Høve Støtt: Developing Authentic Norwegian Ecotourism Experiences

Høve Støtt: Developing Authentic Norwegian Ecotourism Experiences

Høve Støtt, Geilo, Norway

By Pål K. Medhus

Our Story: Høve Støtt, Geilo, Norway

Høve Støtt's main target is to create new standards in the production of experiences, at the peak of Norwegian tourism. To achieve this, we work constantly on developing authentic Norwegian ecotourism experiences. We always strive to achieve more, and we’re always hungry for knowledge. By engaging the local forces, we wish to show the culture and history that has made Geilo what it is today.

 

We provide specialized program offerings to Geilo's guests in both summer and winter. Winter activities (ice climbing, jigging, snow shoe trips, kick-sledge safari, and dog sledding) are mostly custom-made to meet the requirements of tour operators from Great Britain, Belgium, Norway and elsewhere, who promote Geilo to foreign markets. Summer activities (glacier hiking, rappelling, and Forge a Hook) mainly draw young families and young couples from Norway, the Netherlands and Germany.

 

Høve Støtt adventures are genuine, unique, and not to be felt as pre-fabricated. No two Høve Støtt adventures are alike! In simple terms; this is the idea upon which Høve Støtt is crafted, as is the whole of the experiences and adventures we provide. At the same time, Høve Støtt aims to initiate new standards in terms of what Geilo should make of itself as a host. Through creative projects and innovative ideas, we strive to strengthen the pride of those who work and live in this region.

Cultural Wealth & Local Engagement

Høve Støtt tells stories from the rural district of Hol, the region of Geilo, the amazing geology of the region, and the cultures who have forged the environment where these events take place. The traditions of the old blacksmiths are passed on in our plays, through "Forge a Hook" activities, and through arrangements such as "The Mountain Feast". The local food culture of Hallingdal is evoked by any social scene, making traditional food and drinks the special focus of these events.

 

Høve Støtt has played a leading role in the process of establishing the Norwegian Mountain Cuisine, Halling food, and has challenged all the hotels in Geilo to add their best to the local flavor. The fact that Høve Støtt is an approved Norwegian Ecotourism operation indicates that we’ve made tremendous efforts toward inclusion and development of the local community. Høve Støtt is involved with children's school, high school, and other local educational programs, and contributes wherever it benefits the local community.

 

We make an effort to hire our workforce locally. To us, this is a major advantage. We also create internal manuals that ensure the high level of competence that we expect from our employees. The Norwegian Ecotourism guidelines are strict, but we meet these requirements at all levels. Høve Støtt holds regional development through local partnerships as a high priority, striving always to help Hallingdal become a strong, thriving destination. Throughout 2010 and 2011, Høve Støtt has focused its attention on interaction with the local youth.

 

Projects range from working with pre-school children to high-school students, and extend to special projects where students are invited to learn about tourism through a visit to the Høve Støtt workplace. Høve Støtt is glad to work with the youth in these ways; we have received positive feedback in regards to its youth programs, and the children continue to be a significant inspiration for us.

The Principles of Sustainable Tourism

Høve Støtt strives to maintain purity and efficiency in regards to its impacts on the local environment, and in its use of resources. Implementing efforts to conserve nature and culture has been rewarding, engaging and exiting; our attempt is to incorporate conservation programs into a practical system, and make them part of our daily work activities. For example, the company recently reduced car travel by more than 25,000 km by using railroad transport instead. Many meetings are now conducted through the use of SKYPE, along with a "virtual space" in the office. Høve Støtt has also taken the step of changing from florescent to LED lighting.

 

A review of our activities led to the creation of a recycling system, and as a result we now manage to recycle 100% of our waste. The sorting process includes all waste, from burned out torch boxes to paper, and helps us to stay focused on "the simple things" that are so important to Høve Støtt. Høve Støtt strives to avoid the use of any sort of motorized vehicles or devices to transport visitors. As an incentive, we also offer discounts on our adventures and activities to visitors who choose to travel by train to and from Geilo. We also have kick sleighs available for rent, which we use to transport groups, often up to 200 people, between activities as well as to and from their accommodations. Not only is this practical, but its fun! This is what we’re all about.

About the Author: Pål K. Medhus

Pål, founder of Høve Støtt, has been actively engaged in the Norwegian tourism industry, and is considered a leader in the field. He has developed a series of courses on Hosting, the Production of Experiences, as well as Creative working within tourism productions. Pål K. Medhus is now one of the Norwegian experience experts who offer these courses. He has also twice been awarded The Experience Expert of the Year by LEO, Rovaniemi Finland. Pål is in fact one of two persons worldwide to be certified as a Pine & Gilmore Economy Expert, as well as a LEO Expert. To Pål and Høve Støtt, it is urgent to communicate what he has learned in as wide a range as possible.

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