Chapter 4 - History, Culture, and Backcountry Skiing in Norway and Sweden - February 17-March 1, 2019
This is the fourth of a six part series on Adirondack Hamlets to Huts Senior Advisor Jack Drury's trip to Norway and Sweden this past winter.
Chapter 4 - The trip to Storulvån
With Sleepy eyes we were up at 4:00 AM and our taxi got us to the rail station with time to spare. As you can imagine there weren’t many people on the 5:00 AM train that took us to Trondheim. During the morning rush hour we switched trains to Sweden and met a wonderful family going to Duvet to alpine ski for the weekend.The family consisting of two young boys and a teenage Italian foreign exchange student. We played a couple of fun Uno games with them. Before we knew it we arrived in Storlien, Sweden where all passengers had to leave the train to get on a Swedish train. Our Norwegian friends, with skis in hand headed on to the Swedish train as they were heading to Åre Duved ski area.
We decided to try to get transportation to our Swedish Tourism Association lodging (known by the initials STF for its name in Swedish) from Storlien. We went into the hotel located right on the tracks. It had an aura of Dr. Zhivago but had the unoriginal name of Le Ski Restaurant & Nightclub. A woman with an eastern European accent welcomed us and offered us the breakfast buffet. When we inquired about the supposed taxi service she said, “Oh you can never count on him. I’ll take you to where you are going.” It turns out she was Bosnian and after a hearty breakfast we loaded into her four-wheel VW van with studded tires and headed down the road. As we got in and I hopped into the front seat Bennett said to me, “I’m not sure she knows where we want to go.” I circled our destination on the map and tried to show it to her but she ignored my pointing of our desired destination and headed down the road.
Given the icy conditions and her aggressive driving I was very grateful for the studded tires. We settled in for our 30 Km ride when before we knew it, she said, “here we are.” Pointing to the map again I said we needed to go here! She exclaimed, “Oh no! You didn’t tell me we had to go THAT far. I have to get back to cook lunch but I’ll get you another driver who can take you.” Thankfully Sonja got us back to the hotel safely where she turned us over to Sasha who evidently had cooked during the night shift and had just woken up. He was friendly and headed down the road apparently comfortable with our desired destination. He started to pull into the same place Sonja had taken us. When I pointed out where we wanted to go on the map once again, he said, “Oh, I didn’t know you wanted to go there. We have to go back to Storlien to get more fuel.” So for the second time we turned back. Storlien is a small ski town that seemed pretty sleepy this morning of freezing rain. Sasha got out and took a number of minutes before he got back in and drove over to another fuel pump. It turns out the VW had a diesel engine. He walked around and around the vehicle fiddling around and finally said to me that he couldn’t find the fuel filler location. I got out to help and he was looking in what I thought was an odd place, the horizontal panel behind the passenger sliding door. By the time I located it and showed him where it was the pump had timed out and he had to go back and re enter his credit card. After what seemed like an eternity we got back on the road and headed to Storulvån Fjällstation. We finally turned off the main highway and headed down a single lane road that had just recently opened. It turns out many of mountain stations are closed in the early winter until around February 15. After about 10 miles we finally come to the end of the road. Surrounded by snow covered treeless mountains sat an attractive sprawling building. We had arrived.