50 shades of grey (blue, and orange)

The Swedish mountains are beautiful in their vast openness. 

They’re old. They’re gently rolling, unlike the jaggedness of the Alps and some of the Norwegian mountains.  And, given the northern latitudes, the tree line is usually very low. Mid-Sweden, at Grövelsjön where I spent the better part of two weeks recently, it’s probably around 800 m, yielding mostly barren, endless mountain landscapes all around. A veritable playground in both summer and winter, for hiking, ski touring, snow kiting.

The weather was a mixed bag throughout the two weeks. Snow fall, clear blue skies, wind, fog, and icy temperatures all mixed up, each bringing with them beautiful vistas to behold.

I’d hoped to explore the mountains, or the lake itself, with a kite, but the winds were generally weak. I’m glad they were as I instead spent most of the days on skis, for the first time going cross country and touring. Tons of fun and an exhilarating freedom to be able to explore the mountains uninhibited, no matter that there were 5-6 feet of snow, deep powder, uphill or downhill treks for miles. Something I’ll definitely return to in the future.

Photo by Eva A

Road trip to Grövelsjön

I’d been to Grövelsjön a couple of times in summer. Half-way up Sweden, right on the border to Norway, it’s a stunning little place. I wanted to see how it is in winter, not least given the endless open mountain vistas and the opportunities for snow kiting. 

Never having been North winter time, it was with some trepidation I set off. This was not helped by the weather reports the weeks before the departure describing icy temperatures (-30 degrees Celsius, night time) and snow depths that hadn’t been seen for a while. 

Prepared as much as I could, got my little Fiesta fixed up, new winter tires, new battery, readied fluids for the cold temperatures, bought a set of snow chains. And geared up with additional winter clothes. Then off I went!  

Beautiful road trip. Going north, I took it easy, not knowing the conditions. Stopped in Karlstad for the night, then a second one in Sörsjön, a little village north of Sälen. The B&B Norrsjön I staid at was fabulous. Friendly owners, the place to myself, and stunning views from the sauna - including northern lights on display! 

Going back south I decided to drive as far as I could during the day and let the conditions (mine and those of the road and traffic) determine the stopping point. I made it back in 13 hours, on a leisurely drive (once I got over the initial hiccup of the engine overheating - probably ice in the cooling system), a gloriously sunny Saturday, and with the help of coffee and lots of podcasts and music. Stoked!

  A simple edit below of some footage along the way (music: better days - bensound.com).

Snowed under

Snow, and lots of it. According to the locals, this year’s snowfall has been off the charts. The mountains are covered, endless white mountain vistas in all directions, and more coming every week, making it a perfect winter wonderland to play in. Grateful to be up here in Grövelsjön to take it all in.

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