The lack of winter in western Canada this year made people fast forward to spring activities. Most of my friends are already into biking and their skis have been packed away. To be honest, that would have been my case as well. (Well not the mountain bike but the dirt bike)…
Conditions in Golden have been springlike for the last couple of months. But I knew we would get our fair share of winter when we booked our March trip to Northern Sweden.
The search for snow is always a hot topic and it’s funny how it was the search for snow that brought me to Canada in the first place.
I grew up in Kiruna, a medium-sized mining town above the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden. I didn’t start skiing until I was nine and my first turns were on the local ski hill in Kiruna. A few years later our school started to arrange ski trips to Riksgränsen and that’s how I got introduced to this remote mountain. Riksgränsen has a spot in my heart and it’s a place that I love to come back to.
When I was packing for this trip, I was wondering up to the last minute whether or not to bring my skis. I knew I would regret not bringing them but unless you have travelled with two kids on a cross atlantic trip by yourself, you wouldn’t know how intense it is.
So after some debate, I left my skis and I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to ski. When I arrived in Kiruna and saw the snow levels I called up my friend and said let’s go to Riksgränsen and see how it is. Let’s find some gear and make this ski weekend happen.
It was with excitement my friend Ulrika and I pulled up to to the Riksgränsen hotel Friday afternoon. Snow banks were high and locals were talking about a record breaking year. Not since 1994 had there been this much snow!
We checked in at the hotel and went to the famous apres ski at Grönan. After that we tried the relaxing spa and went and sorted out our ski gear. We were ready to, and super excited to ski such a fun resort in good conditions.
Saturday morning we woke up to clear skies and a decent dump of new snow. You couldn’t ask for better conditions, especially since so many of our memories from Riksgränsen involved flat light and hard winds.
Untracked soft powder in the morning. Cold and clear air. It was as fun as I remembered it. In fact I think it was even more fun than I remembered .
We couldn’t stop smiling as we skied around the resort.
Riksgränsen is such a playful mountain, not as big as many Canadian resorts but it is famous for its mini gullies, natural wind lips, rock and cliff bands. The whole mountain is a giant playground. The terrain itself has shaped the local skiers’ and snowboarders’ style.
You just can’t help getting excited about the terrain. Even my good friend Ulrika started to follow me around and doing small jumps.
We both agreed that this mountain is for all levels of skiers. You could easily take your whole family here and everyone would have fun.
Two chairlifts take you to the top and you can do quick laps all the way down or ski down to the backside and take the tow lift from the base at Nordalsidan.
Then there is always the option to hike Nordalsfjället and ski back into the resort. If you chose to go up here, make sure to inform yourself about the avalanche dangers and pack equipment accordingly.
I’ve done many trips to Riksgränsen and this was definitely one of the best ones.
We left with a taste for more.
Next time I think it’s time to try heli skiing.
* * *
Here’s a quick photo gallery from the Extremskidåkning NM, a yearly freeski event that happens at Riksgränsen in May.
All photos by Mattias Forsberg.
The resort is located on the border in between Sweden and Norway, 130 km from Kiruna and 50 km from Narvik, Norway.
6 lifts (2 of them are chairlifts)
For more information and current snow levels go to Riksgransen.se