Known as the birthplace of skiing, Norway has probably been the subject of most backcountry skiers’ dreams. It has always been on my radar after watching the Norwegians dominate the Olympic Cross Country Ski events over the years, not to mention the stories of endless daylight and sweet terrain.
There’s only one problem Norway creates for skiers…it just happens to be one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. Be warned my fellow skiers: Norway is the 5th richest country in world, as is visible in the sculpture-laden streets of all the towns we visited. Here are some examples of what things cost in Norway as opposed to Canada:
- Laguna Burger, no fries: $30 CAD. California patio with beach views not included.
- Corona beer: $25
- Gasoline, per/litre: $2.25
- Last minute car rental: $199 per day
Having a lifetime of practice in ski bohemia, I knew we could stretch a budget. But Norway’s prices and our lack of preparation before this trip made for quite an uphill battle. Luckily we don’t mind ‘earning’ our turns, and our Norwegian Ski-Bus-Skineering mission began.
We started in Oslo, but the classic fjord skiing was waaaaay up in the Lyngen Alps in the North. Following a quick Facebook check, I noticed that our friend Adam U. was in Norway and he diverted us to the much closer Jotunheimen zone and we hopped on the first bus out. This was all good in concept, but after we fell asleep the bus kept on driving right past our desired mountain pass in the night. Good thing camping is allowed anywhere in Norway, so we camped on the grass in Årdalstangen, a quaint little town that reminded me of Terrace, BC.
In Ski-Bus-Skineering if you don’t plan efficiently you can lose use huge amounts of time, forcing you to spend down time at bus stations (which tend harbour some sketchy characters). Eventually, we did reach snow.
Once on snow and skinning uphill it felt good to be in our natural environment. The variable weather felt like a familiar mellow BC coastal ski tour. Of course in any new area it’s always good to respect the weather — I was feeling confident we’d get up to the peak when BOOM — whiteout, and the classic “stay-or-go” debate began. Fortunately it did clear after 5 minutes and we tagged Turboka peak.
24 hours to left to burn meant GO: Oslo to Lom by bus, hitchhiking with a German plumber to Spiterstulen, set up camp. At 7:30pm, climb…then turn around 500 feet from the summit thanks to another whiteout.
“I like to push myself to the maximum in the mountains to see what I can do physically to my abilities. My parents got me into skiing and the mountains at a young age. I progressed to ski racing, to front country, then I started finding powder stashes I had to keep going further and further to see what was around the next corner.
In addition to having worked eight years as a ski patroller, I have been racing in the pro/elite category for several seasons as a mountain biker. Racing enables me to go further and faster in the mountains in pursuit of steep skiing and speed traverses. Other activities I like: free ride mountain biking, road riding, bouldering, rock climbing, mountaineering, ice hockey, tennis, trailrunning . I like to go see live bands in small venues. I’ve been following the Vancouver Canucks for many years in their quest for the Stanley Cup.”
Andy Traslin, bicycle, Bike, cross country skiing, Denmark, earn your turns, Mike Traslin, mountaineering, norway, Oslo, Osprey athlete, ski tour, skiing, skinning, Traslin Brothers
When we launched our #OspreyAt40 photo contest earlier this year, we knew we’d see some amazing photos of your many adventures, travels and treks — but we were blown away by the number of phenomenal photos submitted by so many loyal Osprey fans. Thank you for sharing your memories with us — we’re honored to have been part of your hikes, backpacking trips, MTB rides, snow days, city walks, summits, sojourns and every other adventure you’ve had with an Osprey Pack on your back.
We’re going to continue to celebrate our 40th Anniversary throughout the year — so please stay tuned for other fun contests and prizes. In May, we’ll be premiering the full-length documentary “Osprey Packs: 40 Years in the Making.” In the meantime, below are the final winners selected by our internal judges for Round 4 of #OspreyAt40. (Or visit our gallery of all of the 40 winning #OspreyAt40 photos here.)
Thank you again for sharing your photos with us and for celebrating our 40th Anniversary!
40th Anniversary, adventure, backpacking, contest, Documentary, dogs, Farpoint, Farpoint 40, film, hikes, India, Kestrel, memories, Moab, MTB, norway, Osprey Packs 40th Anniversary, OspreyAt40, photo contest, photos, Sirrus, Sirrus 36, Stienbua, trailer, travel, Tromso, West Fork Creek Canyon
“I’m so, so sorry sir. I had no idea that this was in my bag.”
The customs official at O’Hare airport in Chicago had just pulled a large and long beef stick packet out of my vinyl duffel. His hound whined incessantly next to him. He eyed me closely.
Huh, I thought. That must be what Noah meant when he said that he “put” something in my bag.
Strange things take place north of the 66th parallel come mid-May. On about May 17th, the sun seems to enjoy its perch above the horizon and for nearly 60 days it refuses to dip below the horizon creating the “Midnight Sun”. While 24 hours a day of sunlight screws with your body clock, it does make for some incredible skiing.
I took a 2 hour flight from Oslo to Tromso, followed by sections of ride in vans and ferries to navigate the endless fjords carved from rugged peaks and glaciers.
After every possible form of transport — planes, trains, automobikes and boats — we arrived at the ultra-plush Lyngen Lodge, which would serve as our basecamp for a week. I use the term basecamp loosely as the lodge has 5 star accomodations and dining for 16 people and a boat moored out from to take you to the bottom of a lifetime of lines.
Your only limit is your own engine. With 24 hours a day of sunlight you can never blame the darkness on snuffing out another lap. On the first night we enjoy Reindeer steaks and some tasty Rhone wine. After dessert, I headed out for a 3,000 foot ski out the backdoor. I charge up the peak and stop only to snap some photos of the sun tracking horizontally across the horizon line for hours on end.
At home in Colorado, great Alpenglow lasts about 10 minutes, so it takes some time to realize that the light is going to be lighting my turns for the next 7 hours before it starts to get really bright again around 8AM. And a run in stellar corn is a good way to burn off some reindeer and flush wine from the system. I arrive back at the Lodge in time to have breakfast before heading to bed around 7AM.
I awake mid afternoon in time to take a boat trip out for some cod fishing. After our fishing excursion (very short lived as I have ADHD and fishing can’t hold my attention for any more than 30 minutes) we head across the fjord to a commercial fishing village that survives solely on cod fishing. The fish are hung from wooden racks for months until they dehydrate and then they are shipped to Spain and Portugal and served as a delicacy. The heads are dries as well and sent to Japan for fish-head soup. The factory has more than 100,000 fish heads drying while we visit. The smell is not one likely to be bottled and sold as perfume anytime soon.
Fishing aside, this trip is all for skiing. The highlight is a long boat ride through various fjords landing us in a sea-side basin below 5,000 foot peaks. These peaks are ultra-rugged and a lifetime’s worth of lines spill toward every edge of the island.
We started the skin at midnight and dropped in around 2:30 in the morning. The light was amazing and the corn snow had taken on the shade of a pumpkin shell. The glassy sea is broken only by islands and mirrors the color of the sky. The light is like nothing I have ever seen. Orange softens to pink and is replaced by bronze as nature lays tricks on my eyes.
Around 3 a.m. I dropped in and skied prefect corn thousands of vertical feet back to the sea. We scrambled to the sea and waited for our boat to collect us off the rocks. I cracked a beer (a rarity in Norway as they are $10+ per can) and sipped to my good fortune. Surrounded by friends in what may be the world’s most scenic location, the rock of the boat on the ocean’s ripples lulls me to sleep and I start to dream of another day skiing under the Midnight Sun.