If you survived a natural disaster, would you change your life? It’s rare to meet someone who has reckoned with this reality – but Svein Ørjasæter has. In 2018, he survived an avalanche and, feeling that he had been given a second chance, he decided to leave behind the stress and bustle of the city. Instead, Ørjasæter and his wife Heidi Holmlund bought a property in Stryn – a small town in Vestland in the west of Norway – and started a lodge for outdoor pursuits, right in the centre of the community.

Lodgen Stryn is an old Swiss Villa and modern converted barn that offers comfortable accommodation, tailored guided tours, and food for groups of up to 45 visitors. They can plan for and entertain anything from intimate gatherings to lively events, often working in collaboration with other businesses in the region. Originally planning to stay for one year, Ørjasæter and Holmlund moved their three children to the region in 2019 and almost four years later are still there and thriving.

Lodgen Stryn: A life-changing adventure lodge inspired by near-death

Lodgen Stryn.

Before Lodgen Stryn, the family had no experience running a lodge. Svein worked as a teacher and ran a private activity school for children, Svein Skole. Heidi was a sports nutritionist and worked for organisations such as the Norwegian Olympic team. “I had a lot of experience in running training camps, so the Lodge benefits from this. As a couple, it was a steep learning curve to master tourism expertise, marketing, sales, booking systems and many other areas we had no knowledge of before,” says Holmlund.

Lodgen Stryn: A life-changing adventure lodge inspired by near-death

Left: A guest room at Lodgen Stryn. Right: Enjoying the hot tub at Lodgen Stryn.

The lodge is a labour of familial love, with the bulk of operations managed by the family. “We have employees who are sporty and help us with the operation. We call them the Lodge crew. We don’t have other guides regularly working for us,” says Holmlund. “We hire internationally approved mountain and ski guides when needed. In the future, we hope to employ guides and instructors for the full range of activities we offer.”

As Lodgen Stryn is open year-round, an extensive list of activities is available. Spanning mountain and summit hikes, skiing, cycling, kayaking, and even activities in the garden for purposes like team building, Lodgen Stryn has something to offer every guest. “You don’t have to be in top shape to visit us,” assures Holmlund. “We tailor programmes to fit individual needs and requirements. We want everyone to experience both mastery and joy.” Some of the lodge’s most popular experiences are summer hikes to the mountain peaks of Marsåhyrna and canoeing trips in the turquoise waters of Oppstrynsvatnet, which are close to Lodgen Stryn.

Lodgen Stryn: A life-changing adventure lodge inspired by near-death

Dinner at Lodgen Stryn.

Authentically Norwegian

With Lodgen Stryn situated in some of Norway’s most beautiful and dramatic natural landscapes, Holmlund feels the lodge is distinctly Norwegian at its core. “After a day out, it’s good to come back to the cosy, laid-back atmosphere in the Lodge,” says Holmlund. “We make sure everything is authentically Norwegian. However, we’ve also travelled extensively and have brought elements from our journeys here with us. For example, you’ll find a Japanese chaise lounge in the tree-top cabin and interiors produced in Bali.”

At the moment, Lodgen Stryn’s guests are mostly from Norway but they hope to expand their international clientele. “Our visitors are from different companies and organisations who want to experience a fun and spectacular team building or staff gathering. There are also adventurous groups of friends and family travelling together who come for magnificent nature and to be together in a great setting.”

Lodgen Stryn: A life-changing adventure lodge inspired by near-death

Left: Svein of Lodgen Stryn. Right: Svein and Heidi of Lodgen Stryn. Photo: Line Møller

Outstanding countryside

Holmlund feels that Stryn itself and the surrounding area also draw guests to Lodgen Stryn. “We have the most spectacular via ferrata and skylift in Norway called Loen Skylift. We also have a rocking climbing and bouldering area nearby called The Beach. And a couple of hours drive away, visitors can experience Norway’s most challenging surfing waves. We organise trips there from the lodge. We also have Briksdalsbreen, a glacier that is unfortunately melting, but which is an amazing sight to take in while it’s still here.”

Lodgen Stryn respects these areas and plans trips to them that are sustainable and maintain the environment. “We don’t interfere with nature and teach our guests the same. We also try and use food from local farmers if we can. Our goal is to become a sustainable business in adventure tourism.”

Exploration for all

Adventure means adventure for all. Lodgen Stryn wants to ensure that all kinds of visitors feel welcome and included in their many activities. “We are experts in tailoring experiences to suit all different people. We have two apartments on the ground floor that are designed for people with disabilities. There are no restrictions here. The same goes for families with children. We love taking our own family out on trips and hope to spread our enthusiasm to other families and guests, whatever their situation.”

Lodgen Stryn: A life-changing adventure lodge inspired by near-death

Outside of Lodgen Stryn.

Web: www.lodgenstryn.no
Instagram: @lodgenstryn
Facebook: Lodgen Stryn

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