Skorgedalen – according to HiMolde’s topptur expert Professor Kai Olsen the “place to be” for a multiple-day trip with your topptur gear. Panorama spent a weekend there to put it to the test.
By RAPHAELA OSSBERGER and BENJAMIN MOEYERSONS (photo)
A car packed with backpacks, skis, poles, skiing boots, perceived tons of food and a bunch of excited snowlovers. That’s all you need for an awesome weekend in the mountains – and of course the right destination. Kai Olsen, professor for informatics at HiMolde and author of a series of touring guides, recommends Skorgedalen for a trip like that.
Skorgedalen is located in the Rauma municipality close to Åndalsnes. From Molde it takes around 1.5 hours to go there by car, including a ferry ride from Sølsnes to Åfarnes. If you have the choice: take a car with all-wheel drive, it can be quite challenging driving up the last 4 kilometers of the road up to the cabin. Of course, it is possible to go there with a “normal” car, but to be sure take some people with you who, in the worst case, can push you up
Up there you find a big parking lot from where you can start your tours. We decided to first bring our backpacks to Skorgedalsbu, a self-catering cabin operated by the Norwegian Trekking Association DNT that offers beds for up to 27 people, but no electricity and no water.
Nevertheless, it has a big advantage: it is only 15 minutes of walking distance from the parking lot, so carrying up backpacks, skiing equipment and food for the weekend is not a challenge. Furthermore, you can reach the surrounding mountaintops directly. In short: Skorgedalsbu perfectly serves as basecamp for numerous tours.
Therefore: Off we go! Our first destination was Skarven, a 1062 meters high top north-west of our cabin. We calculated around one to two hours to reach it. Although the weather wasn’t as good as hoped-for (cloudy, damp and plus-degrees), we headed fully-motivated up to the first little ascent to see if we approach the top directly or continue over the north-west ridge. Since it did not seem to be that far, we decided to go straight to the top, also because the snow conditions seemed to become worse due to the upcoming wind and rain. Nevertheless, hiking up with the prospect of a breath-taking view over the fjords and Romsdalen was really enjoyable and also a bit adventurous. Approximately 100 meters below the top we had to reluctantly make the decision to abort our summit attempt – it was simply too windy and the sight too miserable to continue. We consequently detached our skins from the skis, put on our warm jackets, helmets and adjusted the boots to ski back down – but not without having one quick glance over the crest to Rødvenfjorden and Romsdalsfjorden.
After about 20 minutes we reached Skorgedalsbu again where we warmed us at the stove and with some vitalizing pottage to prepare us for our next tour.
Day two started with a look out of the window: sunny, slightly warm conditions that could provide us with a springy downhill run. However, while packing our backpacks, the sky got clouded. But again, the prospect of having a view all over to Molde was motivation enough to brave the weather and attach the skins to our skis. Our second tour led us to Smørbotntind, 1188 meters high and located to the north of Skorgedalsbu. The tour up there is a classic topptur in the area of Romsdalen and a bit longer than the one to Skarven.
After crossing a small cluster of cozy cabins, we followed the tracks of some earlier summiteers and enjoyed walking up this ready-made path. That day, the hillside of Smørbotntind resembled a column of ants, but it was actually ski tourers in great numbers who had the same idea as we had (and apparently the same outdoor durability concerning rain and wind). Approaching the top was like having a déjà-vu from yesterday’s tour: The closer we got to the top the more uncomfortable the conditions. But this time, we kept on going no matter what. Unfortunately, all our effort came to nothing; nothing else than white fog around us. But at least the snow conditions for skiing down Smørbotntind were better than expected, and we could shred the untouched mountain with our own turns, what compensated the missing view from the top.
Due to heavy rain on the third day we unfortunately had to refrain from the ski tour up to Nyseterskarven, that is located to the east of Skorgedalsbu.
So what to conclude about Professor Olsen’s topptur tip for a weekend-trip? To make it short and compact: Just do it! Skorgedalen is definitely worth going there. The location is breath-taking and skiing your own lines on one of the numerous untouched slopes with Isfjorden in front of you, is an inexpressible feeling. With all those opportunities for ski tours, it is definitely possible to spend more than three days there.
And since we still have a score to settle with the mountains concerning the view, you can be sure: Skorgedalen, we will be back!