Bodø2024 is “betting” on the Northern Norwegian public health, and is giving 5 million to start “The Extra Mile” at Storheia Arena in Vesterålen.

Storheia is a mountain on Hadsel island in Hadsel municipality in Nordland. It has a height of 504 meters above sea level and is located 2.5 km from Stokmarknes and 5 km from Melbu. From Storheia you get a 360-degree view of Husby valley, Husbykollen, Møysalen, Melbu and the northernmost part of Lofoten. You are standing in the middle of world-class nature and can take it all in. A feeling that everyone simply deserves to experience. That is what «The Extra Mile» is all about – about making events for everyone, but without harming the nature.

Since 2016, we have been working on the idea of realizing Storheia Arena. Everything from landowners, councils for the elderly, youth councils, the council for the disabled, teams, associations, the public, the business community, the Nord University, school students, the cultural cooperation has helped to shape the project “The Extra Mile”. The project will now become part of the main program in Bodø2024, and will receive basic funding of five million over two years.

“Today we have every reason to be proud of hosting a community project that will put Hadsel, Vesterålen and Nordland in the European spotlight for sustainable visitor management, public health and inclusion”, says business manager Daniel Sowe in Hadsel municipality.

By being included in the main program of Bodø2024, Storheia Arena gains access to a European network to exploit the full potential of the project. Europe wants demonstrators of best practice in sustainable visitor management, and to become a demonstrator who can inspire others, Storheia Arena must deliver in three strategic directions.

Audience on Arctic Race of Norway on Storheia.

Shall develop new technology and infrastructure

Events at Storheia Arena will give private and public actors an arena to test and showcase new solutions, infrastructure and nature technology. Storheia Arena will provide a new perspective on event hosting and help stimulate increased innovation that protects nature, creates enthusiasm and contributes to increased involvement of the whole society – both locally, nationally and internationally.

Should become best practice

Storheia Arena should put Hadsel, Vesterålen and Nordland on the world map as best practice in sustainable visitor management, and create evidence for what can be achieved without harming the nature.

“We will show that “vesterålinger” and the rest of Nordland have a lot to teach the world about organizing and at the same time taking care of nature – whether it’s mountains, animals, forests or people. Sustainability is no longer an elective, and this is our exam”, says the mayor of Hadsel, Aina Nilsen.

Shall produce knowledge on behalf of Nordland

Storheia Arena is about so much more than the physical mountain located in Vesterålen and the events in 2024. “The Extra Mile” is about how to produce knowledge about getting more people into activity, working with “outsiders”, and how we use public health, technology, infrastructure, culture and sports to create community, mastery and pride. Hadsel is a mecca for mountain hiking, but now they want to make great nature experiences available to everyone.

Important to Bodø2024

“The Extra Mile” is an unique project that has followed Bodø2024 ever since their application process to become European Capital of Culture. They believe there is potential for creating a project that can take on national dimensions.

“For Bodø2024, it is important to find those projects that really take it seriously that we should reach out to all groups in society. Storheia and “The Extra Mile” have great ambitions for target groups that are all too often given low priority “, says the director of Bodø2024, André Wallann Larsen

This is an important investment for Hadsel, Nordland, Bodø2024 and not least the rest of Europe. Storheia Arena is now looking for a proactive development manager who is passionate about inclusion, sustainability, technology and dares to rethink how to organize.

“I would say that this is a dream job for someone who really wants to make a difference in event tourism and at the same time wants to engage the local community in a warmer, more engaged and inclusive way”, says the business manager Daniel Sowe.


Hadsel municipality
Rådhusgata 5
8450 Stokmarknes

Call us

(+47) 476 82 115
Jørgen Henriksen
Project leader