Welcome to the second half of our trip report, as we follow Alan and Tess on their Skinbased tour around the Nordics. If you haven’t already read Part 1, you can find it here.
Day 6: Narvik, Norway ⎮ Feb. 25th, 2022
This morning we loaded up the van and hit the road again. Our destination? The Norwegian city of Narvik, where the next phase in our journey was to begin. Unfortunately for us, the weather had taken a turn for the worse last night, and the forecast showed that that the trend will last at least a couple of days. So, we decided to say goodbye to Abisko and that it was a good morning to head west. We crossed the border between Sweden and Norway, and began our winding descent towards the sea.
The winds outside were vicious, though slightly more bearable than where we had just left. Because of the conditions, we planned a meandering ski tour around a low-lying fell.
We had little realistic hope of, or even desire to, reach the top, but thankfully one doesn’t need a summit to have fun on skis! Extra layers were donned to keep the cold drafts at bay, and XCD skis were chosen to give us additional edge control on the wind-hardened snows.
Winding along the fell’s base, we explored the narrow valleys and small gullies that appeared. We found some really unique half-pipes features, naturally formed by the rocks, snows, and winds.
Tess was totally enamored with these, and we shared many laughs as we both attempted to ski down into and back out of them, not always successfully either!
Once we had our fill, we casually made our way back to the van, feeling as if we had made the most of what the day offered.
Day 7: Narvik, Norway ⎮ Feb. 26th, 2022
If you want the best views of the mountains, you often must go to the valley. With the winds still blowing strong, and a lot of skiing already behind us, we chose a mellow tour for today, one that snaked its way through a tight valley, surrounded on nearly all sides by imposing peaks.
Below us, at the bottom of the shallow canyon, flowed a river. We seemed to spend the day dancing with it, weaving an intricate pattern across, over, and around it. Neither fully frozen or fully open, its sporadic gurgles and splashes made for lovely listening, especially as we crossed over it on the bridges.
Day 8: On the road, Norway ⎮ Feb. 27th, 2022
Today was a day on the road. With time for only one more location before having to head back, Rami knew where we should go. While this place was far away and required a day of driving to get to, I think Tess and I were both ready for a rest day anyways. And, then there were the views.
I have never been more grateful to Rami for driving than I was today. As we rambled over the roads, the scenery out of the window as we traveled was breathtaking. The mountains, the endless fjords, the open sea – it had it all.
Day 9: Storhaugen, Norway ⎮ Feb. 28th, 2022
Catching my breath, I stood there, feeling small as I gazed across the fjord at Lyngen’s natural giants. On my face, I felt the warmth of the sun for the first time this year; a sure sign of spring’s arrival. At these high latitudes, even when the polar night ends and the sun begins its return, it often takes some weeks for the sun to shine directly enough to give that warming feeling.
The snow was perfect. All that stormy weather had finally blown itself out and left us a fresh blanket of powder to ski. We slowly worked our way higher, stopping often to marvel at the views and the sunshine. Then, out of the desert of white, a small hut appeared. It was open to all and proved to be the ideal place for a lunch break. We made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed a small fire in the wood stove while we rested.
All too soon it was time to ski down. The snow was soft and fast. Whoops and laughter filled the still air as we made our way back, one by one, the others always stopping to watch and share in the joy of the one skiing, drawing out the magical moments as long as we could.
Before long, the glow of the sun was traded for the lengthening shadows of the valley. The trees seemed to be set at just the right distance apart and made for skiing. It was so good that we didn’t stop until we reached the ocean. There we sat, watching the sun sink behind the mountains and sea. It was a day to remember.
Day 10: Äkäslompolo, Finland ⎮ March 1st, 2022
Back home! As I sit on the couch with my feet up, feeling a little sore and a lot tired, all I can do is smile as I reflect back on the once-in-a-lifetime adventure we just had. To experience the birthplace of Skinbased, to ski such beautiful terrain, and to do it in the company of good friends; it really just doesn’t get any better. Both the memories made and lessons learned will be carried forward. My biggest takeaway? One doesn’t always need perfect weather nor conditions, just a good plan and good spirit to have fun on Skinbased skis.
Thanks for following the journey! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading along and have been inspired to plan as Skinbased adventure of your own. Whether near or far, there are always places to explore on Skinbased skis!
Text: Alan Goldbetter Photos: Rami Valonen