What do you do when the snow is not coming to the Alps? If you know that the next two weeks, hundreds of thousands of winter sports enthusiasts flock to the Alps? That you currently can only freeride above 2200 meters in the Alps? And then only in the main alpine ridge or south of it? If the webcams show such images as below? And that the concept of snow guarantee is just a hollow phrase in the marketing story of the resort you want to visit? What do you do?
What if you know that you'll join hundreds of thousands in the traffic jam on their way to the glaciers and high alpine areas? Isn't it a great option to choose a destination where they already have natural snow? Snow preferably in large quantities right? Where you can already ride between the trees? Well, that's possible.
Western Norway turned into a powder paradise in just one week. It's cold, there's a shitload of snow and the lifts are open. It reminds me of winter 2009/2010. I wrote about it earlier. A winter that began really late in the Northern Alps or rather the entire Alps and a winter in which every film crew made the move to Norway in January to shoot their precious footage there. And looking at the reports that is not different now...
And the west of Norway will get more snow the next four days. Where the Alps have to deal with warm air and get some snow above 2000 meters, Norway is hit by the cold part north of the Jetstream, where snowstorm after snowstorm develops over the northern North Sea and those snowstorms drop their flakes above Norways famous fjords. And this is what it looks like on the snowmap.
The conditions are already really good in the areas east of the Norwegian main ridge. Hemsedal and Geilo have a good base and the same goed for the less famous and slightly more northerly situated resort of Raudalen. But the heart of the storm of the coming days can be found in Røldal and Sogndal. Even the small town of Sauda gets a lot of snow. The Norwegian snow machine is turned on and is doing overtime in the night.
What's your call?
So Norway is a great alternative while the snow is playing hide and seek in the rest of Europe. But is that true? The areas are at relatively low altitude and the warm Gulf Stream is not so far away. A warm southern wind can just put an end to all the epicness in Norway. Right? No, not now.
Looking at the maps we briefly see warmer air coming in around Monday December 22, but from December 23 it is cold again. A great perspective. Especially now that the Alps next week will get some freshies above 2000 meters and will get some really cold powder in the weekend (but the conditions below 2000 meters won't really improve) and we'll have to wait till Christmas before the maps are showing cold air and snow on the maps. Yes, Norway is a GO!
Let's go to the Norwegian westcoast. But how?
If you don't live in Norway, and you want to come by car, the ferry is the way to go. There are numerous boats going that way. Another option is to fly and rent a car on the spot. Norwegian Air offers flights at fair prices at this time. And even accommodation is still pretty easy to find. What about the beautiful huts on the campsites around Røldal for example. For less than 20 euros per person per night you have a bed. And rental cars are equipped with winter tires.
Expect no road network like you're used to in the Alps. A ride of one hundred kilometers can sometimes cost a few hours and because of the winter weather it will definitely take you much longer to reach your destination. But the adventure is worth it. When you already planned a trip to the snow for the coming days, Norway is a perfect alternative. Who is going that way?
Until Sunday, cold and (lots of) snow. Monday temporarily warmer, colder again after Monday and again (lots of) snow in western Norway. Go, go, go! Oh yes, pictures and reports ... or it did not happen;)