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Sailing & Ski Touring in Norway – Catrien

Swimming in icy water after a day of ski touring. Fresh fish for dinner, straight from the fjord. The sailing & touring ski trip to Sunnmøre, Norway really had everything I like in one program. The combination of (tour) skiing in an incredibly beautiful Norwegian mountain landscape with views over the fjords and sailing on a small yacht through the fjord in search of the mountain of tomorrow, was unique and challenging.

The preparation
At the end of April 2018 I went on a trip to Norway with Epique. I knew that if I really want to enjoy this journey, I have to not only get my equipment in order but also prepare myself physically. So, start on time with more and more intensive sports! Together with Sita, my trainer, I made a schedule. The training plan that Epique provides for this is an excellent set-up. But with insight from Sita I make it more tailor-made and I agree which (strength) training sessions I do individually and which group lessons on the schedule I choose. What I especially notice in this preparation period is that it is especially nice to prepare in this way because it makes the journey much more than just that one week. And was I fit? That, of course, only became apparent on the mountain.

The journey
We fly from Schiphol to Ålesund. Once there we are picked up by two guys from the Sailing Taxi. They take us to the boat with two rental cars. How nice to go out with such a nice crew sporty and fun people! The ship of 15 meters is not very large but fully equipped. And yes, what can I say… it is big enough to sleep 9 people. As the only woman on board I get the widest bed in the tip. That is a luxury, even compared to a bed in a mountain hut. All items have fixed places on the boat. It’s cramped and no one really has privacy, so you quickly adapt.

The tours
And then… the days fly by! In the morning breakfast together in the galley. We sit around the table like herrings in a barrel. Cozy and warm; the living room of the boat is full of socks, gloves, skins, inner shoes hanging to dry. After a good breakfast we disembark with backpacks, skis and luxury packed lunches or we are taken to shore by dinghy. Michiel has mapped out a beautiful and challenging tour every day. The nice thing about this trip is that you live so close to each other, so you get everything with you. So also the preparation of the trips. Michiel does this with the help of maps and route topos, but also by addressing Norwegian ski tourers along the way, sailing with the dinghy along potential mountains or with the guys from the Sailing Taxi to a place to drive and view the upcoming trips. The tours are beautiful and the views phenomenal. Where can you see the sea from the snowy mountain? The level of the tours was challenging, but luckily I built up some strength and fitness. I actually find it particularly technically challenging. And not descending, especially the ascent, climbing and ‘Spitzkehre’ I find difficult. I have little experience with that yet.

The steeper the mountain, the longer it takes me to cross the ‘Spitzkehre’. That breaks me up and brings me quite a lot of frustration. Still it works, even though I have to make several attempts before I get through the bend. What helps to get around the bend is that I don’t have a choice. I have to go through that bend, I just can’t go back. In those moments, my physical preparation helps me a lot – and not just because I’ve built up muscle strength. I discover that I am prepared on a mental level. Because there were also times at the gym when I didn’t want to anymore, was in pain, or couldn’t anymore. And then I had to, went and wanted to continue!

What will always stay with me
Now that I look back on this journey six months later, two important things remain with me. To be fair, the frustration with the Spitzkehre is one element of that. But I also feel very proud and happy that I made this very beautiful journey. It is precisely this combination that makes it a journey that will never be forgotten. And I can feel that when I look at the pictures again!


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