Sweden. Lakes: 95,700. National parks: 29. Nature reserves: 4,000. Ski resorts: More than 100.
More than 80 percent of Swedes live within 5 kilometres of a nature reserve – meaning nature is quite literally at your doorstep.
But is all Swedish nature created equal? Far from it. And neither are all ski resorts.
“Visitors usually come here because they are in search of a ski resort that still has the harmony of the wilderness and the great outdoors – something not totally exploited,” Johanna Mattsson, CEO at Lofsdalen, tells The Local.
Lofsdalen is located in Härjedalen - the province with the fewest inhabitants in all of Sweden, with just 10,000 people. Only about 160 people live in Lofsdalen itself.
“Usually ski resorts are owned by big companies like Ski Star, but Lofsdalen is totally privately owned, which is quite uncommon,” says Mattsson. “That means we also can decide over the developments in our village.”
The result is a resort that blends seamlessly into the Swedish nature.
“We don't cram everything into one space. We take pride in that we can use the whole mountain, and spread it out,” Mattsson explains. “The slopes and the accommodation are built in harmony.”
Lofsdalen features 26 ski slopes and nine lifts, and each slope is naturally separated from the others by forest, preserving the feeling of being out on your own in the wilderness.
“You can go cross country skiing with or without a guide, take a Sno-Cat up on the mountain, rent a snow scooter, explore on snowshoes…it's up to you,” Mattsson says.
“It's a true mountain village. This is where you can experience the true Swedish mountains, in a really unlimited way.”
The only thing you can't do?
"Party," Mattsson laughs. “We do not have nightclubs. This is a place you come to spend time outdoors and with the people you love.”
But that's not so say guests can't enjoy a drink during their mountain stay. On the contrary – they can enjoy a whole cask of their own Mackmyra Swedish whisky.
“We are building a warehouse for 800 casks of whisky,” Mattsson tells The Local. “It's entirely made of glass and it's on a peak 1,125 metres above sea level. The view is magnificent.”
At the aptly-named Club 1125, members get a personal 30-litre cask of whisky, a chance to taste-test their whisky at the impressive Skybar, and experience the filling of their cask complete with the application of a brass plate with personal text. Of course they also get bottles of their whisky, and can even rent the entire facility for family and friends.
“Mackmyra was looking for a new warehouse, and we can do whatever we want on our mountain. So we were like, yeah, let's build the thing,” Mattsson exclaims.
It's the highest whisky warehouse in Europe – and second highest in the world, Mattsson points out. “The only one higher is in the Himalayas.”
So far the response has been incredible.
“The building doesn't even open until December 12th, and we have already sold 350 casks of whisky,” Mattsson says.
FIND OUT MORE: Visit the Lofsdalen website
Those who buy their very own cask of Mackmyra whisky will also be invited to various events at the resort for some four or five years, Mattsson clarifies.
“Everyone is invited to participate, and it will continue for many years to come.”
But what will happen to the whi-ski (pun intended) at that elevation?
Will it be drier? Sweeter? Heavier?
“No one really knows,” Mattsson says. “There are a lot of people who love whisky who are excited to see what happens!”
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Lofsdalen