Best buddy/ski-buddy Carlo and I left Oslo around 4 pm from the Islands we live on. Destination : Gaustatoppen in Telemark county.
Impatiently waiting for Carlo, as you can see the boat is ready to be launched.
Oslo Winterpark, where we both work, closed on April 9th, and I was eager to see a big mountain instead of our resort. Gaustatoppen, 1883 m elevation, is the highest mountain in southern Norway, and is the most hardcore place to ski. I had never skied there before, just the nearby resort Gaustablikk, as the conditions hadn't been good the times I'd been there. Now it looked promising with some precipitation in the forecast. I brought my Black Crows Corvus and Head SS Mags, just in case we had to ski the resort. As it turned out I could've left the Heads in Oslo. Skins, beacons etc were packed.
Gaustatoppen. You get app 800 m vertical when conditions are good.
Arriving in Rjukan city around 8 pm, it took us some time to get disorganized. Also joining us was Hedda, my colleague/fellow ski-instructor and Magnus, a very good free-heeler. We got the stoke going pretty good over a delicious meal of lamb, shared war-stories and enjoyed ourselves to the full extent.
Hedda and I lying our butts off. Always fun! We kind of forgot the flash but didn't really care.
Saturday morning arrived painfully early, after a hearty breakfast we decided to take the train instead of skinning up. The train takes about 12 mins to the top including changing carriages ( Inside the mountain ). One is horizontal, the other goes up at a 40 degree angle. The tower on the top used to be a NATO installation.
Magnus and Hedda. The vibrations in the carriage made it difficult to take good photos.The hangover didn't help either.
Up top this is the last thing you see before exiting the tunnel :
Then Hedda and Magnus had a surprise liquid lunch for us, just what we needed.
Magnus, madMads and Carlo. That beer sat well.
Avy danger was reported at 3, so no culoirs for us., we decided to ski directly from the tower and down, where we judged the conditions to be fair. App 15 cm of powder on top of hardpack and ice - quite a few half-hidden rocks.
madMads and Martin. I'm still wearing that grin, just wider.
madMads, Hedda and Magnus, just before we start. It's quite steep in the beginning, the pic doesn't do it justice.
Oh, the joy! We had a perfect run, thighs burning, short of breath, adrenaline pumping like crazy. Martin had taken us down one of his favorite runs there, the one he calls "medium" and the one he skies in high avy danger. It was very good to have him with us, as he's a local and knows this mountain better than most. Without him I'm pretty sure we'd taken the kinder ( and probably more boring ) Langefonna. Btw, Martin's standard answer is: I think that can be done.
We were hugging, kissing and dancing, shouting and being totally unruly for about 15 mins. Then, sadly, Hedda and Magnus had to leave us for Oslo.
The rest of us went to Rjukan public bath where we enjoyed the steam-bath and pools before the next big dinner. That also lasted quite long, by now a local ski-teacher, Anette, had joined us in our bragging and lying.
It started to snow...
Next day found us almost rested, Carlo had some knee-issues and stated that he'd only be the driver. He could see in my eyes that I was going skiing no matter what.
It still snowed...
Anette called me pretty early, she had already had one run and could report : POWDER. Get your lazy ass up here, now!
Her wish was my command.
Anette and madMads
We've just talked Anette into skiing the same line we took yesterday after accessing the avy danger and finding it acceptable.
This run was just EPIC, lots of powder, steep, wide open spaces. If there are any better places to ski in the world I must try them.
By now euphoria has set in big-time. This is about mid-run. I'm still wearing that grin. The Black Crows Corvus' are all they're hyped up to be and more.
Martin, Anette and madMads after the x-rated scenes when we arrived at the bottom.
I thought it would be difficult to top Saturday, but found it to be very easy. If we behaved like idiots coming down the first day ( and we did ) we must've looked like aliens on Sunday.
What a beauty she is!
We arrived in Oslo late Sunday evening. I've been working my first day as a sail-trainer today, but will go to Hemsedal for more skiing tomorrow.
A perfect ski trip.