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International APA Courses: Norway

You can see pictures of our trip by viewing our Norway presentation or watch our short video for more information.

Norway MapNorway is located in Northern Europe as one of the Scandinavian countries.  It is under the rule of His Majesty King Hareld V.  Norway’s government is a combination of monarchy and democracy. King Hareld V serves as the head of the state and an important representative of Norway’s society and industry. The country is approximately 385,155 km² and is home to approximately 4,640,219 people. (Aschehoug and Gyldendal's Norwegian Encyclopedia).

Erling Stordahl          

Erling StordahlErling Stordahl was born on August 1, 1923.  He went blind at the age of 13. Throughout his life he proved to be an inspiration to many.  He believed that physical activity was a positive and strong remedy to people’s disabilities and ailments. Physical activity is a common ground for all. His passion was ignited in 1962, when military trucks with broad belts passed through Beitostølen, Norway. Erling discovered that he was able to cross country ski in the tracks made by these military trucks independently, without fear of running into anything. This discovery eventually led to the famous “Ridderrennet,” a 25m cross-country ski race. The first Ridderrennet was held on April 12, 1964. This event shed a new light on individuals with disabilities and made people all over the world aware of their capabilities. From the Ridderrennet, Erling began his plans to open a center where all people with disabilities would have the opportunity to take part in many different forms of physical activity. With the help of the Lions Club, the royal family, and many others he was able to live his dream by opening the Helsesportsenter of Beitostolen. He served as the director of the Helsesportsenter from 1970 until the day he died in October of 1994.

Beitostølen Helsesportsenter

“Our driving force is the privilege we have to influence that our users receive insight and inspiration to make use of their own ability and the possibilities of an active life” (Beitostølen Helsesportsenter).

The Beitostølen Helsesportsenter is located in Beitostølen, Norway in the Valdes region. It is approximately 830m above sea level and sits upon 200 acres of land. The center was opened on November 7, 1970 by the crowned Prince Hareld.  Planning of this Health Sports Center took years and great efforts. The Lions Club, with the help of Erling Stordahl, raised 1.5 million dollars to put towards the center. Erling Stordahl played a key role in the center’s development and success, serving as the director of the center from 1970 to 1994.

 The purpose of Beitostølen Helsesportsenter is to encourage individuals with disabilities to learn and recognize their capabilities as well as reach their full potential to function within their communities through physical, social, and cultural activities that will better their quality of life. (Greve, Anderson, Odaphl, Ronnerberg, & Stordhal, 1993; Morisbak). The center can house approximately 60 clients at a time as it services 700 to 1000 clients per year. The majority of the clients have limitations in mobility due to accidents, temporary disease, chronic disease, and disabilities. (Greve et,. al, 1993). The Health Sports Center services clients between the age of 6 to 70+ years of age. The center is recognized under the National Health Specialist Service System. Therefore the Norwegian Social Security System pays for the client’s services. The client, also known as “users” in Norway, must have a written prescription from his or her medical doctor to receive the services offered by the Health Sport Center. Children can spend two and half weeks at the center. Adults can spend any where from four to six weeks at the center. There are approximately 60-80 staff members at any given time throughout the year. The staff is made up of rehabilitation specialists, physicians, administrative personnel, schoolteachers and college students serving as interns. There are four main functions of the center: rehabilitation, scientific research/evaluation, education, and follow up. 


Beitostølen Helsesportsenter Brochure 

Erlnig Strodahl Personal information

Stordahl, E. Focus on the potential.  Speech given on 3/28/1993

Greve, J., Anderson, O. Odaphl, O., Ronnerberg, E., & Stordahl, E. (1993). Norway a leading country in rehabilitation of persons with disabilities: An extended report from the expert meeting focus on the potential 1993. Norway

Morisbak, Inge, Beitostølen Helsesportsenter in Norway; a pioneer institution within                   rehabilitation: focus on the potential by means of adapted physical activities presented on May 15 2008

Morisbak, I. (1995) Erling Stordahl in memoriam. International Federation of Adapted Physical Activity. (3)3  

Morisbak Inge. Power Point Presentation, Beitostølen Healthsports Center 37 years with adapted physical activity as a rehabilitation tool. Presented May 15, 2008  

Map of Norway retrieved on 5/27/08

Norway the official site of the United States. (2006) Facts about Norway Edited from Aschehoug and Gyldendal's Norwegian Encyclopedia and Statistics Norway, retrieved on 5/27/08 from

Norway the official site of the United States. (2006) Public Health System. Edited from Aschehoug and Gyldendal's Norwegian Encyclopedia and Statistics Norway, retrieved on 5/27/08 from

Norway the official site of the United States. (2006) Political System General Information. Edited from Aschehoug and Gyldendal's Norwegian Encyclopedia and Statistics Norway, retrieved on 5/27/08 from

Photo of Erling Storahl Retrieved on 5/28/08

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