Fjordland in a mobile basecamp

March 12, 2015 | 12:01 pm | No comments »

Senjatripping (3 of 4)

This season I decided to ride more local and not chase snow all over the globe. It has been a dream to explore the nearby mountain ranges and wait for the conditions, not chase them. Also, the birth of our first-born reduced the desire to travel in to distant mountains and made the desicion natural. She was born at the heart of the winter. It has been wonderful to watch and share her first everything.

Most of the good mountains here above the Arctic have fairly short approach from the road but the winding roads are in desolated areas and there is no accommodation around. RV makes the perfect transport-basecamp combo in Northern Norway. During summer, I found a great one that has gas powered floor heating, good insulation and big trunk where I can store and dry snowboard and surf quivers, camping and fishing gear, other equipment and even mountain bike. A perfect basecamp which parks at the foot of a chosen mountain. There is no better way to start the snowboarding day than by gazing at your line while still sipping your morning coffee (while waves are breaking on the other side!!)

 

Senjatripping (4 of 4)

 The arctic sky put up an amazing northern lights show for us one night

Our (Me, Jani Kärppä and Miikka Peteri) plan was to scope out conditions and ride in Lyngen, Senja and Tamok. Forecast history didn’t promise much for the riding part since warm temperatures and high winds had been plaguing the regions but you never know what you are going to find until you go.

Season start in Northern Norway has been slow this year, like it has in many ranges all over the globe. Winters are turning weird, or worse solid winter seems to be fading. Winter jumps from early season straight to late season. Consistency of winter conditions is lost. At least, this is how it appeared to us again on this trip.

tooth (1 of 1)

The forecast history was pretty much spot on. Conditions seemed more like late April than mid February. Snow pack was fairly thin and it was wet even higher up or really wind beaten. Our trip turned out to be more scoping and less riding. On the positive side, it is early season in these latitudes and  the base is solid now. We found  lines that went straight to the hitlist and all they need now is a new cover.

fugl (1 of 1)photo: @jkarppa

The weather continued to be warm and windy through out the week. We drove around in different regions but conditions were more or less the same everywhere. We  stuck to poking snow, exploring new places and enjoying the scenery, wild life and camper life.

Karvis (4 of 5)

I also wanted to catch some surf while exploring the coastal mountains. There was a big swell approaching but winds were a problem again. Good swell waves were ruined by high cross shore winds that generated small wind waves against the good ones. Yet again, arctic winter surf turned out to be more of an beautiful and raw experience than good surf.

arctic surferphoto: @jkarppa

We almost decided to leave and return only after the conditions got better but the suddenly weather at least calmed down. You can’t pass a sunny spring day in the mountains with the ocean below. We were scratching our heads to find a sheltered couloir that might still have some good snow. We ended up in Lyngen after some detours and cloud dodging. Our pick of a south facing couloir turned out to be great surprise with some soft and dry snow at the top part. It brought back the good feeling of climbing and riding pow. Now, let it snow and the season to begin in the Arctic.

 

Karvis (3 of 5)Miikka Peteri putting in some steps for the turns

Senjatripping (1 of 2)

 

Maypow – the long wait for the right conditions

November 5, 2014 | 11:13 pm | 1 comment »

Big plans were made already before the season had even started. I wanted to get in to alpine terrain and ride bigger lines than before. My goal was to ride lines in Japan, The Alps, Alaska and Norway – My dream locations. On paper the plan and schedule looked perfet. I was aiming for my best season ever and I was ready for it but Nature didn’t get the memo. Season 2014 turned out to be a lesson of patience. Everywhere we went the conditions forced us to change the plans. It was either snowing too much or not enough for the alpine terrain to open its gates to the dremy lines. It was May before I got to drop in to terrain I had been planning on.

 

I spent half of March and April in Tamok and Lyngen filming with Approach&Attack crew. We had good snow and great times but got only glimpses of the bigger lines. The conditions were just not right for the bigger stuff like it had not been in Japan, Alps or AK. I started to give up on the hopes of riding bigger stuff. It just was not happening this season. I went home end of April with thoughts of maybe still coming back from some spring snow. But then the forecast turned around. Cold low pressure hit northern Norway bringing lot of new snow still this late in the season and after a cold high pressure was supposed to roll in.  I contacted Jonas Hagström and Justin Lamoureux and gave them the thumps up. The end of the long wait was in sight finally.

 

MayPow (4 of 8)

Backside of Lakselvtindane – the famous Lyngen massif

It was still snowing when we met up in Tamok. We decided to start straight with the Tamok classic, Öksehögget, since it was protected couloir and didn’t need clear skies for visibility. Conditions proved to be as good as I hoped. Month in the area had given a knowledge of the snowpack.  The next day the strom cycle moved on, skies cleared and the snow was stable. It was on now! The warming may sun was the ony thing we had to watch out for. In May it didn’t really drop below the horizon anymore. We shuttled between Lyngen and Tamok day and night riding classics and possible first descents of the area. “Good things come to those who wait” – proved to be correct. We rode and hiked two lines and over 2000m of vertical on the best days. Season truly climaxed at the very end!

Öksehögget (1 of 1)

Öksehögget (english: axe cleave) – Tamok classic. 500m vertical of narrow and consistant 40-45degrees couloir.

 

 

Check Justin’s blog  for his take on the trip as a first timer to Tamok and Lyngen.

Approach & Attack new teaser

August 8, 2014 | 9:48 am | No comments »

 

Two year project in the making is approaching the climax. For two years I filmed with my good friend Antti Autti for his great movie project. I have some warm memories from the trips. Snowboarding felt good and now it looks great too. Full movie premiers in October 2014.

Category: Snowboarding

Conditions dictate the plans part 2.

April 2, 2014 | 1:43 pm | No comments »

014_9960_engadin_bydavidbirriFilmer David Doom getting slowly buried by the snowfall. Photo David Birri

UNIQUE CONDITIONS

As the days got fewer the snow fall only grew thicker. It soon became obvious that we had no change of getting into any mountain hut. They were probably already buried by now. And even if we did manage to find a hut and dig it out, only thing we could do is just sit in it since the avalache danger was so high. We were having hard time hiking even in the trees with this much snow. I could only imagine that the waist deep hiking would turn into swimming above the trees.  The dreamy alpine lines were better to be left alone this time. The conditions forced us to stay in the trees and ride belly deep powder and pillow lines all day long, day after day. What a bummer?!!

At first we really were bummed that we had to turn down our original plan. We were so fixated on the hut mission that we almost didn’t realize what was going on around us. The snow records were breaking daily in the valley. They had never measured such depths since 50 years when they  had started. And even if we have ridden deep pow before this was truly something different. I said it in Japan this year that it was the deepest powder day of my life there but now I had to correct that again. I never thought the Alps could top Japan in powder depth but it was happening right here, right now. We soon let go of our plans and decided just to enjoy the moment and the incredible snow. A saying “When the mountains are telling you something you better listen” applies again. Lesson revised. Otherwise you might miss out on all the fun.

Conditions dictate the plans part 1.

March 17, 2014 | 12:43 pm | No comments »

pic: David Birri

photo by David Birri

IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN BUT….

We had thought of a mountain hut mission somewhere in the Alps for years. It is nice pull back from the crowds completely every once in a while and let just the surrounding mountains and snow sink in. There is lots of these mountain huts located all over the Alps. We made a plan, even before the snow started to fall this season, to find one with good riding close by.

Snow fell very locally in Europe this season; some places barely had any and the next valley could have had tons. The storms seemed to be coming in from the south so we narrowed our search to the southern mountain valleys. Sten Smola knew some huts that fit into our plans,  promised to help us out and even join us on our mission. We set our eyes on the southern parts of Swiss Alps and decided to do a last minute call between few options once we saw the conditions and the forecasts. Everything looked promising when we flew in to Zurich and made our way down to meet up with Sten. But then suddenly the forecast changed completely. Fair weather turned into heavy snow and shifting temperatures. Nobody wants to be in the middle of the mountains in a storm so we had to retreat into the end of Engadin valley to wait it out.

Fortunatelly Sten also knew some treeruns which were supposed to be untouched by the crowds. We wanted to escape the crowds originally so at least that was following the plan. We had no idea that in those woods we found a snowy paradise.

As the days passed we learned that it was useless for us to make any plans. Conditions and nature were making the calls and we had no choice but to follow which was awesome!

 

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