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Après in Norway

Post-game beer in the land of reindeer.
By Brigid Mander
posted: 05/13/2012
ApresinNorway_TH_2012

The reindeer head, the one hanging from the ski rack, is staring at us. Our gaze meets from the street outside a bar in tiny, isolated, Lyngseidet, Norway. Skis plus a reindeer head seem inviting enough, so we climb the stairs, and step inside the Stigen Café. We meet a blast of bright ski clothes, a flurry of languages, and a room full of smiling skiers.

Above the Arctic Circle, all day, people venture out, climbing and skiing the seemingly endless selection of peaks. They gather here at the Stigen for beer, sustenance, powder stories, and to escape the isolation of Norway’s Arctic landscape.

We order a couple of Mack beers, brewed in nearby Troms­ø, and settle in by the café’s small fireplace. Before long, we meet the owners, Patrik and his wife Henrika, who float around checking on people. Conversation brings local beta on conditions from an ex-Exum guide turned engineer on a Norwegian oilrig. Next we chat about the snow and classic Lyngen ski lines with backcountry skiers from all over Europe. 

We came to this tiny Arctic hamlet in the midst of an expedition with Boreal Yachting. By using a 46-foot yacht we can reach inaccessible peaks and couloirs from the beach, climb them, and ski May powder back down above sparkling fjords. Sebastian—one of the crew—recommended this hub of arctic activity to us. It’s easy to see why.

It’s a surprise in a town so small and sleepy, we quickly passed through it this morning, walking from the dock to a snowy trailhead. It doesn’t seem like a place to stay and explore. Here it is though—a short walk up the hill to the Magic Mountain Lodge—complete with beer and après-ski action.

It’s a worthwhile excursion. The happy excitement of the guests and after-ski crew is palpable, and almost the same après scene as anywhere else. Everyone is mingling, exchanging information on where they skied, avalanche observations, and the conditions on different peaks. Almost, but not quite—one glance out the window fixes that. We can barely tear ourselves away after a few hours. It’s not often you have to push yourself to return to a new, 46-foot yacht.

Consolation is sweet, however. Next we sail to the island of Uløya to climb powdery peaks, and ski in ethereal light. But we can’t forget the impression Magic Mountain Lodge had made—the next trip to Norway will warrant more than just a few hours.

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