Here and Now: Lofoten, Norway

Here and Now: Lofoten, Norway

WORDS & PHOTOS • Liam Doran (@liam_doran_outdoors)

The arctic archipelago of Lofoten, Norway, is, for lack of a better description, magical. Cliché as that sounds it’s also exactly how it felt on this trip. Lofoten is a place where granite faces taller than Yosemite’s El Cap tower over glacial-cut fjords and ribbons of perfect corn wedged between spectacular, jagged peaks. Not surprisingly, this is a place where trolls are still believed to roam the mountains through mist and sun.

If I were forced under threat of fire or fury to make a complaint I suppose it would have to be the weather we had. Apparently, the temps we experienced in April were what they usually get in July. Add to that a Saharan dust storm that made for hazy atmospherics and you could have been suckered into calling conditions “bad.” For a couple of landlocked skiers, we were blissfully unaware and had a blast skiing steep lines over the area’s extensive fjords.

Back in April, my ski partner Sven Brunso and I spent nearly two weeks skiing and exploring this land of superlatives. The ease of access to skiing is incredible. Essentially, we drove up-and-down the road and found lines to ski—it was that easy. And with Norway offering residents and visitors the “right to roam” there are essentially no private property issues and you can access, climb and ski whatever looks good to you.

In the gallery below, you’ll find a handful of my favorite moments from the trip; but this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for the full story to be published in FREESKIER’s Destination Issue this fall.

The Lofoten Ski lodge was our home base for the week. The accommodations are incredible and it’s centrally located to all the best skiing in Lofoten. Give Seth and Maren a call and tell ‘em Liam and Sven sent you!
The standard view around every bend in Lofoten is, well, not so standard.
Sven Brunso scopes the view from top of Rundjfellet or “Round Mountain.”
The skiing around the port town of Narvik is extraordinary. This is the mighty Gangnesaksla. The granite wall on the right guarding the line is taller than most peaks in Yosemite.
A group of tourers in the Lofoten backcountry. With Norway’s “right to roam” you can access the mountain form pretty much anywhere you see fit.
The view from inside the Gangnesaksla is pretty sporty. The line goes at a 35-40-degree pitch and 3,300 vertical straight to ocean. SKIER: Micke Ekenstam
Drying Cod hang over wooden rails in the fishing town of Reine. The smell you ask? Its pretty much as bad as you might imagine.
Travelling through the agrarian countryside is easy on the eyes and the soul. Take it slow and enjoy the ride because a speeding ticket, as we found out, is extremely expensive.
Sven enjoying a mellow skin track in the glacial carved mountains of the arctic circle.
The Narvik ski resort boasts all the amenities of what you’d expect in the states. You can also skin out of area right into some very proud lines.
The haze from a Saharan dust storm did not seem to affect the skiing, but it made photography challenging at times.
With April temps far above normal we did have a few approaches and exits to deal with. For the most part they were pretty short with limited bushwhacking, but having an extra pair of socks was a solid strategy.
Days are long so after skiing there’s plenty of time to explore the Lofoten archipelago. The two-hour drive to Reine is absolutely worth it.
The south chute on the big G or Geitgallien. This is a must ski line for anyone travelling to Lofoten.
Drive down the road, park your car, scope your line and ski it. Yes, it really can be that easy.
Skiing snow clad peaks with the smells and sight of the ocean below is a truly unique experience. For the adventure skier a trip to northern Norway is an absolute must do. There is seemingly endless skiing in both Lofoten and Narvik and, in truth, we just scratched the surface of what’s possible.