winter in paradise27 april 2006
Last week I came home from the most amazing ski trip ever. One week of snow, mountains and well beeing. Yes, I haven’t felt that relaxed and calm in a very long time. Too bad my two companions couldn’t feel the same – Mike’s ski trip only lasted one and half day, and Mark had blisters in the sun.
We took the train up to Undersåker and from there the bus over to Vallbo (1 on map) which is my third home (apart from Stockholm and Ornö). There I’ve spent almost all my easters since I was born. This year included. At the ”boarding house” in Vallbo we had breakfast and I had a chat with the new owners.
Before we headed out I took out my camera from my bag to see if it was ok. It wasn’t. At all! For some reason the battery in the camera had died over night! Fuck! The battery wasn’t only one day old, I bought it the day before we left Stockholm. I decided that maybe I could bump into someone that has a spare battery so I decided to bring it along anyway.
Then it was time to ski! I had borrowed my dads skis and they were heavy and soo slow! At first I thought there was something wrong, but then I just had to face it, you don’t get anything for free with these skis. The first half of the day was ok, but when we left the tracks where the snowmobiles run, it became a mess! The snow was wet and started to build up under our skis, which made it impossible to ski. There was no glide! As soon as we got above the tree level it got better.
Arrived to Lunndörrstugan hut (2 on map) around five perhaps and the place was completely empty except for the hut keeper. A few hours later two other people came and decided to stay over. Late before going to bed the full moon came out behind a mountain top and which made me so angry because it was super beauty that i wasn’t able to catch on film.
Next day was windy. We were going to do most of the skiing in the forest so it was ok. First kilometers were going to be downhill which feared Mike and Mark. None of them were any pros in going downwards. The first kilometers was a mess for them. The fell over, over and over. Mark lost his ski during one fall, and the ski continued somewhere downhill so we had to ski around and search for it. Then not much later Mike fell but this time it was not fun. He had twisted his knee and couldn’t stand up!
After some resting Mike decided that the best way was to continue by food so I put his skis on my backpack and we continued. Mike was hoping that he would be able to ski later when the pain had gone down. Unfortunately the pain never left his knee. Since Mike thought it was going to get better later he insisted that we continued towards the next hut and not going back to where we came from. This didn’t turn out that well, Mikes pain just got worse and worse. I decided I could do turns in carrying both mine and Mikes backback by going back and forth along the path while Mike walked. That speeded up his pace a little bit but it was still not good.
Mike is a fighter. He never wants to give up. Not this time either. This day he walked on the snow with a broken knee for over 14 kilometers until we finally found a dude in a snowmobile that could take him to the hut. Oh man no fun. Only good thing about that day was how extremely beautiful it was. Because of the wind the weather kept changing all the time so the mountains disappeared in clouds, came back, changed in colour etc. We stayed the night in Vålåstugan (3 on map).
Next day Mike couldn’t bend the knee at all. It was stuck. So we decided it was time to give up. The hut keeper called the rescue team down in Vålådalen and around noon they came and picked up Mike. Sad! We were discussing wether me and Mark should have joined him back to civilization but I just couldn’t leave this beauty. I’m sorry Mike!
When Mike disappeared in the carriage of the snowmobile me and Mark continued our journey west. This day it was windy and snowing. All the mountains was hiding behind the clouds. The snow was wet which made it complicated to ski again. Almost half way to Gåsen we had lunch in a small ”resting cabin”. When lunch was over and we got outside, the weather had changed completely. Gone was the wind and all the clouds. The temperatured had dropped 6 degrees too which made the snow conditions perfect! Oh my it was so amazing. Sun!!
Arrived to to an almost full Gåsen hut (4 on map) at six. Gåsen is my favourite hut in the Swedish mountains, just because it’s situated so high up (1100m). From Gåsen you we could perfectly see Helags and Sylarna peaks. Before dinner I skied up a kilometer on a mountain so I could try to do some Telemark turns down. It was hard but fun!
Next day we headed to Helags (5 on map). Mark started getting problems with blisters so he could only ski very slow, but eventually we arrived to Helags. I’ve heard from some hut keeper that they might have some camera batteries at Helags so i was very excited when I got in to the main building. They had batteries! But none of them fitted my camera! Fuck! Shit! Well, they sold disposable cameras so I decided to buy one – I just had to do some documentation.
While Mark stayed in reading I headed up to the Helags glacier. I was super windy up there:
Then some telemarking (not telemarketing) down to Helags again and time for sauna! Yes there was a sauna there. And running water! Shower! Mixed sauna, girls, boys, dudes, dudettes. After sauna, time for Pancakes! I made soy pancakes and Mark manage to get some jam from the ”restaurant”.
Later that night it was time for me to decide what I want to study this fall. Yes, I had to send the application letter this day (I still don’t know if it got to the school in time). Mark was going to apply for studying Russian so I did the same!
Next day, full throttle to Fältjägarn (6 on map)!
It was by Fältjägarn I took the three weather photos (se beginning of post). Woke up 6 AM next day to see this outside my window:
This day we had a long way to go. Over twice as long as we have gone each day until this day. Marks feet were better – we had hope! We almost flew the first 15km down to Ramundberget, where we cheated a little and took two ski lifts up to the top of a mountain and continued from there. After another 20km we finally got to our hostel at Skavruet (7 on map). Well, I did. Mark missed it and went all the way down to the main road down the hill and got lost. Almost an hour later he arrived. Oh my.
Only one day left. A short ski down to Funäsdalen where a bus was going to take us home to Stockgholm again. Almost all of the 7km was downhill. So good!
Stopped at Tönnebro on our way home and had a veggie burger with fries. Junk food, I missed you!