by Rikard Landrin –
On Saturday afternoon I was at my favourite bar in Stockholm. With it’s Verbier origins, when you grab a beer at Shed, chances are you going to run into freeriders with itchy skier feet- especially in November. I had those itchy feet, and by chance I had also heard that a secret location in Norway was getting a huge early season snowfall. That secret was Myrkdalen resort (shhh!), an 11 hour drive away, but if I was going to find someone crazy enough to make the last minute trip with me, I was in the right place! I ran into Sam Robertson at the bar, A free skier and friend of mine from Verbier. He was dreaming of powder as well so he was on board straight away. One spontaneous hour of (loose) planning later we left Shed, picked up our ski gear and hit the road!
Throughout the nights we kept checking webcams and temps before finally arriving at Myrkdalen around 05:00 Sunday morning to over 1 meter of fresh snow. We slept in the car for 2 hours before eating breakfast (with more coffee than usual) at Myrkdalen’s hotel where some buzzing locals gave us their insights on the best shredding spots.
It was time; We geared up, jumped on first lift as the intense storm began to subside and sent it straight into the closest forest. Our first turns of the winter were spectacularly deep and dry. The pow became subtly heavier as we approached the base of the lift but Sam and I still couldn’t believe our luck!
We continued to session the forest from the first chairlift throughout the morning as the storm made way for sun and cold temps. Scandinavia is known for producing weather that is anything but the forecast, but for once the predictions were on point. By 13:00 the sky was crystal clear making way for a beautiful view of the Myrkdalen valley. We decided to take a few runs above the tree line where the overnight wind had left the conditions variating between powder and crust.
For our last run of the day we set off on a short hike from the top lift to access a forest outside the resort. Before dropping in we took a moment to enjoy the sunset. Then Sam shredded some turns on packed pow against the stunning Norwegian backdrop!
After a few minutes cruising down the alpine terrain we reached a golden lit tree line, where the snow was still deep and untouched. Since midday, the temps had been dropping rapidly. The pow appeared even lighter and dryer than our morning session.. as we dropped into our first turn it became clear- real Japan pow, but in Scandinavia… in November!! It was incredible, what an experience to ski such quality snow in our part of Europe.
The turns were snorkel worthy right down to the base of the valley where we ended by following a road about 2 kms back to the village. Whilst skating back we sparked up a chat with some Norwegians who came from Voss. They told us that there hadn’t been conditions like this in November for very many, many years and this day stood out as one of the best days they had ever had Myrkdalen. They continued to tell us that this part of Norway is an extremely precipitous area and its not uncommon to get “Japow” like conditions here in mid season; yet the valley is also prone to heavy rain events. As we took our skis off they said, “if your willing to play the long game and be flexible, you can get a few days of #Japow here each season.”, sounds good too us .
Once back in the parking lot, we ate dinner, got changed quickly and checked out the photos we took throughout the day before jumping in the car and heading for Stockholm. Altogether we had 24 hours in the car, 8 hours of unforgettable POW shredding and countless smiles.. On the way home we ‘joked’ that we would have done the same trip just for the final run.. were we secretly being serious? Absolutely! although Monday morning didn’t completely agree..