One day in early May I randomly checked the Norwegian Air website and found a great deal on flights to Tromsø. Spontaneous ski trip? Why not!?
Tromsø is 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Sometime during the 1800s it earned the moniker Paris of the North, perhaps because people in Tromsø appeared as far more ‘civilized’ than expected by travellers from the south (thanks wikipedia). Today Tromsø is the 7th largest city in Norway (and 9th largest urban area) with a population of about 70,000. There is a university, a football (soccer) club, a symphony, several museums, and the world’s northern most brewery! Although I have quite a beef with the Mack Brewery – its opening hours are severely lacking – not open on the weekends (or holidays) or after 6 in the evening, c’mon now! While Tromsø is a lovely city (honestly, I only spent a few hours there, but it seems lovely…), the real intent of the trip was to ski in the Lyngen Alps – a spectacular mountain range about an hour to the east of Tromsø, right along the fjords.
Arriving in Tromsø on the 17th of May (Norway’s National Day) meant that while we did get to catch the parade through town, we were not likely to find a grocery store open to buy food for the rest of the weekend.
Ahhh, grocery store hours in Norway. A friend who grew up in Tromsø only knew of one “Sunday store” (a grocery store that is no larger than 100 square meters and open on Sundays) in the city – and while there probably more now, we couldn’t easily find one. Because there were only a few stores in Lyngen, and we suspected most would be closed by relatively early in the day, we had to get our food in Tromsø early Saturday morning. I managed to find a shop that opened at 7am and we were there just as it opened in order to make the 8:10am ferry to Lyngen (which was 30 miles away). Only downside of shopping that early – you can’t by beer until 9am. Thus no apres beer, it just seems wrong…
While we failed in all matters regarding beer, we succeeded in the skiing aspects of the trip. We only had 2 days to ski so I just thought of it as a recognizance mission for a future trip.
On day 1, after abandoning our initial plans to ski Storgalten after stability/condition concerns, we made a simple trek up Russelvfjellet. From the car park we just had to have faith (and believe the beta we had received) that there was actually snow on the side of the mountain we were planning to ski as the side facing the road and car park was bare. We were happy to see that there was in fact plenty of snow on the north side of the mountain and while the weather looked iffy, the fog was kind enough to hold off until we managed to check out the view at the summit.
Back at the car as we were thinking about the dinner and the sauna, some other skiers deciding whether or not to start the tour – crazy how you can ski 24 hours a day at this time of year! Tromsø has the Midnight Sun (aka the sun never sets) between May 18th and June 26th
And yes, I said sauna. In the whole last minute nature of this trip, we didn’t manage to book our accommodations until just a few days before we left but still lucked out, finding a really great house in Svensby. It was so great, with a view of the fjord and a sauna. I totally plan on booking it for easter next year and. There is room for 6, anyone want to join?!?
On day 2 we actually skied outside of Lyngen in the Kåfjord area. The weather had cleared up and we had a fantastically sunny day on Storhaugen. The views were amazing, with fjords on 3 sides. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Basically, I was smitten by Lyngen. By the views, the house and the snow. It was a perfect end to the ski season!