Pelle Skalmstad (born Magnus Vladimir Illarionovich Sladnjev) 1919-1990, was the son of a Ukranian immigrant who married the daughter of the owner of Skalmstad farm in Øyer. In 1944, due to health related issues, Pelle was advised to spend the summer in the mountains.
Pelle took with him an old rundown sty from Skalmstad farm and placed it in what he deemed the most idyllic spot on Hundersætra in Øyerfjellet. In 1945 he named that place ‘Pellestova’
Pelle was a shrewd business man and in 1946 opened the very first iteration of Pellestova, a little cafe serving coffee from chipped porcelain cups. Seeing the potential in his endeavour Pelle continued to provide drinks to thirsty skiers and hikers, and it was here the story of Pellestova, as we know it today, began
Pelle expanded his operation as demand increased and, in time, the small sty transformed in to a small hotel. His unique personality drew all manner of visitors and Pelle became somewhat of a legend in his own lifetime. He became known for, amongst other things, accommodating some of the worlds greatest skiers during the run up to the winter season. The stories from these times as extraordinary as they are numerous.
Pelle sadly passed away in 1990.
With the enigmatic driving force gone, there came a swift decline as no one seemed to be able to continue Pelle’s life’s work, and, in 2003 Pellestova closed its doors. With the buildings rotting, the lack of guests and the finances in ruin, no one saw potential in this once legendary place. In 2006 what was left of the original Pellestova was sold as a project. The buildings were in such poor condition the sheep had, it seemed, ‘checked in’ for good. After a number of years, and a number of challenges, Pellestova reopened its doors in 2009 under the ownership of Bjørn Rune Gjelsten. With considerable investment in all aspects of the business, Pellestova has been transformed into a classy modern hotel, one which Pelle would be proud of.
Numerous pictures from the archives are now proudly displayed throughout the hotel connecting the past to the present, as well as preserving an integral part of Norwegian cultural heritage.