“It’s a long way from sawmill to hotel”

The River Rinna flows right past the Saga Trollheimen Hotel. It has always played an important role in the area, and Rindal took its name from the river. Bit by bit, people began to use the river to float logs down to the sawmill. Ole Heggem, Morten’s grandfather, was the foreman in charge of the log driving. There was a lot of activity, and the sawmill provided a natural centre for it. The sawmill was later purchased by Emil Gåsvand, Morten’s father.

In 1987, the sawmill burned to the ground. The changing times meant that there was no interest in rebuilding it. That was when Morten had the idea of using the site to build a ‘fairytale world’ – a recreation of village life in days gone by. In 1991, the first part of the project was completed in the form of the first Nordmøre farmhouse in the region to be built by hand in more than a century. The new farmhouse was called the Saga Skysstasjon, or coaching inn. It attracted a great deal of interest and won the Byggeskikkprisen architecture prize in 1994, for example.

Morten soon saw the potential of building a tourist centre focusing on Norwegian culture and history. His life’s work was gradually brought into being in collaboration with cabin manufacturer Rindalshytter. The Saga Trollheimen Hotel had become a reality.



Ola Olson Furuhaug built the house for himself and his mother in 1923. Ola was an old bachelor and had many different jobs over the years. The Saga Trollheimen Hotel purchased the house and re-erected parts of it.


This house comes from Faksneset in Surnadal and is an old farmstead. The first man to live in it was Anders Knutson Monset, who was born around 1720.

Among other things, it housed a general store for many years. Part of the house was demolished and used for firewood in 1940. What remains today used to be the farmstead’s parlour.


This building was put up by the Rindal Bulldoserlag cooperative and used as a garage and workshop. There was also accommodation for employees on the first floor. Looking up where the pub now is, you can see a huge beam in the roof. It had to be able to support an enormous weight, as it was used to lift engines out of bulldozers.


This was a farmhouse from Negård in Rinddalsskogen. It is uncertain when exactly it was built, but it is probably an old log cabin with a central hearth that was extended up and out. But one half definitely dates back to the 1820s. The original building is the living room and is now used as a bedroom.

Stable from Austigard – Skjølsvoll

This stable, which is beautifully crafted and put together, dates back to 1833. The timber came from Tisethaugane in Rindalsskogen, and the building was used as a stable until a new byre was built on the farm in 1983.


The buildings in Austistua and Utistua Haltli burned to the ground in 1858. Only this storehouse was left standing. Storehouses were generally built well away from the other buildings on the farm, precisely to prevent food and other provisions being destroyed by fire. It is not certain when the storehouse was built, but going by the shape of the beams, it was probably in the late 1700s.


This is a ‘haymow’ with a hallway on the side. The complete barn consisted of several such haymows, but the barn as a whole was falling down, so it is wonderful that this part was saved and looked after. A hallway ran along the entire length of such barns, probably to make it easier to access the various haymows. The buildings at Øygarn in Romundstadbygda are among the oldest in Rindal and date all the way back to the early 1600s.


Langlihuset is a building supported on pillars that was built from and around a giant pine tree blown over during the hurricane on 30 December 1988. The pine was more than 300 years old.

Fotografen Morten Gåsvand

Morten Gåsvand is a documentary photographer with a special interest in architecture, street life and nature. He has a distinctive style, whether he is photographing busy city streets or the tranquillity of the forest.

Morten is a writer too and his book about the giant pines in Trollheimen has been a great success.

You can read and see more about Morten and his pictures here.