In a Galaxy, Norway Way Away

 Loving the sogndal Pow, rocking my Scott LCG goggles and Scott Symbol Helmet. Photo: Tijntje Vuijk

Loving the sogndal Pow, rocking my Scott LCG goggles and Scott Symbol Helmet.
Photo: Tijntje Vuijk

At the end of the last European winter I travelled to Norway to compete at the Roldal Freeride FWQ4*, it was my first season back after injury so it was worth it to get another under the belt, but being so late in the season and so far away I figured it would be a fair while before I ever went back.
It turns out Norway has more to offer for big mountain than I had realised and this season to prove that point they put on an FWQ 4* in Sogndal, which is a University town at the top of a fjord just inland from the west coast, about 5 hours north of Roldal and 7:30 from Oslo by bus.

 A map showing relative locations of Oslo, Sogndal and Roldal. This is not the actual route I took, I went by bus direct from Oslo to Sogndal and back. About a 7 hour trip. 

A map showing relative locations of Oslo, Sogndal and Roldal. This is not the actual route I took, I went by bus direct from Oslo to Sogndal and back. About a 7 hour trip. 

I was in Norway since last Wednesday and the comp was scheduled for last Friday.
Unfortunately due to bad weather and the resulting high avalanche danger in all venue options the competition day did not happen. 

Even still this was the most well organised comp I have ever been to, we were constantly being updated with concise riders meetings with detailed descriptions of snow pack and weather charts topped by well written emails well in advance of any changes, which allowed everyone to stay focused on picking lines and preparing mentally.
Plus there were free waffles... 

This was a model performance from the organisers and a far cry from the seriously poor effort put forward by the folks in charge at the Les Arcs 4* a couple of weeks ago. 

For me the highlight of the show was the Mini-Ski booter session they put on in place of the comp. It was run in a local dudes back yard in the middle of town, to the sound of Norwegian commentary from a ski jumping competition. Kiwi young gun Hank Bilous was there in his shorts and bath robe chucking hammers and I managed to stick the first back flip of the night, after a few failed attempts. 

-As seen below, Mini Skis are little plastic snow blades that you strap to your street shoes, so those who know me will understand my excitement when it was announced-

 MIni-Skis. The peak of on snow performance hardware.

MIni-Skis. The peak of on snow performance hardware.

The snow storm continued through the weekend as predicted and as sort of a "Sorry for being a dick with the weather" from Mother Nature, our travels were rewarded with a beaut of a powder day on Sunday, our final day in Sogndal. 
We had an awesome time skiing some of the best pillows I have seen in Europe while doing laps off the back side of the ski resort. The gladed face runs down to the highway where you catch a ski bus back to the resort, to do it all over again!

So even with another cancelled FWQ event to add to the list, the trip to Norway finished well!

I am now on my way to the next FWQ 4* in Slovakia via Vienna. The comp is scheduled to run on Friday 26th February.  

 Sogndal Side country laps - Photo: Manuela Mandl

Sogndal Side country laps - Photo: Manuela Mandl

 Songdal Side Country Pillows. Last lap of the day. Photo: Paul de Groot 

Songdal Side Country Pillows. Last lap of the day. Photo: Paul de Groot