The main reason for this trip was an assignment for Backcountry Magazine and Snow Magazine, along with some smaller stories that should all be out in 13/14. I mostly wanted to check out and bring attention to the Den Norske Turistforning (DNT) hut system that they have in Norway.
DNT was started in the mid-1800’s as part of an effort to promote Norwegian nationalism – and outdoor adventure and fit citizens is something that Norway holds in high regard as a cultural attribute. DNT is still expanding today. Its 509 huts are complemented by another approximately 700 privately run, similar huts, which along with DNT locations are all marked on this map: http://ut.no/kart (scroll out and up to see the northern regions). This trip, I went with Rachael Burks, Brandyn Roark, and Re Wikstrom came to shoot.
Snowy mountains and blue fjords!
I found this drawing in a book in one of the huts, it means "on the roof of Norway."
This was our first couloir on Senja, which is a relatively undiscovered backcountry ski heaven - and from what else I could see, ice climbing and mountaineering as well.
Fish drying, a traditional food in Norway
A view of some peaks surrounding the tiny fishing town of Mefjordvaer - one of plenty of towns on Senja that was accesible only by sea until recent and aggressive road tunnels were put in under the mountains.
It was difficult to leave Senja, and the lovely and entertaining little Senja Lodge, as the island was filled with peaks and couloirs and powder and beautiful things, but we had to keep on track to investigate the DNT huts. So we drove down six hours south to Lofoten, and headed out to Trollfjordhytta from Svolvaer. One good thing about Norway is that each place is just about as spectacular as the last, and this was true for Lofoten.
I wanted to do the six - eight hour overland ski mountaineering route first, but avalanche conditions were fluctuating and so we opted for a safer way - hire a boat and approach the hut from the water. It was a one hour boat ride, and I was in no way sad we had to go the easy route. It was super fun and spectacular line scoping...for the next trip, I guess.
We hired a local fisherman to take us to one of the more remote huts, called Trollfjordhytta, in the Lofoten Islands. Before we hopped in the boat he was still hosing out fish guts and blood, so we didnt get it all over our gear. It was pretty awesome.
See you in four days, Nigel! His boat was the No Problem II. He is from Britain, originally, and was totally hilarious. He was very worried about leaving us out in the middle of nowhere.
Some terrain at Trollfjordhytta
Burks took this iphone photo of me skiing some Trollfjord pow
Our ice bench outside the actual, awesome little hut
Basically - the huts are a ticket to get out and ski the most incredible terrain and days you might ever have on skis, making a ski trip to one of the world's most expensive countries entirely doable. And then you may even meet other skiers or mountaineers in the huts, which is always fun. And in this case, unpredicatable: the DNT runs on a no-reservation, honor payment plan. It's been working for the last 145 years, the DNT spokeswoman told me, why change it? "We trust our visitors," she said.
It was so amazing - Norway does know how it get it done in the outdoors, that is one sure thing.
After that, I went to visit an architectural beauty: Juvet Landscape Hotel, a gleaming, glass-cubed, minimalist hotel in the West Norwegian Fjords. I heard about it from a friend on the Freeride World Tour, who competes with the owner's daughter on the big mountain ski circuit. The glass cabins are built to inspire you to get outside, not stay inside. I've now decided to write some best-sellers and make millions so that I can fly this architect (Jan Olav Jensen of Jensen and Skodvin) over here to build my house.
I finished up with a visit to see some old friends from when I lived in Canada, who are back in Norway and living in Ål, and then a night in Olso and a metal concert, and then it was so fun - I was entirely exhausted on my trip back to the States. And still kind of scheming about a move to Norway....