Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Attack of the Snow Monster!

After Christmas was over and we had fed oursleves on lots of chocolates and other delicious goodies Chris and I decided it was time to venture into the mountains to find some real snow! We hired a wee bubble blue car and set out into heavy snowfall. The land was quickly turning from white to whiter, if that is possible?

We set out first to meet with Aaron and Sara and their friends in a place called Grövelsjön just over the Norwegian border in Sweden. We drove through the dark on the snowy roads to arrive at their place just in time before the New Year's Eve dinner. We had created an apple pie to accompany Aaron's pavlova...we were going for a Kiwi themed desert as it turned out.

We had a wonderful feast then most of the 16 guests headed out onto the road to join in a large group of candle holding people heading towards the little upper carpark to see in the New Year. It was snowing heavily adding to the atmosphere. After a countdown there was a good wee fireworks display and we all cheered and hugged. It was a very pleasant snowy way to see in the New Year.In the morning it was time to explore the trails, so Chris, Sara and I took off in the afternoon for a round trip to the Grövelsjön Lake.

The groomed trails were nice and flat - rather a contrast t the steep tracks around Trondheim. When we got back to the flat it was time for the 'girls only' sauna - including some delicious Swedish Gluewein...mmm!

Aaron's friends Susan and Tim from NZ were also staying in our cabin so we decided the next day to do a trip with them up onto the tops to visit a little day hut. We agreed our skiing experience might be more comparable with theirs over the swooshing skiing Swedes.

The following morning we plugged up the hill into extremly strong winds and gratefully reached the chilly shelter at midday. After huddling in there for a while we decided to head back down before we all froze!

Once we got back I was sad to discover the tummy bug that little Karin had had decided to pass itself on to me, so while I lay down feeling sick for the rest of the day Chris headed out for another 15km loop on the classic skis "Just to get the hang of them".

The following morning we tidied the cabin and parted ways with Aaron, Sara and the others. It was snowing lightly as we drove back into Norway towards Røro, then up to the Sylan area where we planned to begin our ski tour trip.

We parked in the dark and peered our the frosty car windows at the ominously snowy landscape and trailhead. This was a bit much snow! We set out on the 2km trip to the Græslihytta
on our skis, but the gradient was too steep and we kept sliding backwards. So we took the skis off and began the painfully slow 'swim' up to the hut.

Furtunatly a very cozy hut greeted us when we finally arrived, we got the fire going and soon had some yummy tea ready. Plans for the trip were soon revised and we decided on a day trip from the Græslihytta for the following day.

The fog was still low when it grew light. We skied out into the white white forest and then above the bush line to witness more lovely fog. Sking down through deep powder and then flayling like a whale once you 'went down' was definitly the highlight. Chris got immense satisfaction creating trails round and round the hut.

We had 2 days left and once again the ambitious bug set in. We skied down from the hut at first light, parked the car further down the valley and set out to the Ramsjohytte. The 'road' we thought we would drive out was more of a snow mobile trail - which did provide excellent skiing. We soon decided to abandon our planned route along the tops and stuck to the easier road.

After 3 hours we reached the turn off for the track up to the Ramsjohytte. It was getting dark and the wind was picking up. As we continued up the valley following the big pole markers the blizzard really set in. We were being blasted by highspeed snow and could barely see from one marker pole to the next. Rather terrified we decided the best plan was to push on - we knew we were nearly there.

Finally in the gloom the dark form of the hut appeared. By now it was hard to stand up in the gail, so we grovelled over to the hut, dug out the snowed in door and leapt inside with a huge sigh of relief.

We found the small hut (there normally seem to be 2 huts, a very small 2 person one as well as the big main hut) and got the fire cranking as the hut rattled and shook in the storm. Soon the heat was pumping from the stove, we had to strip all our clothes and keep opening the door to let in the cool air! It was a wonderful sauna.

This is not actually the hut we stayed in, we couldn't get any pictures of that in the storm; this is one we saw along the way. Demonstrative of snow quantity nonetheless!

The blizzard continued in the morning but we decided it was time to retreat from the pretty lakeside hut (which we hadn't even seen!). We layered on all our clothes and sunglasses to prevent our eyes getting stung by the blasting snow. Out the door and we whizzed back down the hillside blown by the wind. Several crashes followed - but at least we were getting down and out of the storm.

We reached our road to find 1 metre of fresh snow fall covering our tracks from the day before, so continued our 'ski wade' back down the valley to arrive at the car just as it got dark. The snow was falling heavily on the drive home and we were delighted to arrive back to an extremly snowy Trondheim and our own cozy little flat.

Our lovely pink apartment block looking its best...seriously!!