Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Ål
Ål municipality has approximately 4.800 inhabitants and covers a area of 1.171,3 km2 in Buskerud. Sundre is the centre of Ål, which is the largest community in Hallingdal. The varied countryside with enormous mountain areas has made Ål an Eldorado for nature lovers in winter as well as in summer. Ål are wellknown among skiers, but there is lots to do in the summer, too.
In Sudndalen, for example, you can have a good time on the mountain massif called Hallingskarvet. Here you can go climbing, cycling and riding. Or just lie flat out and look up into the endless blue mountain sky. Or why not be tempted to set a course for Numedal, which is the gateway to the Hardanger mountain plateau with its smooth ridges?
It is Europe´s largest mountain plateau, and all the family will find this part of Norway welcoming as well as easy hiking country. When the sun is at its zenith, a walk over the glaciers is quite an experience. A trip with a guide into their turquoise blue and icy realm is an exciting adventure you can share with all the family. After that you can always round off the day with a refreshing swim in one of our many lovely mountain lakes.
Farming is the most important industry in Ål – mainly meat and milk production. Business is varied with industry, tourism and services. Ål has a good variation of shops and there are several hotels, and tourist businesses. You will also find the head office of the local newspaper "Hallingdølen" here. The helicopter ambulance has also got its base for southern Norway in Ål.
One of the biggest annual events in Ål is the Ål exhibition focusing on agriculture and cattle show. The exhibition lasts for three days and there are all sorts of events for children as well as for adults. Every year there is a new main theme for the exhibition. Home craft products, music, food and beverage and exhibition of agricultural equipment, a cowshed where children can cuddle the animals and above all the cattle show are the main attractions of the exhibition. Or maybe you can manage to tempt a fish to nibble your hook? The trout are ready to bite, as long as you are patient enough.
Stop a while. Take your time to look about. To listen and smell. Stay at a comfortable hotel. Take a dip in the swimming pool after a day´s walking in the mountains, enjoy tasty meals and a nice chat in the bar in the evenings. It´s the little things you will come to remember when the summer is over and only the memories remain.
Nordfjella Reindeer area Norway is the only country in Europe with wild reindeer flocks capable of living. Flocks of wild reindeer are grazing in the area of Reineskarvet at wintertime. You may be lukcy to see them, but do not try get to close or follow them. They are living on their brink of existence and chasing can be fatal for the animals.
Hallingdal is one of the major valleys of eastern Norway, on an area of 5,830 square kilometers. Hallingdal lies in the northern part of the county of Buskerud. The valley stretches from Gulsvik by Lake Krøderen to the border with Hordaland and Sogn & Fjordane.
Central to the geography is relatively flat mountain area which lies from 700 to 1100 meters above sea level. The valley is V-shaped and is drained by the Hallingdal River (Hallingdalsvassdraget) which originates in the western parts of Hardangervidda and flows eastwards later southwards through Hallingdal.
Hallingdal valley consists of six municipalities: Flå, Nes, Gol, Hemsedal, Ål and Hol (Geilo).
Ål is one of the most important places for the country’s folk music. Every spring "The Norwegian Folk Music Week" takes place here. Folk music friends from home and abroad gather for a whole week. Ål has kept its distinctive cultural character. The art of rose painting has always had a rich tradition in Ål and many of the famous rose painting artists in the country come from this area.
Ål Skiing centre is situated in the middle of the Winterland. The skiing arena has snow canons and can offer well prepared slopes of different grades. Ål Skiing Centre has got a very good and separated area for children and beginners as well as challenging slopes for more experienced skiers. Ål Skiing centre has 3 ski lifts. We are proud of the fact that the Norwegian national alpine team for the last few years have chosen Ål Skiing Centre to train before big competions. You will also find ski rental, ski school and a cafeteria. If you prefer cross-country skiing you can take the lift up to the top and enjoy the well prepared skiing tracks from there.
The Skarslia skiing centre and its toboggan run are situated in beautiful surroundings in Vats by the gate to the high mountains close to Reineskarvet. Here you will find the longest toboggan run in Norway, 1200 m long. The skilift will take you all the way to the top and then you can let yourself go on slopes especially prepared just for toboggans.In addition, the centre has two downhill slopes for alpine skiing. If you prefer cross-country skiing, you can put your skies on just outside the front door and away you go towards Reineskarvet. Prepared and marked tracks in one of the most beautiful high mountain areas in Norway.
Ål has got approx. 295 km prepared and marked tracks. Flootlit tracks makes it possible to enjoy skiing also in the evenings. Not all tracks are marked and prepared at all times. You can also try the Adventure Trail, a unique continuous trail all the way from Ustaoset to Norefjell.
Liatoppen Skiing Centre has a cross-country and biathlon arena approved both for national and international competitions. The centre is owned and run by the sports club in Ål. The sports clubs are also responsible for the preparation of the tracks. The floodlit tracks (9 km) are prepared every day both for the classic cross-country skiing and the skating method. All tracks are prepared using modern equipment. The mountain tracks are prepared by snow- mobiles when the weather condition allows it.
MOUNTAIN DAIRY FARMING
The outlying pasture fields have traditionally played an important part in the agriculture of the upper part of Hallingdal. Every farm is likely to have one or two mountain farms. The one closest to the village was used in spring and autumn and the one high up in the mountains was used in summer. The mountain farm was the domain of the farmer’s wife with weeks together with small children and cattle. The children were given responsibilities and chores at an early age. The children had to look after the cattle to keep them well away from bears and wolves. The mountain dairy farming is still present in the mountains of Hallingdal although is has a different character. Today there are roads all the way to the farms and tank lorries collect the milk.
30 unique, protected farm houses from around 1600 – comprising a cotter’s farm and a mountain farm together with a mountain house made of stone. Interesting furniture from the old days shows you how people lived in earlier
generations. The museum is situated approximately 2 km from the center of Ål towards Øvre-Ål.
STAVE CHURCH MUSEUM
Ål Stave Church was torn down in 1880 but the site of the church is still to be seen in the church park. The new vicarage barn where the church museum is to be found was built in 1994 after the old one burned down in 1992. In the vicarage barn you can find the stave church museum, and exhibition of old farm equipment and tools and a conference room. In the museum you can also find a copy of the famous Ål church portals of the old stave church.
THE NESCH MUSEUM
The Nesch Museum is open the whole year round in the opening hours of Ål Culture House. Rolf Nesch came to Norway from Germany in 1933 and bought the farm Ragnhildrud in Ål in 1951. He lived and worked here the last 25 years of his life. Nesch is internationally known as one of the great re-newers of graphic art. On June 5 1993 the Nesch Museum was opened in Ål Culture House. Here you can find 76 pieces of the artist’s work both drawings, paintings, graphics, sculptures and pictures made of materials. The works have been given by the heirs of Rolf Nesch and the council of Ål have organized the premises.
TORPO STAVE CHURCH
Torpo Stave Church is the only original stave church left in Hallingdal. Orginally Hallingdal had 7 stave churches. Torpo Stave Church is the oldest church in the valley and has got the original nave from approx. 1150. The church is well-known for its more than 700 year old decorations in the ceiling. The church is situated in the centre of Torpo.
The Stave Churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.
Ål Church was built in 1880 and restored in 1959. The altar piece, parts of the 18th century chancel plus a copy of the famous ceiling from Ål stave church can be seen here.
Leveld Church, Torpo Church, Vats Mountain Church, Nystølane Mountain Church.
Easily seen from the village centre you find Sundreberget. The area is used a lot for short walks. Paths lead you to the top. From here you have a beautiful view overlooking the village. The climbing area is on the eastern side of the main cliff. Here you will find climbing routes graded from 6- to 8+.
Summer and swimming are closely connected and here in Ål there are many possibilities. You can go swimming in the Hallingdal river or in the mountain rivers and lakes. Take a trip up to Liagardane and further up Votndalsåsen to the river Lya. Here you can have a marvellous time surrounded by mountains and mountain dairy farms.
These trips go through varied and beautiful mountain terrain on well-trained and experienced horses using western saddles. Breaks are taken on meadows near mountain farms where a bonfire will be lit and coffee will be made.
As a biking tourist in Ål you have unlimited possibilities. You can experience wild and beautiful sceneries from the many mountain roads. The trip from the valley up to the mountains can be hard but once you have reached the tope the hard job is done. Visit one of the mountains farms where visitors are welcome and take a well deserved rest. You can also get to know Ål by cycling along the river down in the valley. On hot days there are lots of nice areas where you can go for a swim (e.g. Sataøini in direction Torpo).
Ål ski resort has a large family area, as well as areas for freeride and jibbing. The ski area ranges from 570 to 1.042 metres, has 5 ski lifts, and offers 15 km of prepared runs. The skiing area is equipped with snow cannons, and can offer prepared runs of various levels of difficulty. There are designated runs and areas both for beginners, children and advanced skiers. Starting in Ål, you have access to 386 km of prepared cross-country tracks in mountain and forest terrain, and the landscape with its enormous mountain ranges have contributed to Ål's status as an Eldorado for lovers of nature, both in winter and summer.
There are a lot of possibilities for angling in Ål. The Hallingdal river and several lakes are incorporated in the common fishing ticket "Angling in Ål" which you can buy at the tourist information desk, the sport shops, the hotels etc. To be able to fish some of these lakes you will have to buy a fishing ticket before you leave for the mountains but normally you will also be able to buy the ticket from a self-service box by the private lakes. In l997 Ål was chosen as The Outdoor Life Community of the Year. Ål Hunting and Angling Club is an organisation that everybody who is interested in hunting and outdoor life can join.