Ash Skis Beyond the Polar Circle - Lyngen 2019
We begin the polar adventure somewhat commercially by visiting the famous Swedish ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi. This is primarily a tourist's treasury, but for someone who has been building igloos and similar structures from ice and snow since early childhood, it is an interesting peek under the cover of more successful competition. The ephemeral beauty of the art cut into the ice, which they gain in large blocks from the neighboring river, is captivatingly charming. We certainly will not forget to toast in the ice bar made of shots made of the same ice as the whole hotel. It is one of the few locations where you can take the dishes with you in peace and quiet, and certainly do not need a dishwasher.
Slightly frozen we move to night to friends Lenka and David to Kiruna. A city that never caught my eye in the summer, but in a freezing winter under fresh powder, it surprised me with its hard-to-describe sparkling atmosphere. It is like a child's imaginations of reading about prospectors in the far freezing north. In order to engage the last impression we were given, we went with our hosts to a selected venue for a delicious dinner and a beer. Reindeer, elk, salmon, mushrooms that are grown in local galleries, Norwegian cider and Scandinavian beer. How better to tune in to a short adventure beyond the Arctic Circle? And yet it works. A greenish auroral glow flashes gently on our way to bed. The eyes of the dead, as the Sami believed. Perhaps this is a good sign for us.
Early in the morning we pass the north gate in n.p. Abisko and along the way we pick a nice line where we can smell our ash skis for the first time in the snow. I'm just getting out of the car, so I'm lying both wide and long. The road is clear ice, after which all cars whistle through the nineties, as if they did not murmur. Kozel does not hesitate, he is screwing old shoes on leather boots and is already showing figure skating in the middle of the main road between Kiruna and Narvik. The rest of us are gluing the climbing strips to our caves and hooray to the slope. Horny like a band of sailors outside a tavern after three years at sea. Poor Ondra who wanted to shoot us. By the time he prepared everything, we were left with only blowing snow. The conditions were not quite ideal. The terrain alternated with frozen plates with puffed snow without any order and we rolled on wooden skis without metal edges as soon as possible. But which does not fall rides under its possibilities. Pity only the broken skis after rebound into the bed lined with too deep snow. It wasn't the best present for my birthday today.
In the evening we are resting in a private house near Trude and Roy on Lyngen Peninsula in Norway. 2800 km in the car, 17 hours on the ferry and today's first frolic in Abisko teased us nicely and so we give just one fast for sweet dreams and go to bed. Buch, buch. Who can it be? The door opens and Roy shouts with a smile. "Boys get up and lubricate the pier, the Northern Lights start!" I don't want anything at all, but which fellow would just sit at that moment? I don't. The auroras seemed to build a luminous bridge from us to the opposite shore of a small fjord, illuminating the snowy slopes of the Lyngen Alps, which I had been looking forward to for so long. So I call it a welcome and the right birthday present. Toast with Pepa, nicknamed Ash, who celebrates the feast for a change, and together we can't get enough of that celestial light show. I don't know about the others, but I stood there full of impressions long into the night and felt reborn.
It's finally here! Our new yankees (powder caves), which we made with Kozel inautumn, cut their first prints into the snow. This time, we better tame our passions and do not rush up. Maybe because there's something to look at. After all, the Czech man is not entirely accustomed to looking down from the snowy slope at the rippled waters of the fjords, biting into the landscape of wildly carved rock massifs. Although my jašky were willing to climb up uncompromisingly, I prefer to traverse in peace so that I can constantly watch this natural wonder, which is constantly changing before my eyes. This is due to the changing perspective, but also to the play of light. The sun, hovering low above the horizon, burns its scattered clouds and alternately illuminates the various objects of our attention, just as the spotlights do on the theater stage. Every now and then, another remarkable detail of this harsh landscape plays a major role. Deep greenish fjord waters, sharp spikes of rocks with veils of swirling snow, endless whitish hillsides, red harbor houses on the opposite shore, or the reflection of a blown ice plate in the summits, intensified by an indoor phenomenon that has circled a beautiful ring of light around the sun. I feel like Alice in Wonderland and only the last thing to fully fulfill my dream is to descend from the slope towards the Ullsfjord. So I take off the climbing belts, tighten leather boots, beanie a little more to the forehead, use bamboo to jump into the jump and then just in the air to direct the ashes perpendicular down the steep slope. The first two arches to catch the right rhythm and already my planks cut one delicious arch after another, like a sharp knife into soft butter. Fantasy, euphoria, just a dream come true. The flying snow wraps wool socks and corduroy three-quarters, and I float on a snow cushion between stray rocks and rocks, until I fall to the lower positions of the sparse stand of small birches from which I make slalom goals. My legs are already burning like monk, but I can't interrupt the graceful ride as long as I stay on my feet. I randomly weave between the birches, the longer telemark arch on the clearing and then the capillaries, jump over the bulge, quickly bend under a thick branch and sharply to the left in front of the steep bank of the stream. That was all about it. Further playing among the tribes, the clearing rides with self-denial with completely stiff thighs and again jump into the thickets. But where is the previous lightness and dexterity? I catch a textbook spitz-dog on a birch tree trunk and my chin carries a deep furrow in the deep snow. Such a spectacular ending of a wonderful ride reminds me remarkably of the final climax. I lay there with my face buried in the white duvet, breathing sweaty heavily, and my closed eyes re-project the pleasures of pleasure. These are the short, unforgettable moments of happiness that enrich my life.
I make four such unforgettable days full of skiing by taking pictures around the lighthouse at the northernmost tip of our peninsula, where nature has shown us an incredible theater. At first, a black cloud drifted off, from which 20 cm of fresh snow fell in a moment, which also covered the shores exposed by low tide. This made the landscape, along with the incoming rays of the sun, something wonderfully white and unclean. The surrounding turbulent and foamy sea was doing everything to get rid of the white duvet from the coast, and the dramatic sky driven by the wild winds illustrated the scene. I froze at the spectacle, but I haven't seen a more breathtaking sunset. I am screened in the evening while I bask in the sauna standing next to the pier overlooking the entire massif, where we left a lot of imprints of our ski and laughing faces.
To delay the sad parting to the north, we enrich our way back with a stop at the Finnish lake Kilpisjärvi, where we give the caves a third of Finnish snow and Kozel is testing whether it is possible to carry out snowkiting on our wooden heels. Wonder wonder, you can. And not only that! The next day he tame the same dragon above our heads, even with the prehistoric battering put on his leather boots, on the frozen Gulf of Bothnia around Umei, Sweden. The engagement of historical and modern equipment turned out without losing the flower. The first Šlajfkaiter is born.