2 years ago, whilst sat round the dining room table on Kvaløya, the question “where next?” was asked. The group all agreed that the Lofoten Islands were on their wish list. We did our best to tame their enthusiasm, suggesting that the weather and snow conditions were not very reliable. Nobody seemed phased. A seed had been planted and a plan evolved from there.
Fast-forward 2 years, and the same group of skiers came together, but this time on a different Norwegian island. This time it was on Austvågøya, the most easterly of the Lofoten Islands. We were fully prepared for whatever Lofoten was to offer us, just as advised in the ski touring guidebook for the area “Pick your season, hope for the best – and be happy with what you get.”
The islands were not to disappoint. Over the first evening the group shared tails of their travels stories to get to Lofoten. Some had arrived on the Hurtigruten, others had the spectacular flight into Svolvær airport via Tromso, or Bodo. Others enjoyed the beautiful bus ride from Narvik. A journey to Lofoten is certainly one that should be savoured, not rushed.
We enjoyed 4 days of glorious weather on the classic ski summits of Varden (700m), Kleppstadheia (534m), Hellostinden (573m) and Pilan (700m). We relished in the summit to sea principle, being able to ski fine spring snow all the way down to near the seashore. There were plenty of bonus skins to be had, or "mini-golf" as it's known on Lofoten; doing short skins to different points on the same mountain to get the best snow and terrain for skiing.
After 8 days without any precipitation, the weather had to change. Ryten (543m) was an ideal objective for a misty day, giving us the opportunity to explore the most westerly island of Moskenesøya.
Our final day was better used as a tourist day, given the heavy rain and avalanche risk of 4 (Incidentally, a neighbouring area was given avalanche risk 5 - the first time that this had every been issued in Norway). We visited the Viking Museum and explored around the fish drying racks of Henningsvær.
Thank you to all of the guests for making this such a enjoyable trip, and to Nico for the inspiration. Thanks Rupert for your fine cooking throughout the week, and to George Reid, who joined us on the guiding team, who's observation skills were appreciated by all, "highly principled, walking wikigoogle of most things observable".