Heliskiing Sestriere

SimenBerg-Sestriere-6046
Text/vid/pics: Simen Berg

Early March 2014, we did three runs with Pure Ski Company in Sestriere.

The soft snow was getting scarce in Monetier. It was a week after snowfall in Serre Chevalier, with some heavy winds destroying what was not protected by the trees. We called Mike at Pure Ski, and they had room for the two of us the following day.

Our guides were Filippo Armand and Denis Boudoin. We did three runs in Valle Argentera, and they were:
– Monti Della Luna (800 vertical meters)
– Telegraphe (600 vertical meters)
– Punta Rognosa, ending in the Sestriere ski resort (1000 vertical meters)

All runs were north facing, protected from the sun. However, the first had parts of it ruined by wind. The second and third were all untracked, fresh snow.

The runs were not particularly steep, but we felt that the guides gave us the liberty to ski the steep sections we could get to, and the only thing holding us back was my need for stopping to shoot pictures.

The first lift costs 200 euros, the following cost 150 euros per person.

We had a fantastic Borgata lunch at  Da Casse (Lou Brachettes) to finish off the day. We spent a couple of nights at Chalet Edelweiss, with an amazing view of the tracks from our last run from Punta Rognosa. A week after snowfall, we found dry, untracked pow in the steep forest, and were really impressed with the resort. As well as the Pure Ski heliskiing, of course.

More info:
Pure Ski  |  Sestriere / Vialattea  |  Chalet Edelweiss

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Fatbike in the winter mountains of Hemsedal

Simen Berg, Bjøberg, Hemsedal

Simen Berg, Bjøberg, Hemsedal

Text/Photo/Video: Simen Berg

The Fatbike is gaining popularity around the world. In 2013 there were a few handfuls of bikes in Norway, now they’re in the thousands.

To try it out, we borrowed Surly bikes from the importer, Brown Couch, plus my friend Are. It also turned out he had done the ride we had planned for the day.

– Check out my quick guide to Hemsedal Skisenter/ski resort

BJØBERG – GRØNDALEN
We dropped one car off by the golf course in Grøndalen, not far from Solheisen. Then we got a lift to Bjøberg, close to the highest point of Hemsedalsfjellet.

The skiing tracks had not been prepared for many days, so the climb started off a bit loose. But it got a lot better as we gained some altitude. Basically there was from 5-10 cms of snow on a firm base. The ride was about 17 kms, with a moving time of 1:42.

Fatbike rental at Skarsnuten Hotell

IN SUM: DID WE LIKE IT?
It was our first experience with fatbikes. It is intriguing to be able to ride a bike on snow like this. But Kathrine and I agreed that we prefer skiing when conditions are like this. I can’t describe how frustrating it was to pedal downhill for kilometers, instead of going four times as fast on skis… And when the snow is gone, we prefer our full suspension trail bikes.

Turtagrø – design hotel in the mountains

At 884 meters above sea level, you find one of Norway’s  architectural gems. Turtagrø Hotel has it’s origin back to 1880’s, when the Drægni family established their hotel business.

REOPENED 2002
Unfortunately the original hotel burned to the ground in 2001, but the late Ole Drægni decided to have a new hotel built. He hired the amazing architects Jarmund/Vigsnæs Arkitekter (jva.no), and from day one, the new hotel became a landmark. The pictures will have to speak for themselves. The interior and furniture is specifically designed, piece by piece.

Turtagrø Hotel. Photos: Bergphoto.net

HIKING and CLIMBING
The hotel is the natural starting point for many of the most stunning hikes in Norway. With the third highest peak in Norway, Store Skagastølstind (“Storen”, at 2405 meters), as the most attractive for climbers, there are still handfulls of of other peaks to be reached without the use of ropes. Fannaråken has a DNT-hut at 2067 meters, and it’s just a three hour walk from the hotel.
– Some pics from Fannaråken and Skogadalsbøen (also DNT)
– Read my story from Fannaråken sunrise (pdf, in Norwegian, English, German)

SKIING
In April, May and June conditions are excellent for spring skiing and snowboarding. But there are no lifts, though. Still High Camp, the ski/snowboard touring festival organized by Fri Flyt, gathers more than 700 participants the second weekend of May.
The road up to the hotel is open all year. The road across Sognefjellet to Lom normally opens around 1st of May, and the road to Øvre Årdal opens mid to late May.
Story on skiing in Hurrungane + Sogndal (Sogn + Sogndal Skisenter) 2014
Skiing Soleiebotntind + Fannaråken 2012
– Skiing pics from the area,
– Some more from Nordre Skagastølstind

Turtagrø Hotell, with Skagastølstindane in the background

Turtagrø Hotell, with Skagastølstindane in the background. Photo: Bergphoto.net

Anne Marit Lia skiing Dyrhaugstind with Riingstind and Austabotntind in the back. Photo: Bergphoto.net

LINKS

Turtagrø Hotel + Wikipedia article in Norwegian
High Camp
(touring/backcountry ski/snowboard festival in May) by Fri Flyt Magazine

More on Norway’s best skiing and ski resorts (work in progress):
Narvik Skisenter ski resort
Bjorli Skisenter ski resort
Stryn Sommerskisenter Glacier summer skiing resort
Hemsedal Skisenter ski resort