Second trip up north, last May

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randoskier

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Second trip up north, last May

Postby randoskier » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:24 pm

At the end of April's trip I was quite shocked how much new snow was still falling. After I got home to Italy I kept reading the Norwegian weather and it was still snowing everyday. So 1 May I decided to fly back up by myself (my wife broke her foot on the first trip) and ski from a good friend's house in Lonsdal, Norway to Hemevan in Sweden. My friend is a Sami reindeer herder, I spent several nights with him and his family, Iove their life! Great people, I really like Sami culture. Skied from the Krokstrand trailhead in Norway to the Virvas cabin and then the next day into Sweden. The first place I came to in Sweden in was Vindalkroken- it is a tiny Sami settlement that is normally only populated in spring and summer, but some Sami were making use of the snow cover to provision their houses with firewood and other supplies transported in by snow-scooter. I crossed the border and an old Sami man and his daughter (or granddaughter) on a snowmobile pulled up along side of me and said something in Swedish, I asked him if he spoke english and he did not, but she spoke perfect english and asked me where I am from- I replied New York City (true!). He understood that and let out a a good belly laugh, she was really nice and also thought it was oddly amusing to have a New Yorker in Vindalkroken. (I have not actually lived in New York for decades). For the next days I skied from cabin to cabin, some STF (trekking association cabins) and some run by the county of Vesterbotten or is it Norbotten? I shared one cabin with two Norwegian couples- they had hunting dogs pulling their pulks but they were skiing. They had made a trip through the Vindalfjellet (Vindal Mountains) every year for 17 years running. They cooked some wicked good bacon and were great company, saw nobody else until I arrived in Hemevan where there is a ski area (it had closed the week before even though there was tons of snow- it is far north of Sweden's population centers). The lake ice was still thick enough to drive a truck on. I had pretty much 24 hr sun by the midpoint of this trip because it would hardly dip below the horizon- that removed the pressure of trying to make cabins by nightfall and was really stunning with the snow. I had much better weather than on the first trip- only one whiteout day and many blue days. I had a severe wind problem on one day- knocked over 4 times in a cross-wind then had to ski up a U-shaped valley into the massif headwind- slow going. The clouds were surrealistic they were moving so fast through the blue sky. The trails in Norway are not marked, you find your own way- in Sweden they are over-marked with big Xs on three meter poles. Many signs there also). Too many snowmobiles when you get near Hemevan! I don't mind the Sami using them because it has made their very hard herding life a little bit easier, but the recreational ones are too much, much calmer in Norway. That is a very minor complaint- I love northern Sweden. I had walked this area in the summer and it was nice to see it in the winter- the nature preserve there is one of the last bastions of the Arctic Fox, there are Moose all over the place and of course herds of reindeer.
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My friend Olof and his granddaughter, she skis better than me, she is 4. Because of the late snow (and the timber industry) the reindeer did not have enough moss on the trees to eat so they had to buy pellets to feed them.



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Approaching the Swedish border

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The actual border of Norway and Sweden (note: no wall!!!)

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Ah Sweden!

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My Norwegian cabin-mates saddling up

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...and they're off, they could really ski and took off like a shot through the trees, impressive!

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Water AGAIN?

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Breakfast of Champions

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The Midnight sun..I always think of Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner when I see this..or the Immigrants Song
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Vindalfjellet

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fisheater

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Re: Second trip up north, last May

Postby fisheater » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:47 pm

Fantastic! Thank you for sharing. German Shorthair sled dogs, I bet they are fast

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randoskier

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Re: Second trip up north, last May

Postby randoskier » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:29 pm

They were very fast! Could pull the pulk and the skier. Normally I see mostly Greenland Dogs or Huskies up there. These dogs were very friendly, once they got to know you that is. Spoiled by their loving owners!

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lowangle al

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Re: Second trip up north, last May

Postby lowangle al » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:19 pm

Great trip, thanks for sharing. About how many miles did you cover?

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randoskier

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Re: Second trip up north, last May

Postby randoskier » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:22 pm

Hi Al, sorry just saw your response- Normally ski 20-35 km per day, the average being around 24km which is a nice day's tour in this kind of terrain which is variable from flat lake, rolling gullies, mountain skiing, and a bit of everything esle. Navigation can be time consuming as well, unless you are the Swedish side of the border- there winter routes are marked. Weather is the biggest time killer though, close to the ocean.

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randoskier

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Re: Second trip up north, last May

Postby randoskier » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:25 pm

Hi Al, sorry just saw your response- Normally ski 20-35 km per day, the average being around 24km which is a nice day's tour in this kind of terrain which is variable from flat lake, rolling gullies, mountain skiing, and a bit of everything esle. Navigation can be time consuming as well, unless you are the Swedish side of the border- there winter routes are marked. Weather is the biggest time killer though, close to the ocean.

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Re: Second trip up north, last May

Postby Mountain Mitch » Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:48 pm

I love seeing the German Shorthairs used as sled dogs. I used to skijor with mine occasionally. Great fun!
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