Horse drawn sleigh rides
Winter 2022/23 prices coming soon.
Free for children under 3 years of age, sitting on a parent´s knee.
Romantic sleigh ride for two
2490 NOK per sleigh
Dates for winter 22/23 coming soon
Maximum 8 people per tour
Maximum of 2-3 tours per day
Enjoy a winter evening in the mountains, under starry skies.
Snuggle under blankets and enjoy the quiet pace of the sleigh ride, gliding between snow-laden trees. The silence of the birch forest is broken only by the soft sounds of hooves in the snow, and the jingle of harness bells. Our driver and horses, the gentle giants Lukas and Trond, will take you on a magical experience.
After the tour, you are invited into the lavvo for storytelling, a warm drink and traditional biscuits around the fire. A lavvo is a circular shelter constructed around a central fireplace. These are used by the Sami reindeer herders in the far North. There are seats covered with reindeer skins and the space is lit with oil lamps and candles. We serve a cup of hot mulled ‘Gløgg’, a fruit juice made up with raisins and almonds and biscuits. The creates a cosy atmosphere to savour at the end of your sleigh ride.
The sleigh ride lasts about half an hour and the whole experience approximately one hour.
Private sleigh rides for groups
Add a memorable Norwegian experience to a family holiday, a celebration or with a group of friends. We can organise sleigh rides on evenings other than our normal rides for groups of 4 or more adults.
Get in touch well in advance to book sleigh rides for your group!
Romantic sleigh ride for two
Mark a special occasion with an experience for just the two of you. Our drivers and hosts ensure that you have a dream experience together. Wrap up together under blankets on your own sleigh ride and then spend time beside the fire in the lavvo. Fire and candlelight create a special atmosphere. Choose a light meal from our menu and a warm drink. You can choose from savoury cured meats, cake or sour cream waffles. Why not make it a special occasion with some Champagne? Or you may prefer wine or beer, which are also available.
This package includes a 30 min sleigh ride for 2 and your choice of drinks and dining in the lavvo from our menu.
Champagne, wine and beer are optional extras.
An experience from a bygone era
In earlier times, until the beginning of 1900’s, horses were the main transportation in Norway and Gudbrandsdalen. Horses worked in the fields and were used to transport people and goods.
There was some horse transport over the mountains in summer. To some degree, it was easier to take this more direct route, between Gudbrandsdalen and Østedalen, in the winter.
Røros, the mountain village that grew around a coppermine, became a popular trading area. The mine was active for more than 300 years. Nowadays it takes three hours by car from Venabu to Rorøs. Driving to Røros from Venabu by horse drawn sleigh would take about eight days!
Coal from the mines in Østedalen, in the East, was carried to Gudbransdalen for heating and salt, grain and fish were taken in the other direction. An 1810 survey showed that 1000 sleigh caravans travelled over Venabydgsfjellet that winter.
With the opening of the railway line from Hamar to Trondheim via Rorøs in 1877 this traffic over mountains dwindled. In the 1960’s the number of horses in Norway hit an all-time low, as cars and tractors took over.
This piece of history is still kept alive today by a group of friends, ‘Fron lasskjørerlag’, who make the journey to Rørosmartna’n, Rorøs’ winter fair, each year. They carry their own flour to the fair, but it is the experience that is the most important part of their trip. We are lucky enough to host them at Venabu for the night.
Our faithful Dole horses (Dølahest in Norwegian), Lukas and Trond, spend the winter season with us on Venabygdsfjellet. During this time most of their work in on sleigh rides. Driving requires horses that are calm and comfortable with the work tasks. The education of a horse for driving is a long one.
The Dole horse (Dølahest in Norwegian) is a working breed that comes from Gudbrandsdalen and the east of Norway. The breed was established in 1857, as a result of farmers needing a stronger and bigger horse to work in the fields and forest. The Dole horses are normally 148-155 cm tall (But Trond is closer to 170..). They are heavily built, made to be steady in the terrain. The Dole horse is the biggest of the 3 old Norwegian breeds.
These working horses have to be strong and calm. They must stay relaxed in spite of noise and trust their leader. The horses need to be obedient and at the same time able to think on their own. In the forest they are often working to voice commands rather than on reins. The horses learn to work around the trees on their own! Both Trond and Lukas have done this forest work. In the summer they are with us as riding horses. They are lovely personalities and appreciate a little cuddle after the tour.
“A great stay in a lovely warm and welcoming hotel. Food was fantastic and plentiful. The horse sleigh ride was beautiful and (to be) met with a warm fire and drink was perfect. A real gem of Norway. Thank you”