Morgedal, the birthplace of skiing

Located in West Telemark in the small town of Kviteseid, Morgedal is a small valley unspoilt by over-development, unlike many other tourist destinations.

An active farming community, many people make their living farming the land here, and as such, it is a great place to experience a real piece of heartland Norway. There are approximately 250 people living in the valley. Community spirit is strong, with a large number of clubs and volunteer groups. Local bee days are always a highlight here, with almost everyone turning up with rakes and shovels to help keep Morgedal looking great! The local store is a real meeting place, and shopping often takes a bit longer as people enjoy a good chat.

Shaped like a natural amphitheater, the central area of Morgedal is dominated by a small lake and surrounded by steep hills, which are often heavy with snow in the winter months. At a height of 426 meters above sea level, Morgedal has a typical inland climate with cold and generally snow-heavy winters and temperate summers.

Morgedal is the birthplace of skiing, or to be more correct, the ski sport. People have used skiing as a mode of transport for over 4000 years. However, in the 1800s, downhill skiing as we know it today was greatly influenced by Sondre Norheim from Morgedal. Who was this charismatic character who changed the ski design and gave us the world’s first carving ski and full heel binding? Where did he live, and what was it about the terrain he grew up in that inspired him to develop new skis and techniques just for the pure rush of downhill skiing? The answers await you in Morgedal, a magical, Norwegian valley that exported the ski sport to the world.

Jazz lovers flock to New Orleans, Elvis fans congregate in Memphis, and ski enthusiasts travel to the small mountain valley of Morgedal. What do they all have in common? The search for the birthplace of their passion. Maybe it is time you took the skiers’ pilgrimage to Morgedal. There are no fancy chairlifts, ritzy bars or designer ski wear, just the world’s first slalom slopes, which look the same today as they did 200 years ago.

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