lyngen, take 2

What is better than 2 days skiing in Lyngen? A whole week!

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This year’s Easter ski holiday took me back up North, with a few American friends in tow. Kristina and Nick from Seattle, and Langley, who I know from Seattle but currently lives in the south of France, met Julian and me in Tromsø for a week of backcountry skiing.

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I found a great little cabin on Airbnb that was right in the heart of Lyngen, in Lakselvbukt. Seriously, check out the surroundings (and Kristina’s gymnastic endeavors)! And in addition we had easy access to all the ski possibilities in Balsfjorden, Tamok, and Kåfjord too.

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As it often can be in the Spring, the weather was variable. We experienced clouds and sun, and snow and rain, but the good news was that there was snow right down to sea-level. Visibility hampered our summit attempts, but we still managed to ski 6 out of 7 days (5 for me as I made the unfortunate decision to take a rest day, which was then followed by a forced rest day due to rain).

Both Kristina and Langley also have blogs. Kristina will do a far better job than me of recounting our mountain adventures in a humorous and detailed way (thus far she has written about her first impressions of Norway and our trips to the grocery store, but check back for skiing stories). And Langley is much more philosophical in her trip report. I find it interesting to read others’ impressions on the place that is my new normal.

Here is my take on our trip.

Day 1: Daltinden (1533m) – the weather started out promising as we made the long approach in along the river valley. 

Is that a tutu you’re wearing Kristina? Oh yes it is. She wins for most fashionable on the mountain.

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But the clouds moved in. We made it to about 1100 meters before we were surrounded by white and getting major snow clump-age on our skins.  Given the lack of visibility we decided it was best to turn back. We got a few good turns in before making it back to the river valley where the snow was just wet enough to make it a slog out.

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Tutus – 0, Mother Nature – 1

Day 2: Middagstiden (1072m) – it was snowing and the avy danger was high, so we tried to find some tree skiing. But that is not so easy when you are about the Arctic Circle. We did find some trees, but they were dense and on flat terrain. We made it to the top of the treeline but couldn’t even begin to make out the mountain we were standing on. Not awesome.

The map says it should be right in front of us…

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Hmmm, are you sure?

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On the bright side, we did get some fresh snow!

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Visibility low, spirits high!

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Tutus – 0 (they didn’t even come out to play), Mother Nature – 2

Day 3: Sjufjellet (1086m)

Even night we worked out a puzzle – where was the best weather forecast, the least avy danger, a mountain that gave options given the avy danger, minimal flats… After the previous 2 days, we were anxious for a summit. Would Sjufjellet do it for us?!? It was cloudy, but you could still see the mountain (and yes, that is a tutu you see on the German).

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There is no photographic evidence because it was damn windy up there, but we made it. Finally a summit! And we had a good ski down – good enough that Kristina, Nick and Julian went for a second lap on the bottom half of the mountain.

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Tutus – 1 (making a comeback), Mother Nature – 2

Day 4: Giilivarri (1163m)

On Thursday we made the 2 hour drive to Kåfjord in search of sun and fjord views. The group skinned up the first 400 or so meters together, and then Langley and I headed right towards Giilivarri, while the other 3 were a bit more ambitious and headed left towards Nordmannviktinden. Can you spot Kristina, Nick and Julian below?

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Both groups had successful tours, complete with fjord views on the ski down. This is what we came to Lyngen for!

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Tutus – 2, Mother Nature – 2

Day 5 – Personal rest day

The weather wasn’t so stellar (again) and I took a rest/study Norwegian day while the others went out for a tour. They came back a few hours later with stories of making it halfway up the mountain before hiding out behind a rock, waiting for the weather to clear for a ski down. The highlight of the tour seemed to be the big air that the car got on the bumpy roads on the drive home. I didn’t seem like I missed much, but in retrospect, given the weather the next day, I wished I joined them.

Seriously bumpy roads. Poor rental car.

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Tutus – 2, Mother Nature – 3

Day 6 – Forced rest day.

We woke up to rain and wind. Lots of it.

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We made a brief sojourn to the grocery store for more beer, took a {really} short walk on the beach, and spent the rest of the day playing games, reading and napping. There are worse ways to spend the day…

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Tutus – 2, Mother Nature – 4

Day 7 – Rissavarri (1251 m)

Kåfjord seemed to be the magic spot, so we made the drive over there again for our final {Easter Sunday} tour.

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We started out with sun and it  was warm enough to skin in a tank top, for at least a few minutes.

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It was a bit icy/crusty on the way up, requiring crampons for the first time all week. The visibility decreased near the top, but we waited for a clearing, and skied down to great fjord views. We stopped halfway down to savor our last Lyngen lunch in the sun.

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Toasting to Easter skiing. Langley even took a dip in the water – brave girl!

Tutus – 3, Mother Nature – 4

While the score may make it look like Mother Nature won out, it was a great, relaxing, and safe week of skiing and appreciating the great outdoors! And thanks for coming to visit guys – it was great!

(Some pictures were snagged from J, K and L – thanks guys!)

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