A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
The Empire Strikes Back started production the 5th of March, 1979. So that makes 2019 the 40th anniversary of the production that took place in Finse, Norway. And you are hereby invited to our celebration! It will be an historic event!
What´s the deal
Finse is a staggeringly beautiful place, where several music festivals (Jazz, Ice Music Festival, and blues) are held and skiing season doesn´t end until May.
But it´s also one of the most worthy places to visit for Star Wars fans since it was the real-life filming location for planet Hoth in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, and every year they host a Visit Hoth festival to commemorate the film recording that happened here in 1979.
FINSE in Norway is HOTH. A magical place where your soul can breathe – and your head can explode with wonder! As film tourism goes, this is special. It´s not a film set. It´s a PLANET. In every direction there´s mountains, glaciers and it will take our breath away, once you´re in the middle of it.
Illustration: Imperial Walkers (AT-ATs) similar to those seen in film The Empire Strikes Back. Photographer: Russel Hart
March 5th 1979, Lucasfilm lighted the fuse on what would turn out to be not only a moviemaking masterpiece, but also - a very demanding shoot. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, most peoples favourite Star Wars film, chose the icy plains of Finse and the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Norway as location needed to portray the frosty outback of the planet HOTH.
They encountered the worst snowstorm in over 100 years - together with a crew consisting of norwegian filmworkers. It made history. To put it mildly. VISIT HOTH puts senior Lucasfilm crew back together with the norwegian one, and on stage they share stories with our guests, as we all go back to the production in march of 79.
Location: "Probot Rock". The rock from which Han Solo destroys the probot is here. Viper probe droid, also known as probots or simply probe droids, made their debut in Empire Strikes Back, and have been one of the most iconic droids ever sense.
“We celebrate the shoot more than the film.”
- Andreas Frølich
We celebrate the shoot more than the film, says Andreas Frølich - organizer of the event. During the weekend, the guests get to listen to fun talks, enjoy a photo exhibition, eat galactic food, go to location using dogsleds, meet threepio and R2 plus an array of surprises.
The cooperation with Finse 1222 has made VISIT HOTH a yearly opportunity for all fans who love creativity, industrious hands, inventiveness and galaxies far, far away. In addition to all this, the hotel Finse 1222 and Andreas Frølich will continue creating a permanent location-museum, based on what happened there a long, lon - well not so long time ago.
Coming to Norway in 1979 was, in the words of director Irvin Kershner, a “baptism of fire”. They encountered the worst weather Finse had seen in over 100 years, equipped with film equipment that they needed to operate during these conditions. It was no easy feat, for sure.
But they soldiered on and through heavy snow and gale winds, they were able to film one of the most iconic stories ever told – the story we all love: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
The Finse production is the only time during all Star Wars productions that the crew are signified by a uniform. The “crew blue” polar outfits made by Ski-Peer, gives us all a special connection to this particular part of the production. Wouldn´t you just love to be one of them? Well, according to most crew we´ve talked to – it´s a “be careful what you wish for” type of situation. The work was so hard, every crew member dropped dead of exhaustion every single night for the whole period. It was simply cruel conditions with temperatures waaaay below minus 20 degrees celsius, and the soup was seldom hot once it arrived on the glacier by Aktiv Snow Trac snowmobiles (or ski-doos). We´ll take Alan Tomkins word for it…
For many years, the hotel did not recognize it´s part in the Star Wars saga. But one fine day someone did, and the rest is history. Now HOTH is available to you in a way that it hasn´t been before.
Every year we have a gathering called VISIT HOTH. We celebrate the ingenuity, the industrious attitude, the hard work, the fellowship and the creativity that once happened right here. We´ve found Han Solo Rock for you. We have dogs that´ll take you there. You can ski out to location. You can don snow-shoes and pick up a couple of poles – and trek into your wilderness. It´s a moment you will never forget.
HOTH is Finse – and Finse is magical. It awaits your visit, and we have saved you a seat…
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Transport <> Accommodations <> Program
VISIT HOTH 2019
THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY
VISIT HOTH 2019 is a gathering for all Star Wars fans that takes place at Finse 1222, the hotel that hosted the production of The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the Star Wars saga. Together with our partner VISIT HOTH, we would like to welcome you to the location festival from the 8th to the 10th of March 2019! This is the third time we are organizing this event.
Arrival and welcome – by train!
A warm welcome to Finse – by Trygve the Hotel owner – and Andreas, our Galactic Senator.
Read the news! See the museum.
Interview: Norwegian crew.
ALAN TOMKINS – meet the genius behind the snowspeeder!
BOOGIE! Let´s all meet and dance!
VISIT HOTH. Get your HOTH experience!
MARTIN DAHL – talks about his image collection from the production.
PARBOT – we show the documentary lost, now found!
PETER MCDONALD – second unit director EMPIRE – a talk.
QUIZ in the BOOGIE!
Walkabout the hotel – see the close quarters of HOTH.
Adieu – and farewell! See you next year!
Here you will have the possibility to visit the locations where the actual film was filmed, either by a guided ski trip – or reserving a spot on the dog sled! The destination for the dog sleds is the “Han Solo Rock”.
Price: NOK 750,- per person (adult), NOK 350,- per person (children under 12) and each sled fits 2 people.
Time: It is possible to reserve space on the dog sleds at the following times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
Reservations: You can reserve your spot on the dog sled by telephone: +47 56 52 71 00, E-mail or at the reception. The price is not included in the festival pass. Send an E-mail or call us if you would like to reserve your spot. Please let us know what time you would like to leave. The list with available and reserved spots will be available at the reception from Thursday at 9am.
Remember to bring goggles/sunglasses for this trip!
How to get here?
The magical HOTH sequence in The Empire Strikes Back was shot in Norway – Finse. The only way to get there, is by train. The train that will take you there, is called BERGENSBANEN and is a journey that will take you from Oslo to Bergen – and back.
So you might ask: “where do I park”? Answer: that´s not an option…
If you´re thinking of coming, why not come to the VISIT HOTH festival that we have every year? You find all the info you need about it by clicking here. If you are coming in the summer or at another time – you´ll find that all the HOTH info you need is right there at the hotel where they actually stayed while filming. The same hotel YOU will stay in! Anyways. We´re getting ahead of ourselves here…
The magical HOTH sequence in The Empire Strikes Back was shot in Norway – Finse. The only way to get there, is by train. The train that will take you there, is called BERGENSBANEN and is a journey that will take you from Oslo to Bergen – and back. Finse is the highest point on this journey, situated at 1222 meters above sea level. At Finse, there are no roads (hello Back to the Future quotes!). So the train will remain your only option.
The ABC of getting there. You fly to Norway, you take the train to Finse, you stay at the same hotel that the crew used – called FINSE 1222, which is located directly on the train platform. On the other side of the hotel, facing the glacier: wilderness!
We´ll go through this in a orderly fashion…
First up, you need to fly to Oslo or Bergen, whichever is the best option for you. Oslo is the capital of Norway with lots to do and see, Bergen is a wonderful coastal-town and very charming. The journey from Bergen is about 2 hours, from Oslo it´s 4,5 hours to Finse. So the train-ticket is cheaper from Bergen than it is from Oslo. But, some people prefer to visit Oslo while they´re at it…so it´s up to you. You can also of course fly to Oslo, take the train to Finse – and then continue on to Bergen, if you´d like.
The FINSE 1222 hotel.
The FINSE 1222 hotel. This hotel is the home of the EMPIRE-crew and is still fully operational today. They have a little something for the HOTH traveller inside the hotel. The crew working there is AMAZINGLY friendly, the food there is INSANELY great. The rooms are simple, but functional and clean – made to work best for those who wear a lot of snowgear. The normal Finse guest is a person that´s about to do some skiing, ski-sailing or other. They have sauna, they have big fireplaces, they have wonderful lunches and the breakfast is GREAT. And not forgetting it´s surroundings – simply magical…
You can book your stay by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org – or, if you want to explore their site, you click here. The picture below showing a typical slow day at Finse 1222…
WHAT TO BRING?
Clothing. If you´re going to Finse when the weather is most like the HOTH scenes, you should come in january – the middle of march. And if you do that, you should bring warm clothing, appropriate boots for deep snow, ski-goggles and your camera. Here´s a list of typical clothing that you might need when visiting HOTH:
long johns thermal wear
a super warm jacket
polar / ski-gloves
balaclava (click here to see what the hell this is)
winterboots (for deep snow, like these)
The hotel can rent you mountain skis and snowshoes if you would like to go on the glacier.
And don´t forget – we´re doing the VISIT HOTH festival every year at FINSE 1222 hotel – you are most welcome to join us then!