So we cruise around the last switchback in the road at 10:20pm. We're 3.5 hours out of Oslo but perhaps more importantly we're twenty minutes late for the last departure. It's okay though because they waited for us. We dump our gear and Gregers squeals off to park the car. Then we throw our skis to the man on the roof to be tied down, and we jump inside. A snowcat. A sweet, WW2-era, growling, burping and farting snowcat. We sit, crammed in like sardines in the darkness with a bunch of random people that hopped off a last minute bus. Our driver jumps off the roof to reveal himself a 20-something skibumsy type with a sweet dialect. Well, that's my impression until he demands the one-way price of 250 nok, at which point i decide he sounds rather petty and redneck, and that he probably isn't that good a skier anyway.
We spend the next 20km sucking in diesel fumes and staring out foggy windows into the flood-lit arctic landscape. (In other words it is very white.) Oh shit I bumped my head on the roof and now I am sitting in some norwegian girl's lap. I like this snowcat. It's fast.
And so begins the easter holiday in Norway.
But anyway back to the sweet snowcat. We were willing to pay the price because the alternative method of transportation to the ski hut would be to ski 20km of completely flat, white, nothingness. And besides, cross country skis are for bitches. We're going touring. Like, UP the mountain. And then down again. Fast. And steep. Right kids? No? The avy danger is epicly high and the snow settles in lound thunder-like whumping sounds in all directions when we ski on it? Damn. Okay then how about that 30 degree slope over there.
Actually the tame skiing ended up being quite enjoyable, and the food at the hut was delicious. Oh and it was sunny. And Karin came from Stockholm. Good times:
One of the days I got separated from the others since I had to return to the trailer for my avalanche beacon, and so I had to be creative in finding ski partners. My first trick was to just wait at the top of the lift until I found people going where I wanted to go, and this worked quickly the first time when I found two 40-something dads who had been allowed by their families ONE trip down Reiderskaret for the day. It was absolutely fantastic with steep, untracked fluffy in the chute and then open trees lower down. I was so keen on another trip that I returned to the top of the mountain to wait for more people that were going down there. No one came, and I was freezing my ass of but just just as I was about to bail I received a message from a Finnish girl I had met the night before that her and three of her friends were heading up right then.
We got another trip in and when we got to the taxi at the bottom I recognized Gregers' skis and André's board. Halla! Apparently they had gone on some ill-advised recon mission that ended up with Gregers literally towing André's snowboarding ass across 4km of flats. Shitty.
But there was good to come out of it: Gregers had spotted a couloir that cut through the cliffs on the other side of the mountain, so we had a mission for the next day.
We found the top of it and Gregers dropped in first. It sounded pretty icy at the top, and he took it slow, and then Andrew followed. And me next.
From the middle of the chute there was a rock band below and then a small gap that passed through on the left. But there was also a pretty good layer of snow that hadn't slid yet so gregers cut some of it off to let it slide down ahead of us (as opposed to 'accompanying' us.) Then it was a fun little point and a bumpy ride out across the avy debris before crossing a flat and then dropping down into some really fantastic tree-skiing back to the road. Really nice day, and one of the cooler runs we have done in Hemsedal.