We knew the weather and snowpack might be a touch on the wintry side during the first part of our month-long adventure in northern Norway, so when heavy snow and near-hurricane force winds (read blizzard!) greeted us upon arrival to a mountainous peninsula way out on the coast (along Kaldfjord, north and west of Tromso), we should not have been surprised. Fortunately, we were prepared for this, and even more fortunately, we found a beautiful and rather sheltered place to camp below a cluster of peaks that offered 1000′ of moderately pitched birch glade skiing right above the fjord. After 3-6″ fell during the first night of the blizzard, we found our way into some of the nicest powder skiing of the season…and 2 days later, after 12″ + had fallen, we were in skiers’ heaven.
A highlight of this camp, our first since spoiling ourselves in Tromso – thanks especially to our new friend Per and his daughters and neighbors (lasagna, wild blueberry pie, oh my!), was my late day pedal back to the Tromso airport, just as the blizzard was winding up, to rendezvous with our friend Tom Hite, who was fresh off a plane from Boston – excited and ready to go. Nearly soaked to the bone after pedaling through the warmer, wetter snow around Tromso, I spent an hour drying off in the airport while helping Tom rig up his gear and bike for the 2 hour pedal back to our camp in powder paradise. Tom couldn’t have been more fired up about his month of ski adventuring ahead, and to top things off, the wet snow turned to a nice dry snow as we exited the airport and headed for the coast.
After enjoying the relative safety and convenience of well-designed bike paths for 20km out of Tromso, we faced only 10km of quiet snow covered roads before reaching camp. We were experiencing true white out conditions at that point, but with camp established and with Forrest and Emily having prepared a hot meal for our arrival, life was good. We double checked the staking of our tents, crawled into our tents, and hunkered down as the snow and wind promised us another fine day of skiing in the birches to follow.
Since our camp along Kaldfjord, we have caught the “coastal steamer” to the fascinating island community of Skjervoy, farther north along the coast, where we have set up our second camp of the trip beneath a prominent peak in the region – which we were lucky enough to ski under bluebird skies just yesterday.
With some luck, we’lll have more access to internet soon, and more to report.