This weekend marks the beginning of the third edition of N60°- The Norwegian Challenge and we cannot wait to get out there. The weather seems to be playing ball this year – huge snowfalls have resulted in perfect snow conditions and temperatures ranging from -5°C to 0°C means it will not be unbearably cold at night and will be great text for the ski and hike stages. Wind, which was our biggest issue last year (gale force winds meant George made several night time checks of the guy ropes to check the tents weren’t going to fly away!), is looking to be no more than a light breeze.
As with all adventures, you need to expect the unexpected, and this year a 2,500-strong herd of reindeer has provided just that. They are migrating right across our route and as protected animals we are not allowed to disturb them with snowmobiles, and nor would we want to given their stature! Fortunately, and thanks to our incredibly knowledgeable local Norwegian team, we have created a new route that heads east from Hemsedal into an area previously unexplored by IGO, which is hugely exciting.
Some of the IGO core team are heading out tomorrow, a day ahead of the participants, to oversee any last-minute preparations and meet the local team. There’s a host of things to do, from checking we have all the snowmobiles we need, familiarising ourselves with the new route, and stapling small orange flags to wooden stakes that show the participants which way to go. We’ll be checking in with our medic Sverre, guides Rune & Helmut and also our kit suppliers at MOH Sport who provide the ski touring equipment. Sizes have all been sent ahead so it’s simply a matter of turning up, trying it on and taking it away with us for training and the event. They replenish their kit each year so it’s always fun checking out the latest stock and admiring what they’ve got! Otherwise most logistics are sorted; the lavvu tipis with their wood burning stoves will provide warmth and comfort for the participants each night we’re in the wilderness. We have a couple of fantastic Norwegians – Jan & Axel – who are responsible for transporting camp from place to place on a flatbed truck with more gears than an Ironman bike.
Our base in Hemsedal is the Skogstad Hotel for the weekend, where the team will get to know each other and their equipment before heading into the Nordic wilderness on Tuesday for the first stage – ski touring! We’ll return to civilisation on Friday evening with enough stories to keep the kids entertained for months.
Follow the trip on our Instagram and we’ll send round an expedition report once we’re back.