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Sun and slush

Blog post   •   Jan 09, 2020 09:00 UTC

Text and photos: Line Hårklau

It’s 2 days since the gang from Oslo set off, loaded down with ski equipment, to explore the ‘Sunnfjord trail’. Three days of guided summit touring in some of the finest mountains the Vestland region has to offer. 

And what timing! It’s no secret that the area gets its fair share of bad weather, but for now there’s not a single dark cloud to be seen in the sky or on the long-range forecast. It’s too late in the season for any powder snow, but what does it matter when you can enjoy the heights in a t-shirt.

“You’ve no idea how lucky you are,” says Kristine Hjelmbrekke from Jølstraholmen Camping, who is organising the tour along with guide company Tilfjells.

The visitors from Østlandet came across the tour more or less by accident on Facebook and booked without knowing very much about the place. Sunnfjord has long been overshadowed by nearby Nordfjord and Sogn as winter destinations, but visitors are slowly becoming aware of this welcoming and easily-accessible mountain region. In the best winter seasons you can enjoy summit tours from November to May, with over 200 peaks suitable for skiing.

The trip is demanding, but totally reasonable for anyone with summit skiing experience and a good level of fitness.

“When we’re out and about on tour, our main aim is to have a good time,” reassures guide Sindre Hoff on the first evening.

He keeps his promise. Assistant guide Are Opstad Sæbø quickly takes on the role of blister nurse. Like Sindre, he has completed several Greenland crossings and knows how much painful blisters can ruin enjoyment of a trip.

The final day is the most demanding. Snønipa (1827 MASL), the highest peak in Sunnfjord and the crowning glory, lies ahead. There’s no time to lose and by 08.00 the skis are on. Height is gained steadily faster as the terrain gets steeper. But after several hours with your gaze focused on the next person along the rope, it’s finally time to look around.

“Look at this!” call the gang, almost in chorus, from the top of Sunnfjord.“We must consider coming back at Easter next time.”

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