The history of Storlien

The earliest settlements around present-day Storlien date back to the early 19th century. Almshouses were established here to increase feed availability for farms in the valley on the Norwegian side. The first significant building was erected during the late 1870s in connection with the railway construction, known as the "Old Storlien," also an almshouse but of a more rustic nature.

The Midland Railway from Östersund to Trondheim was inaugurated on a sunny July day in 1882 by King Oscar II. 330 people participated in the festivities, accompanied by a company of the Jämtland Ranger Regiment with music. Lapp-Jöns, or Rike-Jöns as he was also called, had gathered his entire reindeer herd, about 3000 reindeer, to Storlien. These caught the interest of the royals, as did the lavvus (teepees) Lapp-Jöns had erected by the station building.

The following summer, in 1883, two friends explored the surroundings of Storlien, where the flora of Jämtland is richly represented. While one friend searched for rare mountain plants, Ernst Westerlund, known as "the Doctor from Enköping," stood gazing over vast marshes with dark gray dwarf birch, pale gray willows, and oases of cloudberry fields, with small ponds glittering in the sunlight. With a visionary gaze, he envisioned a health resort here - what air to breathe for sick lungs and what rest for weary nerves. The distance between thought and action was not far for Ernst Westerlund; however, he was initially unable to buy into Storlien as he wished and, at first, had to rent accommodation for his "air guests," as the patients were called, from Mrs. Jenny Chatarina Selander, first on her farm and then in the "New Hotel." The business grew rapidly, and Dr. Westerlund's reputation spread. It is said that one summer day he received no fewer than 77 patients, who had come all the way from Sundsvall, Härnösand, and Trondheim.

An extensive network of paths was arranged on Skurdalshöjden (Skurdal's hill). The doctor determined how far up towards the 840-meter-high peak each patient was allowed to walk. Proud and happy - because it showed that the doctor trusted them greatly - were those who were allowed to walk all the way to the top. The social life flourished among the guests, often with rhyming competitions and sitting games, and sometimes dancing to an accordion outside the station house.

The first skiing trip in the Storlien mountains for tourist and sporting purposes was undertaken in 1891 by Captain Adolf Heijkenskjöld, the first chairman of the Ski and Outdoor Promotion Association. However, it would be the end of the 19th century before skiers visited Storlien in any significant numbers. The first larger group to visit Storlien in winter was schoolboys from Norra Real in Stockholm, who came to explore the mountain terrain around Storlien during the Christmas holiday in 1907.

With the help of the Ski and Outdoor Promotion Association (Skid- och Friluftsfrämjandet) and the Swedish Tourist Association (Svenska Turistförreningen), a new cabin was ready to accommodate about thirty boys from Norra Latin during Easter 1924. With the construction of this cabin, the Ski and Outdoor Promotion Association had firmly established itself in Storlien.

To expand the extremely inadequate accommodation options in Storlien, a location for the Högfjällshotell (High Mountain Hotel) was outlined during Easter 1933. The New Högfjället, with 182 beds, a dining room, lounge, kitchen, and utility rooms, was inaugurated on Midsummer's Eve in 1935. The first extension was already made in 1939. The hotel has since been renovated and extended several times.

In 1942, the first ski lift in the area was opened, which was the second ski lift built in Sweden! Now the ski area has nine lifts and 23 slopes.