3 activities to try this winter

Ice Fishing

Fresh trout for dinner? Ice fishing is a fun and easy activity that requires very little equipment and prior knowledge. The most important thing is to dress according to the temperature. Most sporting goods stores and many grocery stores have cheap ice fishing kits that work great. You can also contact your local fishing association, as many borrow equipment free of charge. To get started you need an ice fishing rod, ice fishing spoon, hook, bait and a tool to make the hole, e.g. an ice auger or an axe. As bait I recommend live maggots, other options are fake maggot, worms or store bought shrimp.  

Before you step out on the ice, always check if it's safe. You can find all the information you need on iskart.no. For extra security I also recommend ice picks when traveling on the ice. The act of ice fishing is quite easy. Attach the spoon, hook and bait to the fishing line. Release, vary the depth and occasionally lift the fishing rod to create movement. Enjoy the experience! Skitt Fiske! Skitt Fiske is a Norwegian phrase used to wish someone good luck on a fishing trip. However, the literal wording means quite the opposite. 

- Regine Emilie Mathisen

Nordic Touring 'Off Track'

I love nordic touring. On mountainous plateaus, around the Lyngen Alps or just outside the prepped ski tracks. Here are some tips and tricks on how to get started. 

Rule number one: Buy equipment suited for your needs. You don’t need skis that’ll take you to the south pole when the intended use is short day trips. Skis don’t have to be expensive, you can find everything you need for a few hundred kroner in a second hand shop, online or rent equipment for free from local organizations like BUA, Frigo or Skattekammeret. 

There are a few things to think about before you rent or buy equipment. The shoes should provide good ankle support. Light poles with big pole baskets are great for venturing outside the groomed tracks. If you want to go fast downhill I recommend carved skis for better balance. Get the right length of skis, as too long skis can be a pain. 

If you’re a beginner, an hour or two can be more than enough for your first tour. The goal is to want to go back out again. Remember to bring food, extra clothes and a seating pad. It should be fun, provide a sense of mastery and scenic nature experiences. But be prepared and layer up for headwinds and chilly lunches. You won’t always have a great tour, but practice makes perfect.

Good luck & enjoy! 

- Moa Hundseid


Winter Camping

With just a few small adjustments and useful tricks, it can be incredibly exciting to camp in winter, and it’s even possible to stay cosy and (somewhat) warm! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the northern lights too!

Important before you start: Stay away from avalanche starting and runout zones and select a site in a spot sheltered from the wind e.g. behind a rock. Best to dig down through the snow until you reach compacted snow, and spend some time compacting the snow with your boots/skis/snowshoes to make a solid base. Also make sure that your tent ventilation system is not blocked by snow, as condensation is probably the biggest problem in winter camping; Moisture management is key! 

Similarly, it is important to keep dry, which often means packing at least extra gloves and wool socks (hint: change right before going to sleep for added comfort). You can sleep in a hat, wool base layer, and even gloves for extra cosiness. You should also use a good layering system when hanging out around camp (e.g. wool base layers, mid-layer, waterproof shell, large down jacket) and regularly take on/off pieces to keep warm enough, but not too warm! 

A useful tip that I often use is to set a nice little ‘snow-circuit’ to run around when you start to feel too cold. This has warmed me up while I stood on top of glaciers in Greenland at -25°C and strong wind! Digging down into the snow or into snow banks is a good option to hide from the wind, and you will find the inside of snow caves to be both peaceful and surprisingly warm. If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can sleep inside a well-built snow cave (with good ventilation) too!

A good warm sleeping bag, an extra liner, and a thick winter sleeping mat (or 2 summer?) are essential, and you can keep clothes inside the sleeping bag when you’re going to sleep to keep them warm and dry for the morning. You could also fill a Nalgene bottle with hot water before you go to sleep to warm up your sleeping bag like a hot water bottle!

I also like to take some small comforts, as they can make a big difference when you’re cold! Depending on how light I want to go, I take for example: Good coffee and a Moka pot; Inflatable pillow; Hand warmers.

Extra useful tips:

  • If it’s snowing heavily you might want to shake the tent every once in a while to get rid of the snow build-up!
  • Take extra cord to extend the shorter ground-attachments for your tent, and bury pegs (or anything else) in the snow.
  • Bring ski boot liners inside the tent (+ even in sleeping bag if you’re extra keen)
  • Keep electronics in the sleeping bag, to keep the battery lasting until morning.

Winter camping can of course be a fun and adventurous activity by itself, but it is also a useful way of maximising daylight hours for other exciting activities. From a good winter basecamp you can have easy access to complex ski-mountaineering lines, ice climbing routes, ridge-traverses, glacier exploration, etc, etc. The possibilities are endless!

I hope you feel inspired to head out into the snow and try some winter camping for yourself.

Stay warm and safe out there, and enjoy your snowy adventures!

- Calvin Shackelton