Abisko: A first small ski tour

Day 17

Finally – my first time on skis! I didn’t dare to use them in the Tromsø mountains, they are too steep for my mediocre skiing abilities. The mountains – the fjäll – in Abisko however is not so hard.

EquipmentWhat do I need for a (short) day trip? Let’s see …

  • windproof clothes
  • a down jacket for resting
  • warm woolen mittens
  • hot tea
  • goodies
  • a compass
  • a good map
  • my GPS with spare batteries
  • first aid kit
  • headlamp
  • camera equipment
  • bivy bag
  • some money (just in case)

I love it when I can start a ski tour just from the doorstep. Weather was fine, partly blue sky, partly clouds, -15 °C and no wind at all. The first time in this winter I put on my ski shoes, attached the skis, unattached them again to get the other mitten that still was in the house, attached the skis again, took the backpack and ski poles and started the tour. First the tunnel under the railway (Stockholm–Narvik) then up the street and into the open woodland. First I followed the snowmobile tracks. That’s easy because the snow is solid and it’s easy to go. But it’s a bit boring, too. So I left the trail after a while and went cross-country. The snow is new – it snowed 30-40 cm the last days and quite soft. Soon the skis were more under than on the snow, mostly calf deep, later sometimes more than knee deep.

In average the snow was 70 cm deep – that’s not so much for the fjäll, but I was quite glad that I could continue cross-country even if it was a bit exhausting. Again and again the snow around me slumped down under my weight sometimes snapping like a whip, sometimes growling like thunder. This is what avalanches are build of. It was clear that I had to avoid all steeper terrain today.

Soon the valley Lapporten, that you can see from Abisko as well, came into view again.

I hit another snowmobile tracks and followed them. An a slope ahead a snowmobile approached and I stepped aside to make place – sinking into snow almost knee deep again. The snowmobile was followed by eleven tourists that booked a dog sledding tour. I laid down into the snow to make pictures and since the dogs came to a stop I could make a photo of the husky with its snow-covered nose.

The dogs continued and so did I. But now I had a minor challenge. The track on the slope was quite steep and so narrow, that I couldn’t make V-steps big enough to go up on skis without sliding back. So I left the track and tried to go up zigzag beside the track. But after ten steps I was bogged down into the snow more then knee deep. I tried to go up, but impossible, at least for me. I returned to the hard snowmobile track, unmounted the skis and went up afoot.

Up on a bleak plateau I left the snowmobile trail and continued cross-country again in direction Lapporten. On the treeless plateaus it has been much windier and the snow was pressed and beared my weight. I continued a bit further and enjoyed the beautiful views and impressions.

But soon I headed back and skied down again through the untouched terrain. Downhill skiing was a bit thrilling: Some patches where hard and the skis ran fast but soon a patch filled with deep soft snow waited for you. It was pure luck that I didn’t fell. Four hours later I was in front of the house – right before the doorstep. A nice tour.

3 comments to “Abisko: A first small ski tour”

  1. Ricarda 2015-02-01 14:06

    Wunderschöne Eindrücke die Du uns wieder vermittelst…..!
    Also “the other side of the Torneträsk” kann sich jedenfalls sehen lassen, scheint ja wirklich eine wundervolle Gegend zu sein. Und so eine Husky-Tour muss ich irgendwann auch nochmal auf die Reihe bekommen…..das reizt mich schon sehr.

    Übrigens…….hab Dich vor wenigen Tagen ganz kurz im “Ostseereport” auf dem NDR gesehen und bin nun schon sehr gespannt auf die nächste Folge, denn es hieß da würde man noch etwas ausführlicher über die Meisterschaft im Isbading berichten.

    Schönen Tag noch !

  2. Ma HB 2015-02-01 19:55

    Dear Olaf,
    your photos” light over the mountains” und especially the last picture ice formations I find very good.
    But your last sentence “A nice tour”in such several proportions of snow and ice – nevertheless a nice tour!?
    Safety first, I wish you unhurt bones!
    Yours Ma

  3. way-up-north 2015-02-01 21:21

    Hallo Ricarda, die andere Seite hat zumindest jetzt schon Sonne, was Abisko von sich nicht gerade behaupten kann. Da es morgen aber schneien und winden wird, ist das recht egal. Ostseereport habe ich mir eben gerade angeschaut. Ein bisschen schade, es wird die erste Winterschwimmmiesterschaft in Skellefteå sein, bei der ich nicht dabei sein werde (nicht als Schwimmer sondern als Mitorganisator und Fotograf).

    Dear Ma HB, “nice” was perhaps a bit weak for the tour, but I don’t want to cry out “fantastic – marvellous – wonderful” again and again. I’m still German ;-)

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