A story and trip report of the Slovakian snowboarder and splitboarder Marek Gazda and his friends about their journey to Norway in May 2015. Take a seat and enjoy the movie too.
When i was in Norway for the first time the year before, i fell in love with their nature and terrain. I knew i have to come back again.
This trip then happened from end of April over the first weeks of May 2015, as Marek also wanted to compete in the Røldal Freeride Challenge besides splitboarding. He asked some friends and filmers to come with him to try to make a short documentary. Then he booked the flights and a camper for Tromso in the north of Norway. A week before they left Slovakia, one of their friends told them that he couldn’t go and the worst was, it was their camera man who had some injury on skies. So they had to deal with it and said "Let’s go and we try to film what we can and then we will see.".
And they did it and now you can watch their little movie about friendship and passion for mountains and enjoy the beauties of Norway.
But first we'll start with Mareks trip report, station by station to give you an idea of the many possible destinations and the patience and/or flexibility needed to find the right one at the right moment.
23.4.2015: Me and my friends travel from Bratislava (Slovakia capital city), via Vienna to Oslo. We got some little problems with the avalanche airbags at the airport as usual. We landed in Oslo about lunch and we picked up our car from the rental company. After some city sightseeing and food we travel on to Roldal.
Roldal is a ski resort 316km West from Oslo. The journey takes us more than 7 hours, because of really nice nature all the way and there are no highways. We arrive later the evening in Roldal and just went straight for the riders meeting of Røldal Freeride Challenge. After the meeting, we check in at the same cottage next to the lift as last year. As this report is not about the Freeride competition I just say in few words that we have to deal with changing weather and snow conditions. Lots of postpones of the competition and finally the comp was in really hard rain and super wet snow. Only I want to say that some riders could really fight with that and show some nice runs, but it really wasn’t my case. The only satisfaction for us was that day after competition and the party (I was sleeping), it start to snow from hard rain and in the morning we got 30cm of fresh snow with some sun windows true the fog.
Then we drive back to Oslo to catch our plane to the north of Norway.
On 26.4.2015 we landed in Tromso and took a taxi to the camper Rental Company to find out our home for the next 12 days. Caravan.no is a really big company and I can just advise. We set up our camper and go for bigger shopping. Then we try to find a place to park and sleep. It was insane that the sun was still shining in the middle of the night.
Next day we choose some nice run from the ski touring book for north Norway. It was on Kvaloya Island, which is located north from Tromso. We decided to change the mountain because of fog, I really don’t know the name of the mountain where we start to hike. The hike was in foggy condition and the snow was little icy. When we get to the top we had a really nice view to the open ocean and to the Tromso mainland with fjords on the other side. We were waiting for best visibility to make our run down. I could just say, nice first day warm up hike and ride. Afterwards we make some barbeque near the fjord and enjoy the smell of ocean.
Next day we moved to Tromso mainland direction Tamok. We choose a nice hike to a mountain named Blattinden. On this mountain would have been built a ski resort if Norway would have won the fight for the Olympic Games. It was nice weather, no clouds and we start to hike at 11:30. Nice in this time in north is that you have sun till midnight so you don’t need to be in a hurry. The snow looked better on the sunny side so we decide to choose a line to the east side to hit some steeper parts. I was really ill before hiking up and after I was happy that I could get down. But the run was amazing not because it was a line of our lives but you could see the Baldfjord below your run. Snow was slushy spring conditions. We enjoyed all the way down also with some nice tree run in the bottom of the line. On the top we meet three people who started to hike 2 hours before us. We meet them again on the place where we parked. After we started to speak with them, they were a group of people who don’t know each other. They just managed the day before through some Tromso ski hiking website to share a car and hike together. That's really nice. One guy from New Zealand, one from Netherlands and one from Czech Republic called Tom. Our country Slovakia was before Czechoslovakia so we understand each other. Tom is a Czech skier who moved to Tromso, mostly just to ski. So we took his mobile number to meet him later for a beer in some surfer’s beach back on Kvaloya Island. We came there 10 at night and had dinner and some beers together with our new friend Tom. Next day’s Tom stays with us to the end of our trip. The beach was situated in Kvaloya Island north-west shore so it was just open ocean straight to Arctic Circle. Really nice view and one of the best sun sets I have ever seen.
Next morning we decided to make another nice hike and ride tour on Kvaloya Island. The mountain is called Burren. Of course you start hiking straight from sea level as usual in northern Norway. We hike a daily average of 1400 height meters to the top on a regular day. Nice views again and again, now to the open ocean and Ersfjord. We found some slushy spring snow and some nice steeper parts. Nice day with fantastic weather. After that we went to Ersfjord end near Ersfjord-botn for fishing and barbeque. We catch some smaller fish and grilled them.
Then we decided to move 600km south because of weather change in the north. There was a bad weather storm with lots of clouds and little new snow coming. The journey to Lofoten islands was really long but we had a camper so we can change and sleep/drive. It takes us 9 hours of drive, with some adventure stops and lots of sightseeing.
Next morning we wake up on the start of the Lofoten islands. The weather was also very cloudy so we decided to just make a camper sightseeing trip to the end of Lofoten islands and back. Lofoten islands are also incredible. Smaller mountains than North, but much steeper. It was just a shame that there was less snow in the bottom. We try to hike and ride Henningsvaer couloir. The most famous Lofoten couloir, but there was no snow in 30 percent of the couloir and it was really icy, so we decided to make a ride free day. We have been to the end of Lofoten islands and also in world’s shortest named city A. In the evening we moved back to the cross roads of way back north, Lofoten islands and Narvik. We stay to sleep there and to decide what to do next day.
Next day we wake up on a quite nice sunny day on the coast. We read on the internet that the last day Narvik ski resort had some snowfall. So the plan was to get to the ski resort fast to ride the pow. We catch the first gondola at 10:15 which was little late. But we had still some nice powder in the resort, with sun and some clouds. In the afternoon we start to hike from the resort to the Tredjetoppen mountain top. We want to hit some steep and famous lines back to Narvik. Unfortunately we haven’t seen the lines from the bottom so it was blind riding and we get some more clouds what makes it flat light. But we also enjoyed what we get and find some nice runs. This ski resort is awesome. Really a lot of nice runs with less hike. And the view, again amazing. When we finish our run we drink a few beers on the parking area and enjoyed the nice city. Narvik has lots of universities so lots of young people from all over the world. Then we head up north again, because the bad weather should change back to sunny days. We drive again quite whole night.
Next day we have to make also just barbeque and rest day because the weather was changing every 20 minutes. We took the ferry to Lyngen Alps and we spent the whole day just relaxing in camper. In the evening we come to see some friends the best Slovakian steep skier Miro Peto and his group. We drink a few more beers and talk about our passion.
Next day we choose some nice steep mountain named Sofiatinden in the Lyngen Alps. We start to hike at 9:00 in the morning. The snow starts from 300m above sea level. It was a nice sunny day with no clouds. The hike took us 4 hours to the saddle back of the mountain. Then we have to put on our ice crampons because we need to hike 700m of a steep 40 plus wall. The hike was hard because of slushy powder and strong wind which started to blow. When we came to the top some bad ass cloud took us the sun and in 10 minutes with that strong wind the snow was just ice. We were on top of the mountain with a 40 plus degree wall in ice conditions. Of course flat light was with us too. What to do? Big mountains, weather, so you have to deal with it. We split into two groups. One group takes the easier way and the second will try to assent also the plan for the steeper part with more than 50 degrees wall. I was in the group for the harder wall. It really wasn’t the best pleasure run, but I enjoyed what I can get for my 7 hours hike. I excused the bad vision, steep ice and adrenalin run with my ice axe in the hand. In the middle part it was getting better so we can film some turns. Also the last part was in slushy snow so it was nice to go true. We finished our day on beach with fire and relaxing.
Next day was again bad weather so we used it to get back to Tromso area where we make our last hike.
This day we choose some nice steep lines but the weather forecast was different so we have to change and travel as close to the ocean to get some sun and light. We agree to hike Lille Blamannen near Kaltfjord. Easy, not so steep Mountain with some nice spines. We start to hike 10:30 so we try to be fast, because the foggy weather from mainland should hit also the islands in the afternoon. We get to the top really fast and we don’t make any long breaks. We just put down our skins and get ready for runs down. But the weather in Norway is changing really fast so the flat light hit us. But nonetheless it was a nice long easy run all the way from the top down to our camper. It was our last riding day so we enjoyed it. In the evening we have to bring back the camper for check so we went to bed really late. At 2:00 in night it was still light.
Next morning we wake up after 2 hours sleeping at 4:00 in the morning and the sun was rising. Our Czech friend Tom gives us a lift to Airport and we have to say Good Bye to Norwegian mountains.
Mareks Norway Travel Tips
To get there: Cheap flights (norwegian.no) from Oslo to Tromso.
Ski Touring book: Troms - Ski touring in Troms - 82 arctic summits! - Paperback
Rent a camper Tromso: motorhomerentalnorway.com
Weather forecast: yr.no
Avalanche report: varsom.no/en
Food and cost saving tips:
Best you can buy is 50% off meat in special part of the market, in meat rack, cheapest meat is ground meat and fishes are delicious (same price like Europe but different taste), alcohol is extremely expensive take your own from duty free, you can also dumpster dive (in Norway all markets have to throw away food to garbage one day before expiring) it is usually a big trash can behind market and you really can find Beef steaks and Italian Prosciutto there sometimes.
Accommodation in Roldal: haradalen.no
Thank you Marek for sharing your experiences with our audience, wel'll be happy if you keep us up to date with your upcoming trips. Trip reports are a great source of information and inspiration and so we try to form a splitboardes travel guide little by little.
Norwegian north mountains are really nice place to go splitboarding. The views are gorgeous. You have to really earn your turn, but then you can enjoy it much more. For me and I can say also for people who have been with me, we try to come here every season.