Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Whiteouts and blue sky in northern Norway

Our shelter was located on the Kvaløya Island just a 10 minutes drive to downtown Tromsø.
From our understanding, the conditions and the snowpack were much better around Tromsø than at the Lyngen Alps. With countless options on the mountain surrounding Norway’s northern capital, we figure it would be a nice basecamp. We used Ski Touring in Troms by Espen Nordahl as our bible, for the weather forecast and for the avalanche forecast.

For our first day out we chose to go to Little Blammanen which was just a few kilometers from our new home. The weather was really unsure and warm, to that was a nice option to check the local snowpack without too much risk.
The snow was really not the greatest one over changing from hard windpack at the top to quite mushy at the bottom. Nevertheless, it was nice to stretch our legs after such a long drive!
Overall weather at our base camp stayed pretty much the same with temperature ranging around 0Celcius (even if we were above the arctic circle) with wet snow changing to rain some times.
It was really nice to use this unused day lodge to get a bit of a shelter from the shitty weather.

We drove a bit north to the island of Ringvassøya to give a try at Soltinden (also call Rema1000). The skin up started nicely through some sparse bush. 
We eventually reach the alpine.... just as the weather got cloudy and snowy. Visibility dropped fairly fast and we eventually got ourselves into a nice whiteout. Since we weren’t able to distinguish sky from earth, we pulled the skins off and head down. Quite a shame we had to turn back since the snow (even if only 10cm), was really nice and smooth!
We were pretty bummed after getting ourselves skunk twice in two days by the weather.
I guess Ullr (Norwegian god of skiing) heard our curses and he sended us a nice bluebird day!

We jumped on this nice day to head to Slettinden.
This mountain is located on the island of Malangen just southwest of Tromsø.
There was an approach a bit longer that what I usually like (I’m pretty lazy!) but since both the skiing and the view were both supposed to be stunning, we headed out.

Skinning up was made around the looker’s right shoulder of the mountain and the ski down was made straight down from the summit on the main open face. We were all pretty stoke to finally have the nice open view of the white mountains plunging down into the blue fjords were fish farms and boats were to be seen here and there.
Skiing down the main face was as good as the view with nice open turns on some nice and steady snow! This was quite a picture-perfect day!
Everything was so different and so much better that the previous days! Since you usually don't expect deep snow for a spring trip in Norway the view is pretty nice to have!
The crappy weather got back the following day...
With not much visibility, we headed to probably the most popular option near Tromsø, Buren. Since it has been snowing littly overnight with some steady lite wind. This was pretty similar from our first day out as we got a nice whiteout as we were getting close from the top.
We waited again a bit for the weather to clear out, but since it was just getting worse and worse, we headed down where we eventually got a bit of a window...
One thing for sure, Norway is certainly pretty nice when you have nice weather (here is Etienne enjoying a nice curve on Slettinden)!
Hope we get more days like those in the coming week! 

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