In the mountains of the Norwegian countryside, a sustainable lifestyle is something of a tradition. Locally produced food and access to spring water has always existed. Cycling also fits in perfectly, says Glenn Roar Berge, CEO of Mountains of Norway, who sees sustainability as a key factor. He himself likes to return to the timeless mountain environment on Stølsvidda in southern Norway when he takes a bike ride.
You are the CEO and responsible for the “green season” within the initiative Mountains of Norway. Can you tell us a little more about your role and why you succeed so well?
As CEO and manager for the “green season” my role is to develop and promote active and sustainable holidays in the Norwegian mountain region. We know our hand-picked providers well and my colleagues and I spend our free time doing activities like biking, hiking, skiing and camping in the mountains whenever we get the chance. We work closely with European niche tour operators and their feedback is important in our product development. Our in-depth knowledge of the region together with our insight of the demands in the markets is an exceptional base to design the best adventures, I guess this is the secret of our success.
Sustainability is strategically important to you. Can you tell us about how you work with sustainability and cycling?
Sustainability is the key factor in our adventure design. When you book your cycling holiday you can choose to include public transport in the package. Our luggage transfer is mainly done by public buses and boat routes. Our accommodations are mainly small mountain hotels, often run by the same family for generations. The hosts know that their most valuable asset is the nature and thus are guardians for sustainable development. Most of them are certified as sustainable companies, but in a way they have always been green. They take great pride in using local produce in the kitchen, use local staff and in other ways contribute in their local societies. And for the visitor: Do not buy bottled water, the tap water in our mountains have a better taste than any bottled water and you can refill your bottle in one of the many streams you pass on your way.
Finally, do you have your own favorite place or route when you take a ride on the bike that you can tell us about?
If I should pick one area it would be Stølsvidda, this is a part of the Mjølkevegen route. You can explore the area with the Mjølkevegen: South Route. Stølsvidda have only small hills, so fairly easy to bike. Summer farms and areas with private cabins are scattered between lush vegetation, lakes and streams – always with the wild mountains as a backdrop. The few cars you will meet have no rush and drives slowly on the gravel roads. Apart from the mountain hotels, where they are constantly evolving – with an eye to the past, it is almost as if time has stood still. I guess it is this feeling of timelessness that keeps me coming back to Stølsvidda.