Safer Skiing in Norway — Great Minds Think Alike

Post by blogger | December 4, 2018      
Safer Ski Touring in Norway

Safer Ski Touring in Norway

When we published my Easy Colorado Ski Tours book last year, I was thinking it was a total anomaly to the worldwide guidebook landscape. At best, the book would sell moderate numbers, at worst I’d be the butt of mean jokes –“the guy used to be a ski mountaineer, now he’s a wimp.” I never heard the jokes, and the book did better than moderate. So I was happy and moving on to other projects, thinking it was fun to do something different, but would we ever see another English language guidebook focusing on safe, easy routes you could live to tell about?

Seems we have a trend happening — that is if you count two “safe tours” books as a social movement. Seriously, when I saw Nordhal and Sande’s new book, Safer Ski Touring in Norway, I thought “Great minds think alike,” and began dreaming of new editions and fun “research” for my own mini-tome. More, I began entertaining disturbing thoughts such as “another trip to Norway, easy to find the right tours for Lisa and I…”

The Norway book is more of what we’ve come to expect from Fri Flyt publishing, and authors Nordahl and Sande. A guidebook couldn’t be any higher quality: oblique color photos of every route; legible maps; GPS chords (in easily keyboarded decimal minutes format); excellent translation to English from the 2016 Norwegian version. While I’ll need to visit Norway to actually test the book, I don’t have much on the criticism side. They could have done away with a short and soon dated “Equipment” section in the back. Moreover, a lengthy avalanche safety treatise in the front material seems redundant as one can now find so much of that in venues ranging from other books to the internet — not to mention avalanche education programs.

So, the verdict is easy. Here we have fully 111 Norwegian ski touring routes where, as the subtitle says, “you can avoid avalanche terrain.” Clearly, we’ll need to visit Norway and test that premise. Meanwhile, if you’re having even the slightest tiny little Norwegian fantasy, and are not interested in cheating death but instead intentionally avoiding it, this book belongs in your home. And eventually in your carry-on.

(As of this blog post, the book is not on Amazon, but we expect it to appear shortly.)


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17 Responses to “Safer Skiing in Norway — Great Minds Think Alike”

  1. denis December 4th, 2018 9:04 am

    “you can avoid avalanche terrain.”

    I can understand wanting to avoid avalanches, and I have had some outstanding days of “meadow skipping” in the proper conditions, but why would I want to avoid avalanche terrain? 28 degrees and up is where the fun is. Den

  2. hoser December 4th, 2018 10:09 am

    @ Denis,
    ” but why would I want to avoid avalanche terrain?”
    Because sir, the easiest and arguably best method of avoiding avalanches is avoiding the associated terrain altogether. You can still go out and have an excellent tour even in times of elevated avie hazard. Also it can be alot easier to find “proper conditions” for meadow skipping than high angle shredding.

    It’s not an all or nothing prospect either. As the likelihood of avalanches goes down you can slowly ramp up your slope angles and exposure on the meadow skippings neighboring terrain and just tease around the edges of the steep stuff before fully commiting to the center of a slide path. Too many people fixated on the steep and gnarly exclusively these days IMO.

  3. denis December 4th, 2018 2:06 pm

    @ hoser,
    I think we have a problem with semantics. Conditions versus terrain.
    Avalanche conditions and avalanche terrain are two different things. For avalanche conditions to happen, one of the things necessary is to be in avalanche terrain. The other conditions are weather and snowpack. If a person is aware of all the conditions then the decision to ski avalanche terrain can be made with statistically insignificant consequences. You talk about teasing your way into the slide path, then you are most likely in avalanche terrain. You can avoid avalanche conditions by going out when there is no snow, but your ski experience is going to be pretty marginal. I guess I should have asked if they were really having skiers avoid anything over 20 degrees, That to me is avalanche terrain. The best way of avoiding avalanches is to stay on your couch. Den

  4. John Yates December 5th, 2018 12:02 am

    “decimal minutes format”? Not decimal degrees?

  5. etto December 5th, 2018 7:09 am

    Minor typo, the name of the publisher is Fri Flyt, not Fry Flyt. (loosely translates to free flow)

  6. Shane December 5th, 2018 9:05 am

    @denis, “why avoid avalanche terrain”?

    Per your second post, sometimes I feel like skiing when avalanche conditions make it unwise to venture into avalanche terrain. Sometimes I feel like skiing alone and don’t want to worry about or assess avalanche conditions. Sometimes I’m skiing with newbies and don’t want to put them on avalanche terrain for similar reasons. Those are reasons to avoid avalanche terrain.

    This all seems pretty obvious to me.

  7. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2018 9:22 am

    John, example of the book’s GPS coord style: East 163837.89, North 6823052.678, is that for sure “decimal degrees” ? Thanks for the help.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2018 9:22 am

    Thanks etto, fixed.

  9. paul December 5th, 2018 11:56 am

    To Denis – there are those of us who are crummy skiers but who enjoy getting out in the mountains and traveling over the snow. I am one. I plan my routes to avoid avalanche terrain – no matter what the conditions. Under 30 degrees is my mantra. And with a multi-day pack, I can’t really ski anything over that except for desperate survival methods anyway. Having crossed the Sierra with this approach I can assure there is plenty of fun to be had on the lower angle slopes – at least for me. Your tastes are different and that is fine, but I expect there are quite a few folks out there who will appeciate guidebooks like this.

  10. Matt Kinney December 5th, 2018 11:57 am

    How can you learn about avalanches or avoid/recognize/feel the hazard without entering and experiencing avalanche terrain? That leaves behind a vast void of experience and fun.

  11. Jim Milstein December 5th, 2018 12:04 pm

    Looks like UTM, Lou, certainly not degrees.

  12. Mike December 5th, 2018 1:55 pm

    Those are UTM coordinates. Much better than lat longs if you can think in meters. You’re missing the UTM zone. Maybe 31N?

    +1 for guides to safe tours!

  13. Lou Dawson 2 December 5th, 2018 2:49 pm

    I thought they were UTM, but don’t recall UTM having a decimal point! I’m aware that UTM is simply the number of meters from the prime meridian, and the equator, correct?

  14. Pat December 5th, 2018 6:23 pm

    I would love a book like this focused on BC/Yukon!

  15. Bruno Schull December 6th, 2018 12:26 am

    Hi Lou. UTM coordinates are calculated as the number of meters from the equator, and from a meridian in the center of each UTM zone, not the prime meridian. To avoid negative numbers, for example, on one or another side of the equator, these reference lines are set to large numbers. Like so much else, once you begin getting into the details, it gets messy. I’ll leave the question of why there are decimal points in these coordinates to others with more experience.

  16. Jonny December 6th, 2018 3:57 am

    The gps coordinates are EUREF89.

    You can put them in here.

  17. John Yates December 6th, 2018 7:54 am

    Those are probably UTM coordinates. gives the UTM coordinates of Oslo as 597982.786777603 east, 6643115.72599838 north. Most of the southern part of Norway is in zone 32. A small sliver, the western most part, is in zone 31. Northern Norway is in zones 33 and 34.

    For each zone the easting is measured from the east/west center of the zone, but to avoid negative numbers, the center of each zone is defined to be 500,000 meters East. There is a similar arrangement for northing values.

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