Northern Alpine Guides Blog
Our ski season here in the Lofoten Islands is off to an amazing start. The last few weeks of October we received allot of snow. The fluctuating temperatures created a great base and one of the best starts for an amazing ski season to come. Check out some of our favorite pictures from skiing in Lofoten the last few weeks. Contact us now to book for this winter….
The cold temperatures and snow have finally arrived in Lofoten this Fall after weeks of beautiful weather and climbing conditions. Now the mountains are wearing their winter coats and the forecast is for a week full of snow and cold temperatures. Our Lofoten Ski Guiding programs are booking up fast filling up with skiers ready to explore and experience the worlds most exotic coastal ski location. Here is a little video to give you the an idea what we do up here in the Far North! Wax your boards, pack your bags, Lofoten is going to have another early start to the Winter season.
Our spring has been an action packed season guiding here in the Lofoten Islands and the Alps! This April and May have been months to remember here in Lofoten. Short storms rolled in all spring covering the mountains of Lofoten with dry powder snow and were followed by weeks of clear and relatively cool temperatures making for unreal skiing conditions. While in the Alps with the good snow base and warmer temperatures allowed for the snow to stick up high on the steeper faces allowing us to ski guide some of the bigger classics lines around Chamonix. Now we are into one of our favorite times of the year where we can still ski great spring snow in the mountains and climb beautiful granite on the coastline in the sun in the same day. Lofoten, is a really special place and if you haven’t come out to join us you should strongly consider packing your ski equipment and climbing shoes next spring for a multisport adventure here on the most beautiful islands in the word.
Here is a little list of some of the High Points of this Spring:
- Ride the Planet, Came out from Russia in mid April and we guided them around for an amazing week of Steep Powder Skiing! See video at the bottom of this post. Beautiful trip!
- Team Red Bull came on a company trip late April and scored a week of sunshine and spring conditions. They were amazed by the landscape, skiing, and culture. Day after day of sunshine and a deep snowpack allowing them to ski from the summits to the sea all week long
- At the end of April we were visited by a strong group of 10 friends from Sweden here and they stayed at the Lofoten Ski Lodge. They also scored a great week of powder skiing in April and May with lots of fresh snow and an amazing ski trip into Troll Fjord to wrap it all up.
- In May Lead guide Seth Hobby went out to Chamonix and worked on Steep Skiing with the crew at Steep Ski Camps and found perfect dry powder stuck on the steep north faces.
- The rest of May and into June we have been mostly rock guiding here in Lofoten with already a guided ascent of the classic Vestpillaren of Presten, many ascents on the Gandalf Wall, and 4 guided climbs on Svolvær Geita aka “The Goat”.
- On top of all this we are moving into an amazing new office on the main central corner in Kabelvåg. Stay tuned for some pictures of the new office once we are done with the move.
We would like to send a big Thank YOU to all the great people who have come to ski and climb with us in Lofoten and the Alps this Spring Season. The midnight sun is now in full effect so dust off your rock shoes and mountain boots and join us in the Lofoten Islands or Alps this summer for some of the worlds best alpine and rock climbing!
I went out on a ski tour with fellow NAG guide Sjur Hauge today enjoying the fresh powder we have been waiting for a little while now. Our mission was also to do some test pit’s and analyze the snow stability. We are very happy with what we found overall and the skiing was great! In the last 24-36 hours we have received a solid 40 cm of new well bonded snow in the mountains and its still snowing. We have a great base to the snow pack especially up high and we received allot of snow in this storm system. The long term forecast is calling for even more snow so it’s shaping up to give us a great start for the ski season in Lofoten. At 650m we measured an average of 250-270cm of snow and in some places my 300cm probe could not even reach the bottom.
The high season for skiing in Lofoten is just starting and we have our second group of ski guests coming up this week. We are exited for the forecast of continued snow fall for this week with low temperatures giving us the opportunity to get up on the bigger steeper peaks in the near future. We have a coastal snowpack and environment here in Lofoten and the snow at sea level comes in and out all season. So for those of you who has been a little worried when seeing local web cameras with wet conditions. This usually means its snowing in the mountains and is a good thing. The season is officially started and we are really fired up for more skiing, even longer days, more Northern Lights and the amazing views the Lofoten islands has to offer.
Here are a few pictures from today. Get stoked!
|At 650m we measured an average of 250-270cm of snow. In some places my 300cm Probe could not reach the bottom!|
|Sjur enjoying the 40cm of light powder on the way down from Torskman.|
Check out this very well written essay profiled in the Norrøna Magazine on skiing, snowboarding, and surfing in the Lofoten Islands. Its a Love Story!
Lofoten, will you marry me?
1. It started in a completely different place. We were on our way home on a winter Sunday, with cars ahead and cars behind. It was evening on Norway’s Highway 7 and everyone was headed for Oslo. We had spent the weekend between the areas of Hol and Aurland; one day of ice climbing west of the watershed; one day of fresh powder in the Sudndal valley. “Should get a cabin up here,” I said to my friend Sjur, who was driving. I did a monolog on the topic. I’d really worked myself up and felt like I was on a roll so I didn’t wait for an answer. “They close the road because of snowstorms. It’s perfect. Just call work on Monday morning and say, ‘Sorry. Can’t make it. Road’s closed. Not my fault. Storm. Have to stay here.’ Imagine that? Snowed in. Never coming back!” “No,” he said. That was not exactly the answer I was expecting. “No?” “We’ll buy in Lofoten, instead.” “Ok,” I said, waited, and then said, “Where?” “Henningsvær.” I couldn’t say ‘no.’
2. If Sjur had been like other friends, that would have been the end of it. But the next day, I got a long list of links to real estate advertisements. A week later, he went to Henningsvær just to look at a house. That is how we became homeowners in the Lofoten Islands.
3. Can you spackle the one you love? If so, it would take many liters of spackle and many hours of spackling. Inside, we spackled. Outside, there was wind and rain. Inside too, for that matter.
4. Should you already be in a relationship, the cinnamon rolls at the candle-makers and café in Lofoten’s Henningsvær are reason enough to consider shaking up your life. And if you think your Gore-Tex clothing and hat are a bit flashy when you’re sitting at that café, and feel you are being focused on a bit too much, let me put it in perspective. On a good weekend, Lofoten can draw a few hundred visiting free skiers. By comparison, in 1905, a typical year for the famous seasonal codfishing rush called “Lofotfiske,” 20 000 fishermen came to this archipelago north of the Arctic Circle. They came at about the same time as skiers do now, between January and April, and brought a whole little industry with them. In addition to preachers, merchants, peddlers, cooks, food service workers, fish buyers from Bergen and the Møre district, buyers of liver and caviar, and police reinforcements, the official Statistical Yearbook says the influx included 13 watchmakers, 21 goldsmiths, 10 photographers, 13 artists and 101 “head buyers.” The last group was buying the heads of fish, we presume. So there is room for many more free skiers in Lofoten. We should all go, until it gets as crowded as during the old Lofotfiske – when you could cross Henningsvær harbor by walking from boat to boat – and the snake oil sellers arrive.
5. There are lots of ways of getting to Lofoten. The easiest is to already live there, or move there for good. Personally, I am in love from afar, and have made it to Lofoten in a variety of ways : by car, fast boat, Hurtigruten coastal ships, and plane; via the towns of Bodø, Evenes, Svolvær and Tromsø. Two means of travel remain :
a Public transport all the way from Oslo : Train to Bodø, boat to Svolvær, and then bus to Henningsvær just to see how long it would take.
b A road trip via all of the ski areas in Noway’s Nordland County. (Even if I am going steady with Lofoten, I can’t forget you Glomfjord.)
6. I don’t have any documents about this relationship, and have to accept that Lofoten has others apart from me. There is rock, sea and snow enough for all.
7. If you are going to work out a relationship with Lofoten, you have to like weather. Every winter cars get blown into the sea, sometimes with people in them.
8. The mountain Geitgaljen. That alone is reason enough to love Lofoten. How about a sea eagle above the skier in front of you on the southern run of Geitgaljen? That must be like a movie romance, and in Lofoten, no less.
9. Are you also considering Lofoten and marriage? Just take the trip to the cliff Presten (The Preacher). In summer, driven people can be found on Lofoten’s most classic climbing route in these mountains. In winter, skiers follow the 500-meter couloir down to the road.
10. I did the aforementioned run on a Sunday in April. The previous day we turned back from another trek because of zero visibility and bad snow. Two days earlier, we turned back because of a big and slightly too fast slush-slide that covered our tracks. That day, I’d left my crampons at home. The conditions were the pits. It was blowing like crazy. There was heavy rain. The visibility was poor. I loved it.
11. Can you grow old with Lofoten? I choose to think so. Last year, I took the Hurtigruten from Tromsø to Svolvær in the dead of winter. I sat on the panorama deck with retirees and Central Europeans with video cameras. Some solved crosswords, some crocheted, some took an unintentional nap. No one said anything. Together, we saw the world’s most beautiful nature coming at us, drifting slowly, steadily. The voyage from the north through the Vesterålen Islands and then Lofoten, past the Trollfjord and Raftsund, is beyond comparison. So when I get old, and I mean really old, after I have put in a few years as a retiree ski bum, I’m going to buy a cabin on each of the Hurtigrute ships and take the same trip day after day, back and forth between Tromsø and Stamsund. There is room on the boat for you too.
Welcome to Lofoten
Travel: The easiest and most expensive way is to fly to Bodø with SAS or Norwegian and then fly to Svolvær or Leknes with the Widerøe airline. An alternative would be to fly cheap to Evenes with SAS or Norwegian, and then spend a few hours in a rental car or bus, going west to Lofoten. In any case, a car would be highly useful for getting around on the islands.
Accommodation: Lofoten is a tourist magnet with accommodations in all categories. Some are closed in the winter. Suggested starting points for trips would be Svolvær, Kabelvåg and Henningsvær. Use the website www.visitlofoten.com to get an overview, and then call around to check prices and availability at “rorbuer”, fishing huts, hotels and cabins.
Guides: Northern Alpine Guides is based in Lofoten and is run by Seth Hobby and his wife Maren Eek Bistrup. Read more on alpineguides.no or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidebooks: The Norwegian alpine ski touring book “Toppturer i Norge” from the Fri Flyt publishing house covers a few tours in Lofoten. You can also Google information about trips in the area. If you are a newcomer, it would pay – both in terms of the experience and safety – to hire a guide or hook up with local ski enthusiasts.
Text: Henning Reinton
Photos: Sverre Hjørnevik & Chris Holter