Riksgränsen Ski Resort

http://www.powderhounds.com/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/images/Europe/Sweden/Riksgransen/overview/01.JPG
Riksgransen ski resort in Sweden
Riksgransen ski resort in Sweden
Ski powder at Riksgränsen above the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland
Ski powder at Riksgränsen above the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland
Riksgränsen ski resort is rail connected to Narvik & Kiruna by the Arctic Circle Train.
Riksgränsen ski resort is rail connected to Narvik & Kiruna by the Arctic Circle Train.
Riksgransen heli skiing can be world class (Photo - Andreas Bengtsson)
Riksgransen heli skiing can be world class (Photo - Andreas Bengtsson)
Driving a rental car to Riksgransen is an option from the airport near Narvik Norway
Driving a rental car to Riksgransen is an option from the airport near Narvik Norway
Take a leap when riding Riksgränsen
Take a leap when riding Riksgränsen
Ski Riksgränsen. (Photo - Lisa Auer)
Ski Riksgränsen. (Photo - Lisa Auer)
Off-piste freeride terrain is what Riksgränsen ski resort is all about
Off-piste freeride terrain is what Riksgränsen ski resort is all about
Riksgränsen ski terrain is predominantly above the treeline
Riksgränsen ski terrain is predominantly above the treeline
Riksgransen village is small & sits below the railway line & main road
Riksgransen village is small & sits below the railway line & main road
Despite its Arctic location, Riksgränsen gets tracked out on powder days
Despite its Arctic location, Riksgränsen gets tracked out on powder days
Lifts & restaurant at Nordals on the Katterjåkk side of Riksgransen ski resort
Lifts & restaurant at Nordals on the Katterjåkk side of Riksgransen ski resort
Vinkel T-bar rises 200m vertical up to the summit area of Riksgränsenfjället
Vinkel T-bar rises 200m vertical up to the summit area of Riksgränsenfjället
Steep terrain on the northside of Riksgränsen ski resort near the Nedre chairlift
Steep terrain on the northside of Riksgränsen ski resort near the Nedre chairlift
Crossing the border into Sweden from Norway on the E10 road near Riksgränsen
Crossing the border into Sweden from Norway on the E10 road near Riksgränsen
Looking across to Katterjåkk village and the Arctic Lodge from the ski area
Looking across to Katterjåkk village and the Arctic Lodge from the ski area
Aurora borealis (northern lights) over Niehku Mountain Villa at Riksgransen Sweden
Aurora borealis (northern lights) over Niehku Mountain Villa at Riksgransen Sweden
Hotel Riksgränsen is the most convenient place to stay near the ski lifts
Hotel Riksgränsen is the most convenient place to stay near the ski lifts
Arctic Lodge at the Katterjåkk base has the best self-contained apartments for holiday rental
Arctic Lodge at the Katterjåkk base has the best self-contained apartments for holiday rental
Ski & ride above the Arctic Circle in Riksgränsen, Swedish Lapland
Ski & ride above the Arctic Circle in Riksgränsen, Swedish Lapland

Riksgränsen Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Riksgränsen

Riksgränsen3.5/54
Riksgränsen3.5 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Summit Heliskiing Troll Peninsula Heliskiing tours
Wagner Custome Skis

Nearby Ski Resorts

Abisko
Bjorkliden
Narvikfjellet

Riksgransen Maps & Stats

    Riksgransen Ski Trail Map
  • Riksgransen Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    522m - 909m (387m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    A lot!
  • Lifts (6)
    2 Chairlifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Late Feb to late May
    9:00am - 4:00pm

    Midnight Sun Skiing
    10:00pm - 00:30am
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 21km
    Longest run - 3km+
    Off-piste - Vast
    Advanced - 5%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Beginner - 45%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 2023
    Valid at Björkliden & Riksgränsen
    Adult - 430SEK (approx. €40)
    Child - 345SEK (approx. €32)
    Child u/8yr - Free
    Bjorkliden Ski Trail Map
  • Bjorkliden Ski Trail Map

Riksgransen Ski Resort Sweden

Riksgransen ski resort in Swedish Lapland might not ring too many bells in the minds of skiers worldwide, but it should. A funky, powder paradise above the Arctic Circle, make sure you put Riksgränsen Sweden on your skiing and snowboarding bucket list. The Powderhounds definitely have & finally tick it off the list in 2023. (Shame we were not there in 2019 or 2020 as it had stellar seasons!)

The story goes that during the early 1900s Riksgransen ceased to exist as the population was moved away due to .............. too much snow! Despite what most skiers think, there is such a thing as too much snow - sucks I know. However, what management authorities couldn't deal with 100 years ago, has now become the reason for powder snow and backcountry skiers & riders to converge on the small village. And it’s not the snow that is the problem here, it is the wind!

Skiing & Snowboarding, Lifts & Terrain

Terrain wise, Riksgransen’s ski trail map makes its look singularly unimpressive, but the proof is always in the eating & when we tasted the ski area, it was delicious. The 400m (ish) skiable vertical seems limited but skiing here is about more than just the resort. Check out the ski trail map for Riksgransen below.

Riksgransen Ski Trail Map
Riksgransen Ski Trail Map

The ski lifts at Riksgränsen are nothing to send postcards home about (aah....postcards, remember them), other than to note how slow and old they are. But never mind, they slow down the pace of the hill and allow for more time on fresh snow. The two chairlifts & and mix of 4 surface tows do the job, but under sufferance on a busy day. The two lift bases are comparatively chalk & cheese. Katterjåck has one long slow surface tow (a stick poma), and very little supportive infrastructure, opposite the train station & lodge of the same name. Riksgränsen has the main lower chairlift and several lodges, restaurants & shops plus better car parking. All lifts require a walk to get to them. this is not a ski area for the lazy!

Swedish Lapland has the top 10 highest mountains in Sweden, and most are in the range extending south of Riksgransen. The backcountry skiing options are endless. Use the ski lifts to remove 400m of climbing and then head south into the hills.

Weather conditions in the depths of winter can be brutal at Riksgränsen, never mind the lack of sunshine. Hence the ski resort doesn't turn its first lift until the last week of February. Best months for powder in the resort are March and April, but patience is definitely required for the blessed combination of powder, sun & no wind.

Heliskiing at Riksgransen

From mid-March to the end of May, Riksgransen has a short, but incredibly sweet, heliski season. Covering an area of 5000km and 200 peaks, fresh turns & face shots are all but guaranteed. Trips vary from half days with 3 drops or full 7-day packages. Skiable vertical is generally 800m but can be as much as 1500m further south near Sweden’s highest mountain Kebnekaise. Prices are competitive by world standards. More information on heliskiing at Riksgransen is coming.

Midnight Sun Skiing & Snowboarding

A location 200km north of the Arctic Circle has certain benefits (and a few negatives, but we’ll focus on the positive!). One of them is skiing at any time of day in the midnight sun. The light at midnight can be mesmerising and a sheer pleasure for skiing. The terrain at Riksgransen lends itself to easy touring and earning turns in the midnight sun, but in May & June the ski resort runs lifts on one random day every week. Spend a week here in May and you will know which day!

Where is Riksgränsen Sweden?

Riksgränsen is in Sweden, about 200 km north of the Arctic Circle and a paltry 1366km from Stockholm. Straddling the border with Norway, Riksgransen's closest major cities are Narvik (50min to the west) and Kiruna (2hr to the south-east).

Thankfully, due to a need to move iron ore to the coast, remote Riksgransen is connected by road & rail to Norway and Sweden. The Arctic Circle Train runs twice daily in both directions between Kiruna and Narvik stopping at Riksgränsen and its sister resort, Bjorkliden (as well as Abisko) in between. Note there are two train stations at the base of the ski resort - Riksgransen & Katterjåkk (oft called Katterjokk), and both are close to the ski lifts.

Search & book here for train tickets from Narvik, Kiruna or Stockholm to Riksgransen.

The closest major Swedish airport is Kiruna (KRN) which has several daily flights from Stockholm. From the airport, a bus shuttle can take you directly to the ski resort or you can take your time and catch the train from the station in the Kiruna city centre. An excellent alternative airport is Evenes (EVE) in Norway, also known as the Harstad-Narvik airport. It has flights via Oslo. A bus shuttle will get you to Narvik where the train can complete a journey to Riksgransen. Otherwise getting a fully winterised rental car (this is studded tyre country!) and doing your own Arctic road trip is a wonderful adventure.

Search & book here for flights to Evenes or Kiruna.

Alternatively, for any true lovers of railway journeys, an overnight train makes the epic journey from Stockholm to Riksgransen and on to Narvik in Norway. The train leaves Stockholm at 5.30pm and arrives at Riksgransen at 11.40am the next day.

Riksgransen Accommodation

Riksgränsen has a small number of lodging options at the base of the lifts near the train stations at Riksgransen & Katterjåkk (a.k.a. Katterjokk). If busy, you may have to opt for a shared bunk room to get a bed. Så var det!

For an absolute lux experience, try the exceptional Niehku Mountain Villa. For reasonably comfortable and affordable self-contained apartments, we stayed in Arctic Lodge near the Katterjåkk base for several nights. Just opposite the ski lift and train station, the Katterjokk Turiststation has budget lodge-style accommodations with shared facilities for the more hardy traveller. For the best atmosphere, the Hotel Riksgränsen is the place to stay.

Search & book here for all Riksgränsen ski accommodation.

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at Riksgransen

Another of Riksgransen’s geographical benefits is its remoteness (lack of man-made light) and proximity to the stunning phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights).

The Northern Lights can be viewed from September to April. Whilst they can occur anywhere in the area, nearby Abisko National Park is touted as the best place in the world to see the phenomenon. You need a clear night with no light (artificial or moon!) & the right solar activity. The forecast for the northern lights (yep, there’s a forecast!) can be viewed here.

Abisko has a chairlift up to a purpose-built viewing area called the Aurora Sky Station. Dinner is available and comes accompanied with all the requisite ooohs & aaahs as the Aurora Borealis shimmers across the night sky. Operating dates for northern lights viewing are from late Nov to late March.

Nearby Ski Resorts

The Bjorkliden ski resort has a linked lift pass with Riksgransen and is 30km to the east. A 30min bus shuttle runs daily between the two resorts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Taking the train to Bjorkliden (twice daily) takes about 1hr 15min and is not convenient if looking to use the ski lifts due to arrival & departure times.

Across the border in Norway, nearby Narvik has a stunningly located ski hill a step from the train station and overlooking the fjords. Called Narvikfjellet, the mountain has over 800m of lift served vertical - amongst the longest in Scandinavia.

We observed that the nearby Abisko chairlift (rising 500m vertical to the Aurora Sky Station) on Nuolja mountain has some excellent, lift-served off-piste skiing and riding without any crowds. It has been described as Sweden’s version of La Grave - as in all freeride, no piste trails (definitely doesn’t have the La Grave extreme terrain). Winter operating of the chairlift during the day is from late February to early May. If the chairlift doesn't run due to wind, skinning up and skiing the low angle trees on a powder day is fun.

Review

The Powderhounds reviewed Riksgransen & the rest of Swedish Lapland & Arctic Norway in March 2023. The wind blew, the snow flew and eventually we scored a few hours of powder skiing, blue sky, and no wind. A trio of conditions only rarely experienced at Riksgränsen. talk about score! More information, including our photos & insights, will follow soon.

See how Riksgränsen compares to the rest of the Swedish ski resorts on the Sweden ski resort ratings page, or compare to the rest of Europe the European ski resort ratings page.

Follow Powderhounds Europe on Instagram to see where we are currently skiing. Follow our main Powderhounds page on Facebook to stay in touch with up-to-date info, tours, and discussions.

Tour in or near Riksgransen

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Lofoten Islands Norway Ski Touring
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY SKI TOURING
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Ski Days
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Fully hosted & guided small group backcountry ski touring exploring one of the world's most stunning locations, Lofoten Islands on the Arctic coast of northern Norway. Stay in a fisherman's cabin & ski powder from a different summit every day down to the sea. Private groups of 3 to 6 people apply for your best dates.
Price p/p From price based on 6 nights in shared cabin lodgings in a private group of 3 to 6 people.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,468
View Details
 
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Riksgränsen here
200