Q&A

Where is Storheia Arena?

Storheia is a mountain in Hadsel municipality in Nordland. It is 504 m.a.s.l. and is located 2.5 km from Stokmarknes and 5 km from Melbu. From Storheia you get a 360-degree view of Husbydalen, Husbykollen, Møysalen, Melbu and the northern part of Lofoten. You are standing in the middle of world-class nature and can take it all in; A feeling that everyone deserves to feel. The mountain has trails both from Stokmarknes, Lekang and Melbu. In addition to summit tours Storheia is widely used for paragliding and kiting.

Who is behind Storheia Arena?

Hadsel municipality has developed the project with resources in form of man hours, and with its own business fund. Storheia Arena Utvikling is now a contract partner with Bodø2024.

Storheia Arena Utvikling is a separate organisation, with its own organization number and finances. Storheia Arena Drift is under foundation and will have its own area of ​​responsibility for administration, operation and maintenance.

Where did the idea of “The Extra Mile” come from?

The dream of Storheia Arena started back in 2016. By gathering input from landowners, the council for the elderly, the youth council, the council for people with disabilities, local teams, associations, the population, businesses, Nord University, students, the Cultural Cooperation, the project idea became “The Extra Mile” conceived in 2019. Now “The Extra Mile” is part of the program in Bodø2024, and have been granted funding of five million NOK over two years.

Why did Storheia Arena get funding from Bodø 2024?

Arctic Race of Norway in 2019 proved that Storheia Arena is more than a dream, and it gave motivation to realize its full potential. In 2019, Storheia Arena became part of Bodø’s application for European Capital of Culture 2024 under the title “The Extra Mile”. Since the launch of Bodø 2024, Hadsel municipality has worked closely with them to ensure the quality of the project. Together with Bodø2024, Storheia Arena will now become best practice in sustainable visitor management, volunteering, inclusion technology and knowledge transfer so that others can learn how to organize events in in nature without destroying it. Without the funds from Bodø2024, Storheia Arena would not have been realized to its full potential.

 

Why is Bodø2024 betting on Storheia Arena?
Storheia Arena is a unique project that has been a part of Bodø2024 ever since their application process. They believe there is potential for creating a project of national dimensions.

For Bodø2024, it is important to find projects that reaches out to all groups of the society. Storheia and The Extra Mile have great ambitions for target groups that are too often de-prioritised, says director of Bodø2024, André Wallann Larsen.

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

1. 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.

2. Best practice.
Storheia Arena will put Hadsel, Vesterålen and Nordland on the world map as best practice in sustainable visitor management, and create examples of what we can achieve without harming nature. We will show that the people of Vesterålen and the rest of Nordland have a lot to teach the world about organizing while taking care of nature – whether it’s mountains, animals, forests or people. Sustainability is no longer an elective, and this is our exam.

3. Knowledge.
Storheia Arena is about more than the physical mountain and its events. It is about how we produce knowledge about getting more people into activity, working with outsiders, and how we use public health, technology, infrastructure, culture and sport to create community, mastery and pride. Hadsel is a mecca for hiking, but we will make these great nature experiences available to everyone. This is an important investment for Hadsel, Vesterålen, Nordland, Bodø2024 and the rest of Europe.

Why is Storheia Arena called Norway's Mont Ventoux?

The climb to Mont Ventoux is one of the most demanding in the Tour de France . Storheia did might not match in height during the Arctic Race of Norway in 2019, but in terms of public festivities and views we were on the same level. Media then named Storheia Arena Norway’s Mont Ventoux. Why is Storheia Arena called Norway’s Mont Ventoux?

What are you looking for in a development manager for Storheia Arena?

Storheia Arena are now looking for its own head of development, which is a dream job for a community builder who is passionate about event tourism, social sustainability, public health, infrastructure and nature technology. We are looking for a development manager who lifts Storheia Arena to become a national provider of experiences, accessibility, and understands the value of nurturing a network of teams, associations, professional players, public funding and business.

Why is it important to realize the project?

Since 2016, we have been working how to make Storheia accessible to all residents, regardless of functional level. Consideration of people’s lives, health and need for movement is a premise for the development of Storheia. The “Public Health Report” states that the physical environment around us plays a major role in how active we actually are.

The “Public Health Report” states that the physical environment around us plays a major role in how active we actually are.

Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular experience that usually only a mountain hiker has access to. Everything from landowners, councils for the elderly, youth councils, the council for people with disabilities, teams, associations, the population, business, Nord University, school students, the Cultural Cooperation has shaped the project “The Extra Mile”. We have worked to find the key to better public health, include more people in society, create excitement around volunteering and create experiences that make us proud, healthy and motivated. This is our extra mile to get everyone involved. Now “The Extra Mile” is part of the main program in Bodø2024, and will receive funding of five million over two years. It obliges us and gives us direction. ‘Now the rest of Nordland will get to take part in what we learn, and everything we achieve as a team. If we are to grow as a society, we must have everyone with us. This is our extra mile to get everyone involved.

At the same time, the municipality wants a local and regional investment in tourism, and attract more events that embrace as many user groups as possible, regardless of functional level. Simply a combination of investing in public health and experience-based tourism. The municipality is driven by innovation, from a public health and accessibility perspective, while contributing to sustainable development of the tourism industry.

Will this negatively affect services for other groups due to the financial situation in the municipality of Hadsel?
No, it won’t. The project has been allocated NOK 500,000 from the business fund to be rigged. The rest of the project has been externally funded from partners who have faith in Storheia Arena. We have not used the municipality’s operational budget.
Has the development of Storheia Arena had a negative affect on other services in Hadsel municipality?
No, it won’t. The project has been allocated NOK 500,000 from the business fund to be rigged. The rest of the project has been externally funded from partners who have faith in Storheia Arena. We have not used the municipality’s operational budget.
How much money has Hadsel municipality spent on this?

Hadsel municipality has spent NOK 500,000 on this project. The remaining funds are support from the local businesses and funding agencies.

The road up Storheia Arena was asphalted prior to the Arctic Race - is that sustainable?

Storheia Arena initially had a gravel road, and we considered asphalt as the top surface offered the most possibilities for utilization of the mountain. We obtained experiences from other destinations, and with increased expected use, planning is essential to spare the rest of the mountain. We must set ourselves up so that Storheia Arena can be used by the tourism industry and the general public without damaging it.

Can I drive up now as it is laid asphalt?

The road is registered as a forest road/utility road and the road is private. It is the private landowners who decide the traffic on this road. Normal insurance also does not cover mishaps (unlucky accidents) that happen in the outfield.

Those who have business interests along this route are allowed to drive. For example, Norkring runs the mast at Storheia and they have a number of subcontractors who perform work up there on their behalf.

The speed limit is 30 km/h and vehicles should pay attention and hold back for big group of road users.

It is possible to apply for permission to drive up in connection with an event, by using this application form.

Is it possible to apply for funding from Storheia Arena?

You can during 2023. Then we will post for Open Calls. The criteria for who can receive funds will be published on storheiarena.no and bodø2024.no. Open Calls fra Bodø2024 and other European actors — Bodø2024 (bodo2024.no).

What do the people of Hadsel get from Storheia Arena?

Regardless of where you live in Hadsel Storheia Arena will create ripple effects in increased income in the tourism industry, jobs in event tourism and better public health services. This will be an arena where local teams, associations and individual players can arrange for public health, culture and sport.

Regardless of your starting point and ambition, you can always reach Storheia. You will gain access to a community through volunteering and can help organize local, national and international events at a high level. It will be a test site for new technology and infrastructure, and everyone are invited to contribute to its implementation. We believe that Storheia Arena can provide a common pride in what we achieve together.

 

How much intervention is needed?

Ground work in form of asphalting the road from Husby to Storheia. The ground work consists of making culverts, new trenches and mass replacement. This was done in the winter and spring of 2019. The paving itself was completed in the summer 2019.

Beyond this, only benches will be set along the road and different kinds of vantage points will be created. All actions must be reversible and harmonize with the surroundings.

Furthermore, we want to use technology to create experiences and these will not lead to significant interference with nature.

Can there be more than five events?

No. There will be a maximum of five events and they will be evaluated and decided by the management group but in the long term a separate operating organization will handle this.

There has been a written demand from the landowners that there should be no more than five major events, and we agree.

Please contact the project leader if you are interested in having an event here.

Who will decide which events should be allowed to be among the five?

It will be a management group where the municipality, landowners and voluntary organizations will be represented, who will make that decision. A separate organization will be established, and they will handle such inquiries in the long run.

Why is the Arctic Race of Norway in 2019 so important?
Storheia Arena was launched, and the news reached the Arctic Race of Norway in 2018. They set their sights on Storheia Arena to create a spectacular top finish. Together with the landowners, we went the extra mile, pushing the boundaries of national regulations by establishing infrastructure including access roads, parking, chargers for electric wheelchairs and bicycles, digital inclusion technology and more. The gravel road towards the top of just over 7 km was asphalted to make the conditions optimal for a spectacular finish. On 17th of August 2019, we opened Storheia Arena with the Arctic Race of Norway as an event, but it turned out to be more than a large, international cycling race. We got to test the planning, the volunteers and the infrastructure. We evaluated, we learned, and we improved, and we intend to continue to do so.
Who is Isabell Valen?

The 17th of august 2019 we opened Storheia Arena with Arctic Race of Norway which grew into something even greater than an international cycling race. The great event with 4000 visitors was one thing, but Isabell Valen (28) from Bodø made just as strong impressions when double poling to the top of Storheia, and we understood why we have been fighting so hard to make the mountain available for everyone.

“It was great for Isabell that the mayor gave her visibility she has never experienced before. At the same time I believe that this visibility extends further than Isabell herself. Disabled people wants to be seen, and they appreciate that they can fully represented, included and integrated into the community. The people of Hadsel gave us a wonderful day and a warm memory that we will carry on with us, and enabled Isabell, as a disabled person, to both participate and be seen. The feeling of being a part of a community is perhaps the most important thing for all of us in life.”

– Harald Valen, Isabell’s father

Is it possible that the project will be even bigger, with a gondola course and such, like mentioned earlier?

No, it has not been discussed or relevant as part of this project. It would be a completely different project and not something we will take the initiative. We have wanted to achieve something that is sustainable and aimed at public health. With that in focus, it will not be appropriate to talk about a gondola.

How will you prepare for the disabled?

We want to arrange Storheia Arena with rest points, benches, vantage points with sitting opportunities, and fences on steep sextions that will provide support. The Council for People with Disabilities will be represented in the management group and we will have a dialogue with them to get input on what we should do in this area. There is a wide range of different disabilities that we should take into consideration. You can send us your input by this link.

Do I get up to Storheia with a wheelchair?

Yes you do. Pretty much all electric wheelchairs can go through the “hatch” in the gate. Different wheelchairs have been tested with different weights. At the steepest level there is a 16 degree rise and most of the newer wheelchairs have managed this just fine. Some have chosen to drive all the way up to the top, while others chose Ørnheihytta as their last stop. It is at Ørnheihytta we consider it most sensible to have a wheelchair charger established. In the summer time, this cabin is often staffed and offers easy dining in great surroundings.

Follow Ørnheihytta on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ornheihytta/

Can you promise that all events will be sustainable?

It is an important goal that all events held on Storheia should be Eco-lighthouse certified, or some other type of environmental certification. There are examples of organizers, international for example, who work with sustainability and environment but do not have the Eco-lighthouse certification. They may be certified in a different way, but that is something we need to look into and evaluate with each application.

How will the project affect today's use of Storheia?

The new groups of people will get access to the mountain by upgrading the road, will not be at the expense of those who already use the mountain. The upgraded road complements all the access options and uses that exist today. Any increased number of people using the mountain will be directed towards an area of the mountain that can withstand its use better.

What agreements apply to the Red Cross cabin (Ørnheihytta)?

The Red Cross cabin stands on a plot of 1500m2 in total. That means that Red Cross rents the plot which the house stands on. They rent the plot of land as long as they want from the landowner. The plot is located on a common outfield where a total of 14 other landowners have rights.

What do we mean by Arena? Is it a big facility and large installations?

To that, the answer is no. We could have name it Destination Storheia, but it does not represent access for everyone, and that you should be able to use the trail as far as you able to according to your assumptions. Arena is about being a place to unfold physically and with sporting events. We will not support larger installations or buildings at Storheia other than necessary toilet facilities, waste management that will fit in with nature on the way up. The mountain should look just as good after it has been used for an event, as before.

We do not want more traffic than this, we agree with the landowners that there must be a maximum of 5 events. The traffic below these through the boom must be necessary traffic to arrange sports or cultural events. It will not be opened to public traffic (cars) and similar vehicles.

Why not drive tourist buses up?

It will be completely contrary to the very core of the project, we want a clear public health profile where people can walk, roll, ski, bike and the like. In a sustainable way. If the tourism industry wants to use Storheia Arena, it must be in line with the concept. It must be green and sustainable.

Where can I provide inputs for this project?

You can give us your input by this link or send e-mail to: post@storheiaarena.no.

Interested in using Storheia Arena?

Want to rent Ørnheiahytta?

If you want to rent Ørnheiahytta, please contact Hadsel Red Cross.

Contact: Hadsel Red Cross
E-mail: rodekors.hadsel@gmail.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ornheihytta/

Address

Hadsel municipality
Rådhusgata 5
8450 Stokmarknes

Call us

(+47) 476 82 115
Jørgen Henriksen
Project leader