Monday, 17 April 2017

Lofoten Islands 2017 - week 3

Last week was the third and final 'Lofoten Ski Touring Adventures' week for 2017. Having picked up the team at the airport we were met by a welcoming committee on the drive to our home for the week at Lofoten Ski Lodge:

With a combination of high winds from the previous Friday and it being Easter weekend the challenge on Sunday was to find a spot away from the 'crowds' and where we might find some decent snow. We managed to tick both boxes, with a mix of spring snow and 'blown-in' powder and only met one skier in the whole day... Perfect!

On day 2, with sunny conditions forecast we set course for the West and a 'double'header' starting at one of my secret spots. Unfortunately we met much warmer conditions than the previous day and the couloir was already quite heavily transformed by the time we topped out, so we had to pass on the summit (no 3rd time lucky for me!) and ski the line before it got any heavier:

We even managed to sneak in some bonus cold snow turns on our way out to reset for objective number 2:

With round one complete we headed further West to the magical Stornappstind. Given snow conditions on our first line I was intending to ski the classic West face, but a chill wind met us in the car park, and on the way up the West face was far from softening so a tentative look into the South face revsulted in a great run on good spring snow:

The forecast for the rest of the week was quite mixed and on Tuesday it looked to be a classic Lofoten day of mixed snow flurries and sunnier spells, with a strong wind picking up from the West. Once again it was time to think laterally and we headed to the 'Wild North' into a bowl I had looked at many times from the road but had not had the opportunity to explore. As it turned out it was quite good!

We put in 3 good laps in here on different lines and I left with it very high on my list for a return visit.

Wednesday continued in a similar vein with pulses of weather and very strong winds ripping over the summit ridges. Fortunately I am starting to put together a good selection of bad weather tree skiing options and we even managed to get our timing about right to match the clear spells with a series of great laps for 1600m vertical of good powder snow:

Thursday was a day of wild winds and lots of precipitation with varying temperatures (sometimes white, sometimes translucent...).
Friday was our last day, and with a weather window predicted for the middle of the day, but high avalanche risk and heavy snow low down, we set off putting a skintrack in to heavy snow with expectations set rather low. Once again though the Norse gods and Lofoten's maritime snowpack worked their magic and we snuck in 4 great laps on cold snow before braving the wet stuff low down and retreating for a well earned waffle!

And so another Lofoten spring draws to a close for me... On Friday night the wind was so strong that the lodge was physically shaking and it was hard to walk over to the fisherman's huts! Wild weather does of course mean stunning views and I was treated to a 'leaving present' on my early morning drive back to the airport:

A massive thank you to Rich, Dave, Chris and Sandy for a great week, and also to Seth, Maren and all the crew at Lofoten Ski Lodge, as well as the Northern Alpine Guides Team (Sjur, Chris, Mark, Erica, Sami, Tim...) - see you next year...

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