SLOGAN, NORWAY. 1564M.

April 2015

Slogan was a peak that I summited as part of a week-long ski tour trip around Hjørundfjorden in Norway.  The journey took us through spectacular Norwegian nature with extraordinary views of both sea and fjord.  Slogan was the high point, in every sense.

To ski tour here was a dream I had had for a while.  I’d seen a short film of people skiing on untouched powder from sharp summits down to the fjords.  Then climbing aboard a waiting boat.  When I was asked by Fjord Norway to join a press trip I absolutely jumped at the opportunity.

Ski Touring Slogan

We awoke to blue skies and sunshine.  It would be a long skin though the valley behind the mountain at a gentle incline, so we left early.  After a few days together, our team were all getting to know each other and finding a pace.  The valley was stunning and with the silhouette of Slogan in the distance I couldn’t help but smile as I skinned along.  On mountain days, when I burn thousands of calories, food is a real treat and becomes a very significant and pleasurable part of the day.  We enjoyed our smoked salmon sandwiches, always on the menu in Norway, and discussed the route we would take up Slogan.  Aware that I might be a little nervous as this was the steepest and most exposed summit we would attempt the guys were brilliant and made sure I was ok.  I was ok.  In fact I was better than that.  I was loving it!   I had found my skin legs and my ski legs.

We were soon in single file, quietly and rhythmically sliding one ski in front of the other making our way towards the summit.  The recent snow fall meant there was powder to look forward to but for now I was settling into the flow and frequently looking all around.  Snow covered mountains are familiar to me but these peaks were different to others.  They are steeper, sharper and the fjords in the near distance meant the setting was like no other.

The summit

After a few hours we reached the summit.  Asgeir, one of the guys in the group, had been referring to this day as the prize and it was obvious why!  This was the view of the trip.  The steep exposed summit put us so close to the Fjords below and the dramatic partially clouded sky gave everything even more atmosphere.  Life couldn’t get any better, but then it did – one of our team had carried a huge bar of chocolate to share at the top.

We stayed high for a while.  Sitting down enjoying the views and the chocolate.

The ski down was a line that will stay with me forever.  Deep, soft powder.  There were so few of us in this wide-open space; flying down, carving turns, leaving sprays of snow as we went, laughing and loving it!

I was exhausted at the end of the run, my legs were done for the day, but we still had a fair way to descend, on foot, through trees, streams and rocks!  I was transported back to Kilimanjaro.  How could Norway feel like a mountain in Africa?

I climbed Kili a couple of years ago and for the first part of the mountain the hiking is exclusively amongst the trees.  It took me right back there!

It had been an incredible day.

I think it stands alone as a most unique ski tour I’ve ever done.  It threw me out of my comfort zone, surprised me and took my breath away – both from physical demand and with it’s mind blowing scenery.

More Info

How to get there: Norwegian Air flies directly from London Gatwick to Ålesund two times a week all year around.  On arrival in Ålesund either arrange for rental car, or arrange with the operator for pick up.

When to go: The best time to go Ski and Sailing in the fjord region is late winter/early spring – April is ideal.

Where to stay:
Villa Norangdal –www.norangdal.com
Sagafjord Hotel – www.sagafjordhotel.no
Christian Gard at Trandal – www.christian-gaard.no

What to take: Once you have arranged your tour you will receive an extensive packing list which will include essential kit such as; skies, skins, ski crampons, rucksack, ski-tour jacket, ski-tour trousers, sunglasses, sun cream, blister plasters and travel insurance.  It’s always worth thinking about luxury items you might want too!  Chocolate, flips flops for the evenings, comfy clothes.

Experience needed: These kinds of tour do require a competent level of skiing with a good level of fitness.  It is worth noting though that the mountain guides can adapt the ski activities for all types of guest depending on their skills, experience and goals for the trip.

Tour operator: Hvitserk www.hvitserk.no Adventure tour operator.

Tour name: “Ski touring Around Hjørundfjorden’

Around Hjørundfjorden is a week-long ski tour that is, without a doubt, comparable to the Alps’ famous Haute Route between Chamonix and Zermatt. The journey is through spectacular nature with extraordinary views of both sea and fjord.  Along the way there is unique and charming accommodation.

Tour led by: Halvor Hagen, one of Norway’s most experienced mountain guides.

Other Links:www.visitnorway.co.uk , www.fjordnorway.com,

Images