Snow, ice and isolation

RonjaTemperatures more than 30 degrees Celsius below zero. A lonely winter lodge without electricity or water, that can only be reached by one and a half hour cross-country skiing. An isolated lodge in the mountains of Valdres offers the best of winter Norway…

The Christmas holiday was way too short this year, but luckily I managed to squeeze in a long weekend this January at a lodge in Valdres.

The others went up a few days before me, as I had some things to sort out in Oslo. This meant I had to go up alone. Trying to drive up the mountains without studded tires or chains was fascinating, although somewhat stupid. Snow and ice made it pretty slippery going up the steep winding “Panorama” road to Vaset. A VW Golf is a good car, but no 4×4. However, I only got stuck twice, and with some help pushing from some friendly locals that lived nearby, I got up the mountain eventually.

Putting on ski gear when the temperature nears 30 below is a trial for people like me that like it best when it is 30 above. Your fingers freeze stiff, and you have so many clothes on that you can barely move in the first place.

I had a dog, Ronja, with me. Luckily, she seemed to know the way to the lodge, as it was dark and the tracks had pretty much been erased by the wind and snowfall. So I just followed her.

The weather is usually very clear when it gets this cold, and we had some very beautiful days, and starry nights. Open fireplaces (and quite a few of them to keep warm), candles and kerosine lamps adds quite a bit of atmosphere. They even have a wood-fired sauna up there. Even though you come from a hot sauna, it is absolutely freezing to naked out in the snow. Refreshing. At 28 degrees below!

You don’t sit too long in the outhouse doing your business at this temperature. Toilet breaks were short. 😉 The tranquility of the place takes your breath away. Except for us, there wasn’t a soul within at least 1,5 hours ski radius. At night we could only see three or four lights in the distance.

Beautiful winter Norway… If you’re interested I believe there are cabins and lodges that can be rented in the same area of Norway. And the rentals usually have all modern commodities. It might be a bit expensive for the budget traveler, though. Come to think about it, most of Norway is.

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