Norwegian getaway: From city to slopes in just 20 minutes

Skiing and sights in the same weekend? Sophie Lam discovers it is possible

I hadn't hit the slopes since a school trip to Val d'Isère in 1995 - and it showed. Not just in my wobbly knees, but in my now mid-calf red shiny salopettes. Still, a weekend "shopping and skiing" break to Oslo sounded right up my street, especially since the rest of my group were experienced skiers, leaving me with my own personal instructor for the day.

One of the main draws of the Tryvann Winter Park is its proximity to Oslo. Twenty minutes on the tram from the city centre and you're at the top of Holmenkollen, a ski "resort" that includes the Winter Park, an Olympic ski jump and a ski museum. Tryvann isn't the sort of place you'd want to come to for more than a weekend's skiing. It has 11 runs - including a red and a black and a half pipe for boarders. Five ski schools serve the area, of which Tomm Murstad Ski School (00 47 92 62 28 87; www.skiskole.com) provided my instructor, Tony. He had the patience of a saint. I careered down the slopes, shrieking, but Tony followed swiftly behind, instructing me to relax as a cluster of five-year-olds zig-zagged past me. They demonstrated a dexterity that I could only dream of.

That afternoon, I took a lift back to the top for another attempt. Feeling a bit more confident after a leisurely lunch, I managed to take my eyes off the tips of my skis and look around. Pine trees dripped with icicles; cabins beside frozen ponds piped smoke from their chimneys like something out of a fairy story; fjords - as well as Oslo - were spread out below us. At 3pm, the sun was already setting, flooding the sky with oranges and crimsons.

Perhaps it was this sight - combined with Tony's patience and the laid-back approach to skiing adopted at Tryvann - that inspired me to reach the bottom of the piste without falling over. As darkness descended, the floodlights came on, allowing skiers and boarders to keep going into the early evening before they hobbled back to the ski hire chalet and on to the tram to Oslo.

I was relieved not to be skiing the next day. Every muscle felt as if it had been tenderised. Instead, I explored the cultural delights of Oslo. If, like me, you enjoy skiing in small doses, then Oslo's the place.

GIVE ME THE FACTS

How to get there

SAS Scandinavian Airlines (0870 60 727727; www.scandinavian.net) operates direct flights from the UK to Oslo. Norwegian Air Shuttle (00 47 21 49 00 15; www.norwegian.no) flies from Stansted. The Airport Express Train (00 47 815 00 777; www.flytoget.no) takes you into the city centre every 10 minutes. Returns cost Norwegian kroner 320 (£27). Tryvann Vinterpark (00 47 40 46 27 00; www.tryvann.no) is easily reached from Oslo by tram. Alight at Voksenkollen. Return tickets cost Nkr40 (£3.40). A 24-hour Oslo Pass (00 47 24 14 77 00; www.visitoslo.com) costs from Nkr195 (£16.50) covers museum admission and use of public transport. Neilson (0870 333 3356; www.neilson.co.uk) organises three-night skiing breaks to Oslo from £299 including return flights from Heathrow and b&b accommodation either in Oslo or Holmenkollen. Lift passes cost from Nkr195 (£16.50) for two hours to Nkr680 (£57) for three days. Tuition with Tomm Murstad Skiskole (00 47 23 39 68 41; www.skiskole.com) costs from Nkr150 (£13) per hour for a group of five. Skis, poles and boots can be hired from AS Skiservice Tomm Murstad (00 47 22 13 95 00; www.skiservice.no) from Nkr280 (£24) per day.

Where to stay

The Norlandia Karl Johan Hotell (00 47 23 16 17 00; www.norlandia.no/karljohan) has double rooms from Nkr990 (£84), including breakfast.

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