Strange things take place north of the 66th parallel come mid-May. On about May 17th, the sun seems to enjoy its perch above the horizon and for nearly 60 days it refuses to dip below the horizon creating the “Midnight Sun”. While 24 hours a day of sunlight screws with your body clock, it does make for some incredible skiing.
I took a 2 hour flight from Oslo to Tromso, followed by sections of ride in vans and ferries to navigate the endless fjords carved from rugged peaks and glaciers.
After every possible form of transport — planes, trains, automobikes and boats — we arrived at the ultra-plush Lyngen Lodge, which would serve as our basecamp for a week. I use the term basecamp loosely as the lodge has 5 star accomodations and dining for 16 people and a boat moored out from to take you to the bottom of a lifetime of lines.
Your only limit is your own engine. With 24 hours a day of sunlight you can never blame the darkness on snuffing out another lap. On the first night we enjoy Reindeer steaks and some tasty Rhone wine. After dessert, I headed out for a 3,000 foot ski out the backdoor. I charge up the peak and stop only to snap some photos of the sun tracking horizontally across the horizon line for hours on end.
At home in Colorado, great Alpenglow lasts about 10 minutes, so it takes some time to realize that the light is going to be lighting my turns for the next 7 hours before it starts to get really bright again around 8AM. And a run in stellar corn is a good way to burn off some reindeer and flush wine from the system. I arrive back at the Lodge in time to have breakfast before heading to bed around 7AM.
I awake mid afternoon in time to take a boat trip out for some cod fishing. After our fishing excursion (very short lived as I have ADHD and fishing can’t hold my attention for any more than 30 minutes) we head across the fjord to a commercial fishing village that survives solely on cod fishing. The fish are hung from wooden racks for months until they dehydrate and then they are shipped to Spain and Portugal and served as a delicacy. The heads are dries as well and sent to Japan for fish-head soup. The factory has more than 100,000 fish heads drying while we visit. The smell is not one likely to be bottled and sold as perfume anytime soon.
Fishing aside, this trip is all for skiing. The highlight is a long boat ride through various fjords landing us in a sea-side basin below 5,000 foot peaks. These peaks are ultra-rugged and a lifetime’s worth of lines spill toward every edge of the island.
We started the skin at midnight and dropped in around 2:30 in the morning. The light was amazing and the corn snow had taken on the shade of a pumpkin shell. The glassy sea is broken only by islands and mirrors the color of the sky. The light is like nothing I have ever seen. Orange softens to pink and is replaced by bronze as nature lays tricks on my eyes.
Around 3 a.m. I dropped in and skied prefect corn thousands of vertical feet back to the sea. We scrambled to the sea and waited for our boat to collect us off the rocks. I cracked a beer (a rarity in Norway as they are $10+ per can) and sipped to my good fortune. Surrounded by friends in what may be the world’s most scenic location, the rock of the boat on the ocean’s ripples lulls me to sleep and I start to dream of another day skiing under the Midnight Sun.