A Winter Trip warm-up, but there was nothing ‘warm’ about it.

This week we went on a basic winter trip– our first of the season. The stips organized this three day trip in order to introduce us to what a typical winter trip will be like. You could call it a warm up, but as I said, there was nothing warm about it. Temperatures were around -16 degrees Celcius– that, combined with the moisture of this part of Norway, equals COLD.

I'm ready

We began by hoisting our oversized backpacks on our backs, while keeping balance with skis on our feet. After a short two hours we reached our base-camp destination.

Once at our destination, it was time to start making it an actual base-camp. We began by making a ‘snøklokka’ which is some type of snow structure (we later slept in.) The next task was to stamp, (stomp… tramp… I don’t know the technical term,) down the snow in the tent area. THIS TOOK FOREVER. After a while I decided to count the amount of steps the area was lengthwise: nearly 600 steps. If I do some rough math, that means we did at least 5,000 side steps, (counting each foot, but still.) When we were finally done flattening the area, we set up our tents.

This was the kind of weather that required movement in order to stay warm. As soon as I stood or sat still for more than 4 minutes, my toes and hands froze. While waiting for our evening meeting to begin I thought my toes were going to fall off. They were so cold, and hurt so badly. The meeting began with a 2 minute silence. Sigrid suggested looking up at the beautiful stars, or at the flickering flames of the fire. I began looking up and the clear sky. ‘Wow, the stars are so beautiful’ I thought, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from thinking, ‘Wow, my toes are actually going to fall off.” So, I redirected my vision down to the fire. I posed the question, ‘would it be more painful to be standing on that fire, than it is right now with my frozen toes?’ I tried to convince myself it would be, but I wasn’t quite sure.

Cold night

I woke up the next morning to a frozen sleeping bag, frozen shoes, frozen food, frozen water, and basically frozen bones. But regardless, it was time to ski! Around 12:00, we stopped to make lunch. We broke into groups and made snow holes in order to shelter ourselves from the wind and bitter temps.

The second night was not as bad. Although everything was still frozen, my spirits were higher. We slept in the snow, which was a thousand times better than the tent.

Despite the cold temps, the one thing that never failed to put a smile on my face was the sky. We had beautiful blue skies the last two days. My fingers froze in the process, (I really need to get some photography friendly gloves,) but I managed to capture our beautiful surroundings.

I have to say, I was rejoicing as we reached our busses and piled in to head home. The sun was shining, making everything look beautiful, (which is why I just had to capture Marte’s eyes.)

I learned a lot about living outside in the winter, so hopefully I will be better prepared next time. Stay tuned to find out!

*All photographs taken with Olympus Tough TG-2*

What’s in the bag(s): How to pack GEAR for a year of (cold) adventures

As you might know, it is common for travel bloggers to post about what they bring on their trips. This edition of “What’s in the bag?” actually covers more than one bag. I only wish I was badass enough to go on a year-long trip with one singular bag. Don’t worry, I will not go through every single item of gear packed away. Let’s be real, no one has time for that.

Disclaimer: I am in no way advising you what to pack and what not to pack for this type of trip. This is an experiment by a very unexperienced winter-climate traveler. Come mid-winter there will be another post detailing everything I was wrong about bringing/ not bringing.

What’s more logical than to start with the bags themselves?

My backpack: REI Women’s Crestrail 65

Although I have yet to take this pack out on the trail it proved to be my top choice after trying on many different packs. I am not crazy about the color, but hey, it could be worse.


My ski bag: Athalon 180cm Single Padded Ski Bag

It took me a while to realize “single” meant one pair of skis. I just couldn’t figure out why someone would need a bag for one singular ski…


Smaller Backpack: Ortovox Thunder 35+ Climbing Backpack

With the lovely red, white, and blue I’m showing both USA and Norway pride. Two birds with one stone.


Daypack/ normal backpack: DaKine Heli Pro Snowsport 18L Backpack

It’s safe to say I am set on bags. Three backpacks might seem excessive but bags are definitely my weakness. This fashionable little pack has ski and ice pick carrying capabilities. Oh and a very handy fleece-lined goggle pocket. How cool is that?


Along with the various bags, my upcoming year requires other gear that can become very pricey. After hours of sale shopping and deal finding I have checked most things off my list. By primarily using Sierra Trading Post and Backcountry I managed to purchase most of my gear at an appealing 70% off. Not to mention, Backcountry has free two day shipping and a lifetime-unconditional return policy!

My Skis: Women’s Rossignol S3

I know nothing about skis, but my Norwegian cousin suggested these for the type of alpine touring skiing we will be doing.


Ski Bindings: Dynafit TLT Vertical FT Binding

Who knew a piece of (small) equipment could be so expensive? Even at 40% off these bindings set me back the most. I am hoping they will make me ski like a true Norwegian!


Ski boots: Dynafit TLT5 Mountain TF-X Alpine Touring Boot

A new ski purchase wouldn’t be complete without a pair of boots! Once again I know little when it comes to boots, but these came highly recommended.


Watch: Highgear Axis XT

My grandparents told me to pick out a watch for them to buy me as a graduation present. After a lot of time searching for the perfect watch I found this beauty from Highgear. It was important to me that it remained small while having key features such as a compass, altimeter, and barometer. My decision was validated when I read the article in Outside Magazine: The 4 Best Watches of 2013.


Sleeping Bag: Marmot Women’s Ouray

This sleeping bag sure does have it’s work cut out for itself. Let’s hope it will keep me toasty warm throughout the night while I sleep in an igloo or under the open night sky. At just over 3 pounds the Marmot Ouray will be light in my pack which was important for me as I shopped for gear. This bag is normally nearly $300 but I got it for a steal on clearance at REI. I have to say, I am quite the bargain shopper.


Alright, that is enough gear-talk for now. As time passes, and I actually get a change to use all of this crazy equipment, I will have a better understanding of whether this gear is worth the buy. Stay tuned for a “What’s in the bag(s): How to pack CLOTHES for a year of (cold) adventures” posting!