Sailing and touring in Norway – Rik
After the necessary touring in the Alps, it was finally time, Norway! Far from all lifts and surrounded by fjords. This one has been high on the list for a long time.
Preparation is half the battle
A few weeks before departure, the ‘meet & greet’ was at the office at Epique. Great to meet your travel companions before departure if you come along as a ‘loner’. Michiel (the guide) immediately created a good mood (beer?), told us all the ins and outs of the trip and came up with good tips for the material to bring.
At the end of April, six fanatical tour skiers and Michiel gathered at Schiphol. With a direct flight we land at Alesund airport. In 1.5 hours, without hours on the autobahn, at a top destination. At the airport we were picked up by the skippers of the ‘Sailing Taxi’. Skippers? Yes! Ski touring and sailing! The Whisper was waiting in the harbor.
The ‘Sailing Taxi’
Guus, Luuk, Tom and Olivier, four Dutch boys who sail around the world in their ‘Sailing Taxi’. Besides that they take you on their adventure, are very cozy and cook well for you, they also look for plastic from the sea. To turn this into useful objects, such as skis.
With 7 men, plus crew and a lot of gear means light chaos when you get on board. After an hour of struggling with stuff, it was settled and everyone had a place on board. No chocolate on your bed, but a ‘sailing hat’ and earplugs (did someone report that Marc snores terribly?). After the crew briefing on what to do and what not to do on board, it was finally time to set sail. Off to the Hjørundfjorden!
The first night on board you will feel right at home. With the whole club around the big table, a good meal, drinks and great stories. Sink on the deck in the evening or ask your nest to be the first to the top. In the morning, six tense heads at breakfast who are curious about what Michiel has in store. Coming back to the ship at the end of the afternoon was a surprise every day. We had indicated that a small snack is nice after a day of touring, we knew that. By default there was a crate of moisture in the fjord to cool and there was something to eat, usually freshly pulled from the fjord. Freshen up in the fjord, loose the ropes and on to the next spot.
The sailboat completed the Norway experience. A large group on a small boat immediately creates a great mood. The guys from the Sailing Taxi are fanatic sailors, so the sails went up immediately when the wind was missing. Tour skiing and sailing to the next spot is an experience in itself!
The first day, a nice tour to ‘warm up’. After four hours of walking we arrived at ‘the finger’ (a rock that resembles a finger). A short descent, followed by a short climb and a long descent back to the valley. Were we warmed up? Yes, and tired…
After the first day it just got better and better. Higher peaks, better powder and longer firn descents. Even though it was already the end of April, Michiel managed to find great routes and descents every day. The last meters back to the boat was slushy snow, what do you want in April. But at the top it was fun, wonderful powder snow that turns into the best firn I’ve ever skied. You don’t have to go to Norway for hip-deep powder snow, but that was clear in advance. Well for the environment! I was amazed at how high and steep it can be in Norway. Spitzkehren up for hours, followed by a challenging descent. Michiel had a good pace during the climbs, but left enough breaks in between to enjoy the impressive view.
A challenging experience, with a surprisingly pleasant group in beautiful Norway. A week in which I was never bored and made new friends. This tastes like more!
Michiel and the men of the ‘Sailing Taxi’, thank you!