old to now – and it is open all year round. Here you can also see wild Nordic animals such as wolves, moose, lynxes, wolverines, seals, otters, reindeer plus a lot more.
They give a very authentic feel to every Swedish tradition such Christmas, New Year, Midsummer, National Days (Sweden, Norway and Sami), Walpurgis and Easter.
Reindeer is of course something that is mostly visible in the northern parts of Sweden, via the Sami’s.
If you want to see reindeer and not drive for 8 hours, then you can see them here:
In Stockholm at Skansen www.skansen.se,
Järvzoo www.jarvzoo.se or at
Santa World www.tomteland.se – perhaps you can even say hello to Rudolph and Comet there.