Page 10 - 2016 AMA Autumn
P. 10

                                 Ex DRAGON’S
By Martin South
As any avid back-country ski video fan will know, at the top of Scandinavia sits one of the most famous back-country ski areas in the world – the Lyngen Alps. This area has a superb variety of ski-touring and mountaineering terrain, and so was the venue for 14 Sig Regt (EW)’s Ski Foundation 3 and Ski Leader 1 development exped. By means of a good word from SSgt Richie “Bergführer” Simpson, I was able to secure the skills of that very rare breed, a Ski Mountaineering Instructor in WO2 (QMSI) Geordie Taylor, yes readers, the Geordie Taylor to teach on DRAGON’S TROLL.
After flying to Norway, the exped stayed overnight in Tromsø at the Viking Hotel, which gave the juniors an opportunity to experience Norwegian prices for food and drink. It was whilst looking at a picture on a glass in a restaurant LCpl Dave Gomez realised “we’re inside the Arctic Circle!” Over 220 miles inside the Arctic Circle, Dave. The Norwegian weather certainly didn’t disappoint, and it snowed fairly heavily that evening. A good indication for the conditions the exped was to have for the week ahead.
Although the journey from Tromsø to Lyngseidet is nearly 2hrs, it continued to snow which made for carefully driving to the car ferry at Breivikeidet. The Arctic experience continued at the ferry crossing, with a couple of the juniors opting to remain in the cars on the ferry, rather than enjoy the arctic snow, wind and fog on the fjord. The journey across to Svensby on the Lyngen peninsula only takes approx 20mins, and the cars were soon off-loaded for the journey to Lyngseidet. The views of the Lyngen Alps on the drive to Lynseidet gave the exped a good idea of the sort of terrain that they would be tackling throughout the week. The scenery was absolutely stunning; a hybrid of being very Scottish-looking, but seeming alpine in scale, or alpine-looking but Scottish in scale. I couldn’t decide which one.
The accommodation the exped booked was excellent, being on the harbour-side by the ferry terminal for the crossing to Olderdalen, to the other side of the fjord. That afternoon was spent at the local supermarket, buying supplies for the week. As exped OIC, I was concerned that due to high prices in Norway, that the
Arctic conditions on the ferry to Svensby
food budget would be tight, but with sensible food choices and careful shopping, the CILOR allocation was comfortably sufficient throughout the week. Apart from Sgt Bez Green spending £18 on nine chocolate bars. He was relieved of shopping responsibilities immediately afterwards.
Russelvfjellet is recommended as an introductory peak to the Lyngen Alps, so it was a good choice for the first day. A fairly gradual initial slope through a thinly wooded area helped with the introduction to skinning, and the use of Alpine Touring skis. The conditions were excellent, which meant superb views out onto the Arctic Ocean when the summit plateau was reached. A short stop at the top, a ski-transition to ‘fun-mode’ (fun for everyone apart from me, as I was already regretting my decision to come off my telemark skis onto Alpine Touring kit, and I would have happily just skied uphill with free-heels for the week). The descent was in quality condition, and LCpl Manon Roberts’ experience certainly showed through, as her skills as a skier put the majority of the exped to shame, as it looked as if she was skiing on different snow to everyone else, as well as looking as if she was in a Crystal Holidays brochure. Upon arrival back at the cars, LCpl Sid Sidwell realised that he had clipped his knee on a ski edge whilst falling- over on the descent. The ski had cut both his trousers and knee, leaving a gash. On return to Lyngseidet, I took Sid to the local out-of-hours clinic for a professional opinion. The duty doctor was a keen climber and skier and as Sid and I were to find out, had a mischievous sense of humour as well. After an inspection and cleaning the wound, the doctor decided to put two stitches into the cut. He then said “I’m sorry to say that your days of skiing in Lyngen are over...” Sid and I’s faces fell, then the doctor added “...only joking! You’ll be skiing again tomorrow no problem!” The doctor was confident that there was no reason to stop skiing, so Sid would be back on the mountain the following day
Not many ski days begin with a journey on a car ferry, but an early start with the boat from Lyngseidet to Olderdalen took the exped across the Kåfjorden to the day’s ascent of Storhaugen. Starting from the churchyard at Bjørkli, a pleasant skin through trees took the

   8   9   10   11   12