And then came the snow!
Anne took the initiative for spending an extended weekend at Bjorli. The place has (almost) snow guarantee during winter, and Anne wanted to ski on proper snow. On the internet, she found an apartment in Vetlegrenda and arranged everything. I was too busy at work to think about the weekend and just gave thumbs up. “Cool. Aight…”
I’ve always thought of Bjorli as a not-so-exciting place with not-so-exciting mountains, but I was 5 tops short of reaching my annual goal of 100 new mountain tops, and as Bjorli has 3 tops directly above the village – which I hadn’t been to – I saw the opportunity to get one, two or three steps closer to my goal.
The cabin owners of course, thinks Bjorli is a great place, with a good infrastructure, excellent slalom slopes and most importantly – snow! And after having spent the (extended) weekend there, I can well understand why people enjoy themselves at Bjorli.
Friday evening was spent with friends on Sunnmøre (Rakfisklag – heavenly food and nice company!) so we didn’t get going until Saturday. We stopped in Åndalsnes and paid a visit to Norsk Tindesenter.
We arrived at Bjorli after dark and it was like coming to a different planet. So much snow! Only the last 24 hours, 60-70cm of snow had fallen. And the apartment was quite OK, although sounds from the apartment above came straight through the floor.
In the evening, we took our skis and skied around in the neighborhood to become familiar with the place.
Toppen, Dec 10 2017
On Sunday, Anne took Karma and headed for the cross-country track. My goal was to reach Toppen, and normally I would ski directly from the cabin. But the amount of snow forced me to take the ski-lift from 570m to 1030m.
From the top of the T-lift, I was 3,2km southeast of the summit. Fortunately, the snow had settled a bit at this elevation, so the ski trip was only a mild struggle. But it was cold and windy and I had to dress accordingly.
The weather was gorgeous and I was enjoying myself in a somewhat hostile environment. Totally alone on the mountain.
Eventually I reached what I was confident was the top. Little did I know that there was another point on the mountain – 1m higher – 0,5km to the north. But at least I had been ON the mountain, and I will have to come back for the north point another day.
I had a good view towards some of the Romsdal peaks. They looked insane!
The descent was horrible. I had forgotten to put glider on the skis and they weren’t gliding at all. The descent from the top was OK-ish, but when I reached the forest, it was simply depressing. Eventually, I came across ski-tracks from a skier and I followed them. The skis were running better in old tracks and fortunately, the tracks took me back to the skiing centre.
Vetlegrenda in daylight looked different than in the dark. Quite a cosy village!
Kongelberget attempt, Dec 10 2017
I still had 1,5 hours of daylight and decided to give Kongelberget (1175m) a try. Anne drove me up to Skreda (580m), where I started skiing. I aimed for distinct route up the mountain – free of forest.
Already after 5 minutes, I realized that I would not reach the top. The amount of snow was astounding and every step forward was a big struggle. Moreover, the wind was picking up on the mountain and I didn’t want to reach those kind of conditions, dead tired in the dark.
I skied up to 970m, called it a day and hoped that I could take advantage of my tracks the next day.
Kongelberget, Dec 11 2017
Monday, and I was working from the apartment. Anne took Karma to the cross-country track. It had been snowing since early morning, but the forecast said it would stop snowing around 4pm.
In the afternoon, it did stop snowing and Anne drove me back up to Skreda. My tracks from the day before were nowhere to be seen, and with the new snow, the re-ascent was even harder.
But there was no doubt – I WOULD make it to the top. And I did.
Darkness was now on its way – coming real fast – and the light was flat. I had to use the headlamp on the way down. The steep hill (which I call the monster hill) was amazing. It felt like skiing in a huge pile of feathers.
Again, I skied down to Vetlegrenda – but much more happy today than the day before. Two new peaks (being gracious about Toppen and missing the north point) and only 3 to go with 20 days left of 2017.
Dec 12 2017
We woke up to -21 deg. C. Anne took Karma out in the morning, but Karma decided to conduct her morning business right outside the apartment and then turn around. It was just too cold.
After lunch, Anne and I parted. I drove back to Sunnmøre while Anne waited for the evening train to Åndalsnes. She would spend the night there and head to Molde the next day.
It was quite weird to leave Bjorli in -21 deg. C and arrive in Åndalsnes with a temperature of 0 deg. C. Quite a drop in 45 minutes!
All in all, a most excellent weekend and a nice break from the inclement weather on Sunnmøre!
Pictures from the Bjorli visit: