Windy Weather and Waffles

Who, where and when

On March 21 2015, five intrepid Sheffielders, Camilla, Cath, David, Jonathan and Roger, set out for Høvringen in Norway. All but Jonathan are members of the Sheffield Nordic Ski Club, and Jonathan is a keen cross country skier. We arrived at our accommodation -- a ` hytte', called Bamsebu, at Brekkeseter -- around lunch time on the Saturday. The sky was blue and the wind was light so what did we do? We spent ages walking to and from the shop -- which we later discovered was much better visited on skis -- then on having a late lunch.


Roger and Camilla outside Bamsebu

One of our number, Cath, needed to hire skis. For technical reasons involving last minute enforced change of travel plans, she had not brought her waxless touring skis with her. The skis available for hire were waxable track skis. We should have checked this detail -- sorry Cath! While Cath sorted her skis, the rest of us took a short ski tour round the village.

We met Cath on our return but she had not had long on her skis./p>

Day 1

The blue sky had gone but the tracks were in good condition. The temperature was at or just above freezing and Cath got her skis waxed with purple wax by Bjørn at the hotel attached to the hytte. She was given a purple wax to carry. We set off up the Trolløypa to Smuksjøseter. Towards the top it became clear that Cath's skis were sticking in the colder snow and she struggled to reach the cafe. Cath decided to continue on her own, having scraped the snow off her skis. The rest of us, having had hot drinks and, for some, carrot cake, continued to the Peer Gynt Hytta which we didn't expect to be open and wasn't, but offered the prospect of shelter from the wind. We had a quick lunch in the most sheltered spot we could find and then, all but Jonathan, decided to return via a track that went off to the left and steeply uphill. The return to base would then involve a 'lovely lovely' long downhill but the wind had got more serious and was funneling down the valley between Smuksjøseter and Peer Gynt Hytta making the return hard work. 'I am not enjoying this wind', said Roger for the first, but by no means the last time that week. We turned off onto the steep track and fought our way to the top of the ridge. The wind eased a bit. We reached the downhill part and headed off. The track had not been recently cut and the wind was against us so our progress downhill was not quite as much fun as we hoped. We made our way home by a fairly direct route. A good first day's ski for the three who did this. (20 km)


Roger and Camilla crossing the bridge on the way home

Cath meanwhile had followed us towards Peer Gynt Hytta but sensibly turned before quite reaching it. She had scraped the snow and purple wax off her skis and made better progress enabling her to enjoy the trip back. She had some fantastic gliding skiing before unfortunately twisting her knee in a fall towards the end of her way back down the Trolløypa. She got back to Bamsebu safely but had to drop out of skiing for the rest of the week.

Day 2

The sky was blue and there was a fresh breeze. Cath rested her knee and the rest of us set off for Puttenseter 'over the top'. We set off on the climb.

Part way up Camilla pointed out to Roger a 'snow devil' being caused by the wind ahead. We should have turned then! We didn't and continued up the hill with the wind getting stronger all the time. We continued up the track that now went diagonally up the hill. We fought our way to the top. We gathered in a sheltered spot in the col and then set off again.


In the col

Looking back in the col

The 'fun' now began in earnest. We had to go over another col before descending to Puttenseter. The wind gusted fiercely with associated spindrift. It was now behind us and strong enough to push us uphill -- interesting! Being pushed by the wind downhill on skis is not so good, however. Most of us took off our skis and walked down the hill until we were out of the worst of it. Skis back on we descended to Puttenseter and the much needed succour of waffles with jam and cream. The return to Bamsebu was tame by comparison with the outward trip.


Roger heading back

Spindrift

View on the way back

We returned by a fairly direct route which included part of the Rundløype


Just before turning onto the Rundløype

On the Rundløype

which was great with lovely views and a good long downhill 'lovely lovely', bringing us back to Bamsebu. (18 km but felt much further)

Day 3

The sky was again blue and the wind much less. The tracks were initially quite icy but where they had been recut were fine. David and Jonathan decided to go off on a long ski via both Smuksjøseter and Puttenseter. The rest of us decide to try out snowshoes. The snowshoes had both wide frames to prevent sinking too deeply and spikes to give grip.


A view of Formokampen

Not us!

They were beautifully easy to use and we took the low route to Puttenseter (waffles again!).


On the low route to Puttenseter

Snowshoes came off for the waffles.

Roger and Camilla took the high route back. We thoroughly enjoyed the views. (14km)

David and Jonathan had good skiing.


David going up the Trolløypa

View on the way to Peer Gynt Hytta

Jonathan at Peer Gynt Hytta

View across to the Rondane ranges

but David went out of control on an icy downhill run. The fall made his thumb point in the wrong direction. Fortunately he was able to yank it back. We assume it was dislocated. He was off breakfast cooking duty the next day. (David and Jonathan -- 30km)


Preparing dinner

Day 4 -- all tracks lead to Puttenseter

The sky was not so blue but the weather was fine for skiing. Cath decided to stay on snow shoes but the rest of us to head up the Trolløypa again. Jonathan again headed for Peer Gynt Hytta but the rest of us took a track which goes over a col and then descends to Puttenseter.


Descending from the col

Descending to Puttenseter

It was quite windy going up so hard work but we were rewarded with a glorious downhill run of about four kilometres. Waffles (again!) at Puttenseter.


Roger and the waffles

We returned by going part way up our downhill route and then turning on to a track. Another lovely downhill run took us to where we joined a track that linked with the Rundløype. As we were back a bit soon we detoured via the shop. A superb days skiing. (25 km, Jonathan 35km)

Day 5 -- Coarse Skiers stay in hut.

The weather forecast was for quite heavy snow accompanied by near gale force winds so we stayed in our hut thoroughly enjoying being warm and dry, whilst the weather did its stuff.


View from the hut

At about three in the afternoon the wind had died down a little and so Camilla, David and Jonathan went for a ski in the woods. The snow was lovely and powdery.


David and Jonathan in the woods.

The return to the hut was hard work as it was against the wind and uphill but worthwhile for the earlier ski. (11 km)

Day 6

The day started out a bit misty and we set out for Smuksjøseter as we thought the track machine was going that way. In fact very few tracks were done that day and we believe the machine had broken down. We went to the Peer Gynt Hytta and thence round the back and along a valley beside Formokampen; pretty hard work, but enjoyable.


Roger and Camilla in the valley beside Formokampen

The weather improved during the day and we had a good ski home. (27 km).

Homeward bound

We left on a lovely day enticing us to resolve to return.


Early morning light from our hut

The tractor took our luggage to the bus stop, from where we got our bus into Otta, down in the valley, then train back to Oslo.


The tractor with our luggage

Reflections

We all felt Høvringen a great centre for cross-country skiing and Brekkeseter an excellent place to stay. The scenery is breathtaking and there are plenty of both cut and uncut tracks. The snow record is excellent. Admittedly the wind blew pretty well all week, fiercely so at times, but we only lost one day. Our 'hytte' had everything we needed and worked out remarkably cheap per person. So even though Norway is generally pricey the overall cost was very reasonable. We should go again!