How to reach the area
The Oslo Gardermoen Airport is conveniently connected by train to Lillehammer. At your arrival go to the railway kiosk at the end of the hall and buy your return ticket at the same time. There are four or five trains per day, the travel takes about two hours. If you wish to stay at Rena, get off at Hamar and take another train to Rena.
From Lillehammer there is a bus service to the surroundings, in particular to Sjusjöen. The bus terminal is in front of the railway station. For race day extra busses are set up. Timetable is on race website.
Train and bus timetables are available on the excellent Lillehammer Tourist Office web site www.lillehammerturist.no. There is also a bus-service from Oslo to Rena (start) on raceday. Log on to race webpages and go to “My page” there and fint details of timetable and pickup places. Public transport is very good in Norway. You don’t need a car for your Birken trip”.
If you are traveling by car, either a rental car or your own car, you should be aware that Norway has tolls on some roads. When you are driving on a toll road and get to a toll both there are two options. You can either drive in a lane labeled “Autopass” or in a lane labeled “Manuell”. For the “Autopass” lane you need to have a transponder in your car that will automatically record the toll charge. If you don’t have a transponder you must go in a “Manuell” lane where you have to pay cash. Driving in an “Autopass” lane without a transponder will result in an expensive fine.
Raceorganizer does help with alot of accomodations. You can book both accomodation and suitable transport to start will be fixed by them. See more about this on race-website and the section “My page” after you have gotten a startnumber.
The most frequent accommodation places are Lillehammer (arrival location of the race) and Rena (start location). The mountain resort Sjusjöen is attractive if you stay a longer time, it is located at the 41 km point of the race. The aforementioned web site gives phone and fax numbers and email addresses of the accommodations in the area, distances from the railway station and inside/outside pictures. It also offers the possibility to order an illustrated brochure of the Lillehammer area.
Hereafter we give some more information on these places. You can pick up the bib either in Lillehammer or Rena (tick the box on the registration form). If you stay at Sjusjöen, you will have to pick up the bib down in Lillehammer. Hamar is also a popular location to stay. Busses from Lillehammer to Rena travel through Hamar mid-way.
Very cheap accomodation: I draw your attention to the classroom accommodation in Rena for the night before the race, comfortable and near the start, avoiding the early wakeup and long transport from Lillehammer. Included in the 380 NOK price (2012) is a good breakfast and shuttle bus to the start (5 minutes). To be reserved and paid together with the raceregistration. Dinner on evening before race day can be bought at or close to these accomodations. Or get your dinner in Rena for the evening. Bring your own sleepingbag to these accomodations. You will be sleeping an floor-madrasses in school classrooms. Bring ear-plugs too. Not luxury but cheap and ok.
It is also possible with group accomodations at this cheap places. One person in group must email email@example.com and get a code that all group members must use when they order their accomodation. Yes, all must buy their own bed but use the common group code.
Sjusjöen is, as mentioned above, on the Birken track. There are several cabin rental agencies, see www.lillehammerturist.no. Cabin cost depends on size and amenities. You can find a six-bed cabin with bathroom, infrared sauna, dishwasher and clothes washer for a nice low price per person per day. There is a good supermarket at Sjusjöen for food and stuff. There is a regular bus service to Lillehammer to get back and forth from the train station, bib pickup etc, duration 35 minutes. On the race morning buses leave from the ski shop and from the Hoyfjellshotel going directly to Rena. Book it early in the week before they are filled. After the race you can get a bus back to Sjusjöen on the street below Haakons Hall (the hall we all gather in after finish). No need to book the return bus. The location on the trails is great for training and the extra space plus setting your own schedule are very convenient. Book early to get the best selection of size, amenities and location.
The forecast is available at race-website or look up locations like Rena and Sjusjøen yourself on www.yr.no. Those pages are in english too.
The web site of the race is www.birkebeiner.no.