Ski and Sail - Harstad, Norway March 2011
A week of ski touring on the stunning islands of northwest Norway based on the Anna Rogde (c1868) sailing ship. The trip was organised by David Hamilton for the Eagle ski club (UK). Both David and Darren McAulay were guides for the 13 members present.
Harstad sits proudly on Norways largest island Hinnoya and is an important fishing port and commercial centre. This region of northern Norway hosts numerous beautiful islands and mountains (up to 1300m) suitable for ski touring. However, few people have ventured to this ski playground so the trip was partly exploratory for both us and the crew of the Anna Rogde. The ship was used for eating and sleeping but more importantly it provided us with access to islands and slopes that would otherwise be difficult to reach. During the week we met no other skiers (although the weather may have played it’s part in this!).
Our first forays were on the island of Grytoya - 2hrs sail north of Harstad. One day to the extremely windy Skjellesvik skardet pass (560m) and the next (a sunny day) skiing above the tiny village of Dale (only 2 inhabitants in winter!) where we climbed Jamnfjellet (802m). There appear to be many other possible peaks to ski on and various traverse across Grytoya.
Our next destination was Andorja island which is said to be the most mountainous island in Norway. During the 2hr voyage we got to hoist some of the sails but then resorted to motor. Strong winds and heavy snow prevented us landing so the night was spent at the more sheltered Lovdal on the mainland.
Next day we returned to Harstad for extra supplies (we were eating far too much of the great food that the chef prepared each day). Also, being protected from the worst of the winds it gave us the chance to ski up the local ski mountain, Sollifjellet (567m) which gave great views to Grytoya and beyond. Although the lift was not operating until the evening (flood lit skiing!) we skinned up three times to the enjoy the fresh, deep powder. I gave some quick lessons and tips to (hopefully) help improve a few folks technique.
Heading south next day we made for a pier at Raudskier and the mountain Saetertinden (1095m). We skied up through the birch forests - finding some deep snow on the way but turned back at 400m due to avalanche threat and bad visibility. A few turns were enjoyed in the deepest fresh snow yet encountered. The sun arrived just as we headed back to the boat so a few of us were tempted up the small but shapely Harberget (399m) which gave a great descent.
Moving south again we landed on Tjeldoya island this time by the small dingy as there was no safe harbour for Anna Rogde. An interesting day for the scenery (when visible between the heavy snow showers) but again turned back not far above the tree line. A pleasant ski was made back to the coast and then an exciting trip back in choppy swell in the dingy.
Last day and more sunshine!!!! Hooray. We made for Saetertinden (1095m) again but this time via a different route from Elvelund. Again using the dingy to land we had a great climb up to the secondary peak of Haukebotinden (900m) and then the best ski of the week.
That evening saw us return to Harstad and the home mooring for the Anna Rogde.
Thanks again to the Anna Rogde team and the volunteer crew that made the trip possible. Darren plans ot return to this exciting nrew destination in March 2012 - just give him a call if you are interested. Darren