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I like to call any backcountry skiing achieved before Halloween "beating the pumpkin". We got some good snow as early as October 10 in 2009, and the last two years were so desperate as not to really count, but this year...
We got about 30cm (1 foot) of snow in Trondheim before the weekend, and had already made plans to head for the hill before it came in. After considering various options we decided (once again) to go to a drive-up hut called Bårdsgarden in an area called Storlidalen, not far out of the ski town of Oppdal. This would put at us at over 600m/2000ft, in position for moisture to find its way in form the coast, but with some not-too-steep tour options for the early season. We (me, my wife, daughter, dog, and our new friend Liz) decided not to drive in the snow and dark on Friday night, and so arrived at the hut at about lunchtime on Saturday. After moving in and a quick lunch, we headed up a farm road behind the hut. There were still some heavy snow showers coming through, and we (especially Ralphie) were surprised at how deep the snow was.
We skied down a protected gully in fluffy snow that was waist deep in places.
A bit too deep for Ralph -- he and my daughter sat out the second run at the hut.
A herd of domestic reindeer awaited us at the top.
After a comfy night at the hut, Zoe, Liz, and I headed up a 1500m peak called Nonshø, while my wife and Ralph took a couple more powder runs behind the hut -- Ralph is getting a bit old to go all day in deep snow. We picked Nonshø because it is not too steep and the approach is on slopes that are at least partly protected from westerly winds, allowing snow to accumulate.
Breaking trail turned out to be not too bad. Her Liz moves up onto the drift/cornice that defines the final ridge to the top.
Liz on the last stretch to the top.
Zoe nears the top.
Views from the top.
And looking back up at the summit. You can barley see our tracks on the slopes under the summit, far left.
From there it was a quick, pleasant run followed by a bit of slogging to get back to Storli. We got down at about 3:30, leaving plenty of time for the drive back to Trondheim.
That was easily the most/best snow I have ever skied in October. Now we're in for some warmer weather, but i think the snow in the mountains should settle in to a durable base for the rest of the winter. Long live winter!