Mai snow in Tromsø

2 May – shall it be spring soon?

With melting snow, slush and strawberries (from the Netherlands)?

Yesterday, 3 May – no.

Today, 4 May – definitely no!

8 cm of fresh snow fell over night. Beside the roads there’s even a layer of crusty, old snow.

If the weather forecast is right, a lot of rain will wash the snow away, but not before the weekend. Let’s see, how long you have to read those “still snow”articles, but when there’s snow, I’ll post about snow.

Farewell winter 2022?

This evening Annika and I will take the night train to Göteborg. We will meet close friends and spend the Easter week in Southern Sweden where we probably will meet spring. So it’s probably time for me to say farewell to winter.

I was honoured. Winter dropped by personally to say farewell today. The gifts: Strong winds and at least twenty centimetres of snow. First I worked a bit but then Annika and I took a winter promenade to our Vitskärsudden, our favourite beach.

Some hours later I dug out the car. We’ll need it later. It had already become warmer and the snow was wet and heavy. So winter didn’t come to stay but I was glad about its farewell.

 

My first “topptur“

Just 14 km by car to the parking place on Kvaløya and I’m at the southern end of the two valleys Finnvikdalen and Krabbelvdalen. I put on the skis, put on the backpack, up with the hood and I’m ready to ski. -14 °C, hardly any wind.

First I follow an old track, perhaps two skiers and two with snowshoes went there. But soon I leave it to follow the Krabbelvdalen. Further plans: none yet.

Slowly the terrain rises. I do not have climbing skins with me but mostly I can ski just straight ahead. I’m alone and leave a track in yesterday’s freshly fallen snow.

I spot a cabin by a mountain slope and realise that the mountains may be not as steep as they looked first. Could it be possible for me to ski over the saddle between the two summits of the Mellaskarfjellet (301 m and 325 m) to make a round trip? Well, at least I can try. To gain height I have to go zigzag a lot and some of the snow is hard and icy. I’m a lousy skier and wonder if I ever will be able to ski downhills and leave this place. Well, I reach the saddle and it’s only 40 more metres in altitude to the southern top. Let’s go and make the round trip a topptur – a summit tour.

To make a long zig-zag story short: I reach it! I put on my down jacket and take a rest with a bit of chocolate and half frozen water.

The descent to the Finnvikdalen takes some time. I do not dare to ski straight downhills because parts of the snow are icy and other parts is crusted powder snow where you break though. So I take it slow and easy.

I see two other skiers with a dog approaching. While I slowly ski downhills they catch up and thank me for the track I made while passing.

Two reindeer nibble at the birch trees, I’ll never will understand how they can survive cold winters with this nutrition. The dog is quite interested. “Will is run? Is it fun?”. But alas it is on a leash and the reindeer calmly trots through the snow to find another birch to nibble at.

Now it is me who is the lucky one. The dog owners leave a fresh ski track on which I at least double my tempo. They head to something that looks like a broader ski track and so it it. It leads to a mountain hut.

Tracking map from my iPhone appA lot of skiers are on this trail. After I have passed the hut I’m on a broad trail prepared by a snow mobile. Now I can ski even faster (still slow ;-) ) but I’m unsure where this trail leads me. I continue following it constantly checking my map app until it signals that I’m on my old track again. What? Where? Here? I do not recognise this place!

Some hours ago I was alone, now a broad track cuts through the landscape. I pass the very same tree that I photographed this morning.  Ok, the app is right. The parking place comes into sight, it is full of cars. Just a bit more to go and I arrive at my car. While I stop my tracking app and change my clothes other people pass me on both sides.

I guess many Norwegians would just laugh about me calling my today’s tour a topptur, since the summit is a hill, not a serious mountain. Many Norwegians are excellent skiers and topptur is used for alpine style tour skiing often in steep terrain, not necessarily for cross-country skiing . Anyhow I liked this tour and give it the name I think it deserves from my perspective.

On the map you can both see my zigzagging near the summit and that I was significantly faster on the trail back ( slow | fast).

To my big surprise it has become colder. -16 °C the car thermometer shows now. At home it is only -7 °C. I wonder why because both places are located quite near the sea.

Happy New Year 2022

Some photos from New Year’s ski promenade with friends. We were lucky – clear sky and -12 °C gave perfect conditions for some outdoor BBQ at Stora Stenen. And when the wind increased we went inside the wooden cabin of this public recreation area and fired the oven.

Have a Happy New Year 2022 all together!

Thaw and cloudbursts

Why, oh why was the forecast of Yr right? Already a week ago it forecasted a period of thaw and heavy rainfall. And Wednesday it started to rain. Just now I’m listening to another cloudburst bucketing down on the roof.

The snow is gone and the ways and small streets are very icy. When it continues raining like this even the ice may have thawed and washed away soon.

It looks almost like autumn but with a huge difference: It’s dark. The photos above I made at lunch break on my last working day this year.

It’s a pity! Just today my wife Annika will arrive so that we can spend Christmas time together. It would have been lovely with a lot of snow but even though it shall be colder again soon it does not look like we get some.

Tønsnesvarden

On Tuesday we got some snow in Tromsø. On Wednesday it already has melted away. But last night a bit of snow arrived.

Today I chose a shorter tour from my book “På tur in Tromsø” (On tour in Tromsø) because I just wanted an easy hike, not a full-grown mountain tour. The weather agreed with me.

By the sea only a bit of wet snow and sleet covered the ground but already 50 meter higher the gravel path was covered with 10 cm of snow. Deep tyre tracks were carved in the snow. This part of the tour was very easy. Just follow the road up until you reach the radio unit on the Tønsnesvarden (281 m) and try not to slip, because under the snow there are some icy patches.

This summit has a big radio station on its top. Even in the increasing snow fall is was quite visible. Now I walked through 20 cm of snow. After an hour I arrived at the radio station, where I met the creator of the deep tyre tracks: A six-wheeled ATV.

It wasn’t cold but a windy. It snowed more and more and the wet snow glued itself to my jacket. On my way back I left the main road and followed a small path on my digital map on my iPhone. I stopped in a forest of birches with thin and long stems. I loved the motive, but my Nikon camera gave up in this wet weather. The lens was fogged up in the inside and in the dense and wet snowfall I didn’t dare to change lens. One photo worked out ok anyhow:

Soon I realised that some of the paths drawn on the map did not exist in reality (at least not in winter) while others that exist were not part of the map. So I went cross-county through pathless terrain, partly dens forest, partly wetlands with many small streams to cross. It took only 15 minutes until I reached the other gravel road leading down again. Now the iPhone was in charge for making pictures.

I followed the path down. With each metre altitude I lost there was less snow on the ground and the snow fall became more and more sleet. When I arrived at my car my anorak was soaking wet. Having seat warmers in a car is a great feature after such a tour.

For the records: 6.5 km, round 300 metres in altitude. Temperature round 0°C.

Appendix 1:

When I show pictures of mountain tours and hilly hikes it is easy to forgot, that Norway has not only mountains but the sea, too. This is an iPhone snapshot I took from some metres from my parked car. What you cannot see is the mountains of the island Kvaløya, 3.8 km away. They are hidden in the snow clouds.

Appendix 2:

What do you do with photos taken with a fogged up lens? You start to experiment. I mean, the photo is spoiled anyhow. But the result of today’s experimentation turned out nice in my opinion.

Black and white weather

+1 °C, grey and hazy with some rainy showers. I ignore the weather and go out for a longer walk. Time to put a black and white film in the iPhone.

Another snow warning level 2

Just nine days after the last snow warning that brought up to a metre snow in Västernorrland another snow warning was issued for today. And it has been snowing (and still is) and blowing since early morning. Time for a ski tour through the forest between two meetings …

Why I have time for a ski tour when working? Because as an employee of the Norwegian Polar Institute you have the right to two paid hours of training/sport/outdoor activities each week. One of the advantages of being employed there!

I went Spåret – “the track”, a circular route just 500 metres from here. It’s 3½ km long and leads through forests, over rock and along some swamps. Now with half a metre of snow you only see the the forest. Anything else is covered by white snow. And so is the small boggy pond: You should know where the planks cross it because under the snow there is still liquid mud.

This time the plank bridge was easy to find, because I could see the ski tracks that Annika and I left last weekend, when we skied Spåret the first time. I continued through the forest. I have jogged and promenaded this track many times, otherwise I hardly would have found the way.

Skiing was quite exhausting because my skis sank down at least 20 cm with each step, sometimes even knee deep.  Will I come back in time to participate the next meeting? I guess I have to ski faster and take less photos. The last one I took was when I crossed Södra Obbolavägen, our only road to “civilisation”.

To make it short: I arrived in time.

Some hours later I had a special after work activity: clearing a roof of snow. Most roofs had been blown free but there was one large snowdrift on the roof of our main house that I shovelled away while standing on the old metal ladder.

The ladder stands still there. Probably I’ll have to do some more shovelling tomorrow again. While I write this blog entry a huge snowdrifts starts to cover the bottom part of my home office window. What a pity, that it probably will rain on Saturday. One of the few disadvantages when living directly by the coast where it uses to be warmer than in the inland.

Skiing through the winter forest

It’s -18 °C and the sun is shining. 60–70 of powder snow cover the ground. We ski through the wintry forest following a narrow trail that other skiers have carved into the snow. We cross a snow mobile track that in turn crosses a snow covered bog. We enter another snowy forest.

It’s only a day trip and soon we arrive at the forest cabin which is open. We are alone and make a small fire in the oven while I try to take pictures of the Siberian jays but they are shy.

I just love Lapland in winter!

But …

This is not Lapland. It’s the Västermark nature reserve and this is just 77 km away from home. Annika and I went there last Sunday to enjoy the great winter weather and so we made our first little backcountry ski tour together this winter. More to come …

 

Translation:

EnglishGermanSwedish
Siberian jayUnglückshäherLavskrika