From Oslo to Bergen
A skitouring story by Austin Ross
The beauty of Norway
Riders: Stian Hagen, Nadine Wallner and Austin Ross
Photos: Anton Brey
"Once again I packed my bags and bid farewell to my home mountains in Canada to reunite with my fellow BMT team mates, Nadine Wallner and Stian Hagen. I was thrilled to be returning to Stian’s home country of Norway which had become one of my most memorable destinations in the world after our previous trip to the Lofoten Islands. This time around we had a whole new scenario; we would board a train in the nation’s capital of Oslo and head west on the rails through the mountains and over the snowy plateau to finish our journey in the historic coastal town of Bergen. All aboard!
As we have learned in previous trips, having local knowledge is a huge benefit when venturing into new territory
As we have learned in previous trips, having local knowledge is a huge benefit when venturing into new territory and we were very fortunate that Stian had made connections with an old friend who operated a beautifully aged hotel in Vatnahalsen, (the first stop after Myrdal on the legendary Flam Railway down to Flam). After several hours of riding the tracks from Oslo West through the stunning countryside we arrived at our destination 820 metres above sea level. The Vatnahalsen Hotel is very unique in that it can only be accessed by foot, train or bicycle; there are no roads in or out. The character of the classic buildings in the area and it's remoteness made me feel like I had travelled back in time.
Unfortunately we had missed the last storm by a couple of days and the temps had dropped below zero and frozen what was left of the soft snow. However, on day one we woke to beautiful sunshine and were able to get acquainted with area while touring up the valley from the hotel. With a variety of ramps, chutes, faces and bowls there was a ton of fun terrain to explore and breathtaking vistas in every direction. Our apres ski program consisted of a healthy dose of waffles and brown cheese which was only a warmup to the amazing spread of food that we would refuel on each evening.
Despite never getting a reset in the snow department our crew was able to stay positive and make the most out of our time in such an amazing setting. Ski touring is more than a means to an end, it’s a way to enjoy nature, get exercise and spend quality time with the people you’re with. We hiked, we skinned and we laughed while watching the sun set from the summit over the hotel. Now that’s what it’s all about!
Once again I was captivated by Norway’s beauty and the experience of travelling by train is a fantastic way to sit back, relax and take it all in. We ended our trip in Bergen where we took a tour of the old village, visited the fish market and watched crews working on their massive sail boats in the bay. Norway remains high on the list of favourite places I’ve visited and I look forward to returning for more adventures (and waffles) in the future!"
Thanks to visitnorway.com