Our history

Our history

As the name hints, Grønolen Fjellgard used to be a farm. And the basis for that which today is the mountain lodge was originally the dwelling house at the farm. The name Grønolen comes from the Old Norwegian ‹‹grænnoll››, which means the green (spruce covered) hill, rise. Thus, the farm’s name comes from the peak behind us, ‹‹Grønolshøvda››, as it is called today. There are written sources from the farm as far back as 1612, but since 1874 our family has resided here. It was Knut Knutsen Tørstad from Høre who took over the farm after changing spouse, and his descendants have lived here ever since. As custom was, he took his name after the farm.

In 1890, the farm was split up between two brothers, and to get the same amount of land, each were given pieces of land here and there. This is probably no problem for two brothers that go along well, but might prove to be a challenge as generations pass. As a result, our neighbour’s house and barn ended up between our house and farm – and to make matters worse our house also found it self on our neighbour’s ground. Because of this, our parents, Borghild and Øystein, chose to build a new dwelling house on the “right” side when they took over the farm. (The old log house was given away to Øystre Slidre Bygdetun at Heggenes, where it is today.) The new house was built large enough so that eight rooms could be rented out during Easter to help provide some extra income to what a Fjellgard normally is able to provide.

After a formidable effort, where dad, among other things, made all the doors, windows and a lot of the furniture. And mom sewed and stitched everything from pillows, duvets, mattresses, curtains and even the lamp shades – the house was ready for 18 guests, Easter in 1955. The price was 18 kroner (roughly €2) per day, including food. The first guests were picked up at the main road by granddad and ‹‹Rau’n››, a large beautiful red horse with a sledge. Roads cleared of snow came later. For many years the guest were so loyal that the rooms were named after them, i.e ‹‹The Thoresen room››, ‹‹The Syversen room›› and ‹‹The Rød room››. After a while, our guests started to join us when we went up to stølen Vinstervann (a støl is a farm higher up in the mountain where the animals graze during summers) with our animals during the summer. So our next step was to build some extra rooms up there, in order to be able to serve and accommodate guests up there during the summer.

After more tourists started coming during Easter, we started expanding in 1969. We built eight rooms with four beds, a shower and a toilet. And we built a new dining hall and a party hall. The increased traffic made it difficult to combine farming and tourism, so we had to make a choice. Due to the interest and joy of having people around, maybe combined with dad’s hay fever, tourism was chosen. And with the expansion, more space was needed, so we had to build some more. And the need for a snowplowed road forced us to build a new road. Since the old one went through our neighbour’s farmyard and under his bridge up to the barn. A new entrance was needed – The hall/library was built. The kitchen was now too small, and a new one was finished in 1971. Further, nine rooms were built in 1975, thus the dining hall became too small and was expanded in 1979 with better cooling/freezer and storage capasity, including a technical room further back. A new meeting room came in 1983/1984. Now, the original dwelling house was virtually built in, and you could see the house’s ‹‹growth rings››. 

At the end of the 80s we built private houses. Up until then, we had lived in the main house. But sometimes, it is good to have the option of going ‹‹home›› after work. All the extensions that had been made to the main building bore the styles of their period, so the 90s were mainly used to ‹‹unite›› the styles through maintenance and restorations. To create our own look, we have chosen to use old paint and decoration techniques. We hope we have succeeded.

In November 1997, eight new apartments were put into use, each being approximately 48 square meters. So far the last expansions were made in 2007, when four new apartments were finished, each at approximately 90 square meters – as well as a 220 square meters luminous and friendly spa department. Todays owners, Øyvind and Tor Erik, have participated in the everyday management more or less their entire life, but the generational shift was formally made in 1990.