4 days. And lots of adrenaline-filled activities. The National Park Region gave a completely new dimension to the family’s holiday in Norway.
Text and photo: Mari Valen Høihjelle
The National Park Region is a paradise for those who love action, speed, excitement and physical activities – but also for families with children. Read all about when the Slokvik/Løkenhagen family from Fetsund won The National Park Region’s family competition and were awarded four fun days packed with adrenaline-filled adventures. The activities, joys and challenges were all lined up.
THE FAMILY’S MOTIVATION
Nature-based adventure holidays have been a tourism trend for years. This family of five isn’t just concerned with cool activities, but also with team spirit, feelings of accomplishment and good memories. When Roar Løkenhagen and Hans-Erik Slokvik ended their existing relationships and moved in together, a whole new family life stood before the children Simen Slokvik (9) and Lea (12) and Nora Løkenhagen (17). “We want to create new goals and dreams together. As weekend dads, the time we have together with the children is particularly precious. An adventure holiday like this creates some great memories and helps us all get to know each other,” says Hans-Erik.
DUCKIES AND A CAMP FIRE
Duckies with Lom & Skjåk Adventure | Staying the night in a turf hut at Storøya Camping.
The first item on the action holiday list awaited the family on the banks of the river Otta. The family would be able to test their abilities in inflatable kayaks known as duckies, with Lom & Skjåk Adventure based in Ofossen Mølle. Before going into the water, they received proper training from the skilled guides. Simon (9), the youngest of the lot, had a few reservations towards the water-based activities – but they soon disappeared once they were joined by a confident guide in the scenic postcard-like surroundings. “This was a great introduction to the water activities for a family that has barely seen the inside of a water park,” Roar chuckles. That night, the family barbecued marshmallows and cuddled up around the fire at Storøya Camping where they stayed the night in a turf hut. “What a fun start to the holiday,” Simen says.
My best memory:
Ducky! I loved paddling, and the river wasn't too scary. The waves weren’t very big, so I managed really well and had a great time.” - SIMEN SLOKVIK (9)
SOAKED IN HEIDAL
Riverboarding with Heidal Rafting | Food and accommodation at Heidal Rafting / Sjoa Hostel
Next morning, the family drove from Skjåk to Sjoa, where they would go up against the majesty of Gudbrandsdalslågen on riverboards with Heimdal Rafting. This is considered rafting for intermediates. Heimdal Rafting was the first in the country to offer riverboarding back in 1993. We followed our guide Tiril Marstein like ducks in a row down through Lågen. The most important thing here is to keep your feet up in the water level so you don’t stub your toes on rocks. The froth of Kollostryket allowed the family to really put their limits to the test. Wielding the board in the wild waters requires technique and balance. The girls weren’t swayed by the wild river – they had a great time: “Being at one with the elements was amazing,” Lea and Nora say. Back at the Heidal Rafting camp, the family were lodged in the second oldest hostel in the country; Sjoa Hostel. Guests have enjoyed accommodation, activities and adventures on the historical Aamodt Farm since 1938. Following a nice dinner in the old sitting room from 1747, the family went to bed early after another eventful day.
My best memory:
Riverboarding was the best part. Being at one with the river was very exciting. The first river chute was the best part, even though I was a little scared - LEA LØKENHAGEN (12)
High rope course and zip line with Sjoa Rafting | Bridgeswinging with Gorafting | Barbecuing and staying the night in theme rooms with Gorafting
On day three, it was time to challenge their fear of heights in the high rope course high up in the treetops at Sjoa Rafting. Various obstacles must be overcome, nine meters above the ground. The course is created for adults, so the two youngest provided some much needed cheers. Way up in the trees, Nora, Hans-Erik and Roar really got to feel the surge of elevation. With arms and legs shaking and shivering, a little extra support from the ground crew was sorely needed. The high rope course is 13 years old and one of the oldest of its kind in the country, so Sjoa Rafting is currently completing a new climbing park. To their thorough enjoyment, this provided the family with an opportunity to test run the zip line. “The zip line was one of my favourite activities,” Lea says. After a solid lunch in one of the cosy timber huts, the family trotted on to Gorafting, where perhaps the biggest challenge of their holiday awaited them: Bridgeswinging. From Faukstad bridge there is a 17 metre plunge straight down into Sjoa. The youngest kids were too young to jump, but Nora, Roar and Hans-Erik accepted the challenge. First up was Nora, who came away with a mixture of fear and delight. “That is the sickest thing I have ever experienced! I was so ecstatic that I cried,” she shrieked. Hans-Erik also willingly braved the challenge, whilst Roar decided to sit this one out. After a day filled to the brim with dizzy heights, the family let the effects of the day sink in with a barbecue and apple cake at Gorafting.
My best momory:
I was baffled by the shear power of the river. Streaking through massive chutes and waves gave me a proper adrenaline high. -HANS-ERIK SLOKVIK (33)
OVER THE EDGE AND ON SEGWAY
Rappelling with Sjoa Rafting Center NWR | Segway and gyro trampoline at the Adventure Center Otta | Local food at the Nordre Ekre farm hotel
The following morning, the family visited Sjoa Rafting Center NWR, where the Enkerud family have been involved with tourism since 1948. The Løkenhagen/Slokvik family first got a guided tour on an old Gråtass tractor from 1950 before the climbing guides took them to a 25 meter wall by the Kollobrua bridge. Next was rappelling. With this activity, it is important to lean backwards and keep your legs apart against the wall. Lea was especially tough, rappelling all the way down despite a few tears and her fear of heights. This inspired dad Roar to conquer his own fears too. “I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for Lea being so tough,” he says. Feet firmly back on the ground, we travelled on to Otta Adventure Center where we were lured with segways and gyro trampolines. “This is an activity I can really master,” Roar joked as he sped through the centre of Otta on two wheels. The final stop of the adventure holiday in the National Park Region was a fantastic culinary experience at the Nordre Ekre farm hotel where the family was served a well-deserved end-of-holiday dinner. Spareribs of goat kid from Valbjør farm, an assortment of sausages from the sausage maker Annies Pølsemakeri, gorgeous trimmings and a dessert plate were all on the menu, before the family happily drove back home. Full of both good food and great adventures.
My best memory:
Riverboarding was an incredible experience, especially when I mastered the technique and felt in control. I’m a little surprised I forgot how cold the water actually was. -ROAR LØKENHAGEN (43)
THE FAMILY CONCLUDES
“We are impressed at how much the National Park Region has to offer in ways of adventure, activities, accommodation and food.
There is something for everyone.” The family is well-travelled, but the National Park Region is an area they have merely passed through on their way to their holiday home in Western Norway. "We are impressed at how much the National Park Region has to offer in terms of adventures, activities, accommodation and food. There is something for everyone,” Roar Løkenhagen says. “We feel very lucky to have been able to experience all this together. The feeling of fear, joy and achievement has helped us grow as a family,” Hans-Erik adds. The holiday was a hit for the kids as well. “I thought this was great fun to do together as a family. You become closer by doing things you are a little afraid of”, says Nora. “And then we become proud of each other,” Lea and Simon add. The family is already planning on going back for rafting and canyoning.
My best memory
Bridgeswinging, no question about it! I really pushed my limits, and I thought daring to do so was really cool. I actually cried tears of joy. - NORA LØKENHAGEN (17)