Rain, reindeer and midnight heli-skiing
22nd May 2010
It wasn’t your average ski trip. Gabriella Le Breton has just returned from a trip to Riksgransen in Sweden. Quite an adventure. Check out the photos from inside the Arctic Circle.
It’s hard to imagine that I was skiing yesterday morning and now I’m sitting in my garden in south London roasting.
It was though fairly warm in Sweden.
In fact it was down right boiling.
The melt was said to be the fastest in living memory with several villages evacuated and roads destroyed due to massive land slides and flooding.
The national phone & internet network was down for at least 12 hours.
Nothing to do except laze in saunas and then jump into the fjord to cool down.It’s a hard life but someone has to do it.
The local skiing was pretty much washed out so we nipped across the border to Norway to ski tour up a peak called Spanstinden, 1,457m.
It was fairly murcky on the way up with the mist and cloud rolling in, but well worth the effort when we made it to the summit.
It was pretty cloudy at the top but we were able to get some idea of the views as we negotiated our way back down again and the fog and cloud started to lift, revealing distant peaks and fjords.
As we drove back to Riksgransen, the cloud continued to clear and it was beautifully sunny by the time we got back into Sweden.
The scenery on the way back was perfect as we drove round the fjords with no other sign of humanity around. Bliss.
Conditions were perfect for a heli outing, so we loaded into the heli at about 9pm with the dedicated heli-guide, Matthias.
We enjoyed three fantastic drops in surprisingly good spring snow conditions.
Heli-skiing at midnight in the Arctic Circle; now that is fun.
The sky was a wonderful mix of impressionist brush strokes as we made our way down.
The resort of Riksgransen is nothing like the Alps with its fjords and jagged mountain peaks. It has 6 lifts and 21 km of runs.
Taking place at the same time as my visit was the Big Mountain Championships.
It is one of the highlights of the freeride competition calendar, but not this year.
The weather played havoc with the event.
The judges couldn’t see certain sections of the course, as the fog closed in and of course it made riding extremely dangerous.
Somehow they managed to pick a winner, Wille Lindberg, of Sweden.
And now I am back in my garden slapping on the sun cream and looking ahead to summer.
Was I really skiing in the Arctic Circle just a short time ago?
Gaby skied with 2 mountain gudes – both called Andreas.
Andreas Bengtsson operates the heli-ski operations in Riksgransen and runs guided tours throughout the Alps during the winter.
Andreas Bjorkland is a guide with Val d’Isere’s Alpine Experienc and works extensively in Scandinavia too.