Can I draw your attention to a new resource created by Volvo, called ‘Cross Country Travels’ or ‘XC Travels’, to use its more catchy name. It’s an online guide to the 25 most spectacular Scandinavian winter adventures, with an accompanying iPhone App that enables you to check in at the places you visit, receive a digital tag to share with friends and directions to guide you straight to the ideal spots.

Back in the ’90s I practically lived in Sweden, travelling to and from the UK whilst working there for over 5 years, and have always found it a fascinating place – for its stunning landscape, welcoming people and the unbeatable choice of outdoor sports and activities. Unlike here in the UK, when the weather gets cold in Sweden, the people get active – whether that be driving on the frozen lakes or sampling the latest seasonal ice beer produced by one of the country’s brewers.

Over the years I learned about their commitment to performing every sporting activity to “110%”, so this new App from Volvo will make it a lot easier for us soft foreigners to get involved – and hopefully survive the experience.

XC Travels Website - Volvo

The main XC Travels website is packed full of gorgeous photography and contains 5 online films – two of which you can view below (and the rest on the Volvo channel). The films were produced by Swedish digital agency North Kingdom, who travelled 7200km during a 2 week period, survived mostly on Burgers and came back with 150GB of footage.

The film team which comprised Jakob Nylund, Riccardo Tagliabue and Pär Stålberg put together a short blog describing their own adventures..

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“We had never been to any of the destinations and there wasn’t any time for scouting, so Google Maps street view became a great research tool for us to use before we went to a new location. The schedule was tight, we only had a couple of days per location so we started early every morning, shot the material we needed during the day and then went back to our hotel, edited and graded our material and then sent it to the client for review.

The following day we travelled to a new location and shot and edited again until it was time for the next place. For 2 weeks we were on the road, experiencing how beautiful Scandinavia really is – from the flat land of Denmark, to the high snowy mountains in Norway with its beautiful fjords to the snowy crispy landscapes of northern Sweden.

One big concern was the weather. At times we had -37 degrees Celsius and we were quite worried that our 5DMii cameras would turn into ice cubes, but to our surprise they managed to survive and didn’t let us down once. Neither did the lenses, but one thing we learned – never clean a lens by breathing on it in -30… The battery got drained pretty fast too, so always bring extra batteries and keep them close to your body to keep them warm.”


It’s a clever idea and one which Land Rover have applied for many years – namely, to help provide customers with ideas and suggestions most suited to their car and thereby forge a stronger bond of loyalty and satisfaction. Volvo’s XC models are visible on the site, but kept very much in the background – this is first and foremost a guide to spectacular adventures and Volvo have got it just about right in balancing their product placement with the value gained by visitors to its site.

If you’d like to try it out for yourself, then why not hop on over to and also visit the iTunes App Store where you can download the App.


Images: North Kingdom