Traslin's Guide to Ski-Bus-Skineering in Norway
Known as the birthplace of skiing, Norway has probably been the subject of most backcountry skiers' dreams. It has always been on my radar after watching the Norwegians dominate the Olympic events over the years, not to mention the stories of endless daylight and sweet terrain.
There's only one problem Norway creates for dirtbag skiers... it just happens to be one of the most expensive places in the world. Be warned my fellow ski bums. Norway is the 5th richest country in world, as displayed in the sculpture laden streets of all the towns we visited.
- Laguna Burger no fries $30 CAD. California patio with beach bikini view not included.
- Corona beer $25
- Gas per/litre $2.25
- Last minute car rental $199 per day.
Having a lifetime of practice in ski bohemia, I knew we could stretch a budget. But Norway's prices and our lack of preparation made for an uphill battle. Luckily we don't mind 'earning' our turns, and our Norwegian Ski-Bus-Skineering mission began.
We started in Oslo, but the classic fjord skiing was waaay up in the Lyngen Alps in the North. A quick Facebook check with some friends diverted us to the much closer Jotunheimen zone, and we hopped on the first bus out. All good in concept, but when we fell asleep the bus drove right past our desired mountain pass in the night. Good thing camping is allowed anywhere, so we camped on the grass in Ardalstrangen, a quaint little town that reminded me of Terrace, BC.
In Ski-Bus-Skineering if you don't plan efficiently you can lose use huge amounts of time, forcing you to spend down time at bus stations which tend harbour some sketchy characters. Eventually, we did reach snow.
Once on snow and skinning uphill it felt good to be in our natural environment. The variable weather felt like a familiar mellow BC coastal ski tour. Of course in any new area it's always good to respect the weather. I was feeling confident we'd get up to the peak when boom, whiteout, and the classic stay-or-go debate began. Fortunately it did clear after 5 minutes and we tagged Turboka peak.
The weather tease proved to be a good warning sign for later in the trip. The next day was a full storm - raining through the tent - time to move on.
Since we were in Scandinavia with funky weather, the trip wouldn't be complete without a detour to Sweden, then a short stop to the bustling bike city of Copenhagen, Denmark. We stretched out the legs and took those rental bikes for a rip.
With more Ski-Bus-Skineering calling, we jumped back to Oslo and then to the other side of the Jotunheimen park, home of Galdhopiggen, the highest peak in Norway.
24 hours to burn... go. Oslo to Loam by bus, hitchhike with a German plumber to Spiterstulen, set up camp. 7:30pm... climb. Turn around 500 feet from summit thanks to another whiteout.
Bag some birthday turns off Norway's 'almost' high mark, hitchhike ride from Norwegian carpenter, 40 minutes later bus to Lom, and 20 minutes later bus to Oslo. A dialled skibuskineering connection. #journeyisthereward?
Our first trip to Norway was a rewarding tease and we'll have to come back. The Northern meccas of the Lyngen Alps and Svalbard are there waiting for us, as long as we stick enough Kroners in our pockets. Until then, local missions to BC's Waddington Range sound right up our alley. Cheap, big terrain, and guaranteed adventure. Onto the next adventure...