With spring warming up the French Alps, lifts closing daily, April can be a month where skiing becomes a second thought. Planning summer trips and getting the shorts out are top of the list. For the second year, we wanted to buck that trend and eek out a little extra from the Northern Hemisphere's winter. We went Far North...
The Lyngen Alps, located about an hour from Tromso, 69 degrees north, is a haven for ski touring and now with Norwegian Airlines it is also easy to get to.
Tromso Airport is an hour's drive and a 20 minute ferry journey from our base on the Lyngen Pennisula, Svensby. It is a bumpy road that is in remarkably good nick considering the battering that it receives from the arctic winters. Once on the ferry to the final destination, the beauty of the alpine peaks rising from the cold seas dawns on you.
Being our second year in Lyngen, we knew where to head on the first day, when the clouds came in. It was a small hut above the main "town" in the area. Easy navigation, through tracks in the forest, meant that visibility was not a problem and still, when we reached the ridge, the views down to the dark, moody sea where breathtaking. Everyone was in good spirits for the week ahead.
Back at our base in Svensby, we had two lodges with all the mod cons. There are 5 in total and we had access to the sauna, jacuzzi and BBQ hut. We remembered that the only blue house in the hamlet was that of the local fisherman, so we made a visit to acquire cod. Fresh and only hours out of the water, it was perfect for the BBQ. It was big enough to fed the 7 of us for 2 nights.
It took us 3 days to build up the courage for an arctic swim. Ideas of doing a couple of hundred metres turned into a dive in and a run out. But it was worth it and a reheat in the sauna with a beer was our reward. We all would recommend it but next year we may just be the towel holders!
For such a wild place, it is surprisingly accessible from the UK. This meant that 3 of our group with prior commitments could make it out for a long weekend. This still meant that they could have 3 full days of ski touring and appreciate the beauty of the area. Pat, who came for the second weekend, really lucked out and seemed to bring the sunshine with him.
As the week went on, the clouds broke and the sun shone. This meant that more routes became accessible. There are so many different variations on this huge peninsula that it would take a lifetime to do them all. Each time we walked up, we could see another exciting option. We will certainly be spending a lot of future Springs here. Everybody was blown away by the isolation, wilderness and beauty of the place. You are just as likely to see a reindeer than a fellow ski tourer and we were ticking off our wildlife check list, reindeer, arctic fox, eagle...
We have bigger plans for next year, having blocked off all five lodges. We look to fill them with people who will enjoy experiencing these special peaks and making new friends. Already having nearly sold out for the first long weekend.
Thank you to Anne, Emma, Mel, Alex, Nick, Pat and Rob for a fantastic experience.