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Ski and Sail in the Sunnmore Alps

Underway with the Wyvern of Alesund

by Johannes Wolf 04/17/2018
The cold wind and waves whip the cold sea water into our faces. Everything rocks wildly. Suddenly there's a bang! The fire extinguisher has flown out of its holder! This time one of the many waves has hit us directly. In the cabin, even seemingly fixed objects are now being flung from side to side.

When our partner Devold of Norway invited us to Norway a few weeks ago, I didn't really know what was in store for me. When we arrived at Alesund Airport, I could hardly wait to strap my skis and those of the other participants firmly onto the deck of the Wyvern, a two-masted sailing boat, and set off on our ski touring adventure. The Wyvern, the namesake of our boat, is a mythological species of dragon. And we now feel like we're on a wild ride on a dragon! The swell is so strong that the first of our group already miss the mainland.

Somehow we manage to get a few hours' sleep. When we wake up the next morning, there is complete silence. The sea has gone completely silent. Our captain has sailed late into the night and we are now in the Norangsfjorden, a branch of the Hjorundfjord. The surprise on deck: it had been raining in Alesund, but several centimetres of fresh snow had fallen here overnight!

Unfortunately, disillusionment follows shortly afterwards: the avalanche warning service issues a level 4 warning for the day. There was up to half a meter of wet fresh snow and a lot of wind in the mountains. The mountains around Norangsfjorden are so steep that ski tours are out of the question today. However, Petter, our guide for the next few days, has an alternative plan.

We are told to walk to the nearby Hotel Union in Oye, which is only a few meters away from the landing point. He wants to pick us up there by car in an hour. Until then, we have time to take a look at the hotel, which is said to be a real highlight of the area. When we arrive at the hotel, we see why: built in 1891, the hotel is one of the "Historic Hotels of Europe". The Hotel Union Oye is a museum and hotel in one. You feel as if you have been transported back to another era, which is because the staff also live this era. In addition to numerous royals, Kaiser Wilhelm II also visited the hotel regularly. Even he appreciated the beauty of the fjords winding their way inland, surrounded by steep mountains. As he was a regular visitor, he also had his own room. In addition to kings and princesses, ghosts also visited! These still accompany the tourists and ski tourers who now often visit the hotel. Visitors should definitely listen to the story of the "Blue Room". If conditions permit, the hotel is also an ideal starting point for numerous ski tours, for example on the Slogen.

Today, however, we take the car to a side valley, as the slopes are supposed to be much flatter there. After an hour's drive, we reach our destination, a small, flat mountain. Unfortunately, the conditions today don't allow for much more. As soon as we arrive, it suddenly starts to snow like crazy. After a short time, however, it stops again and the sun comes out. Fortunately, the weather has mercy on us and we can at least briefly catch a glimpse of the sun and enjoy the landscape.

The weather changes rapidly in Norway and the visibility is gone again shortly afterwards. In the white out, we make our turns in the heavy snow towards the valley. Even if the descent and the weather don't play ball, it's always impressive to be out and about in this landscape. Back on board the Wyvern, we enjoy a relaxing evening before setting off on our next ski tour the next day, hopefully in better conditions. As the snow conditions are still no better the next morning, we again need a backup plan. Petter has heard that the conditions are much better a few valleys further on, as the fjords are further away there and it is therefore much colder. So, after a brief planning session, we decide to take the boat back to Sæbø and drive further inland from there.

Powder, pillows and tree skiing

On arrival in the small village of Seljeset, we actually find something like powder. Our eyes get bigger and bigger during the ascent. Perfect terrain, numerous pillows and the light atmosphere make the ascent simply perfect. As the conditions here allow it, we decide to take another summit after the tree line. Once we reach the summit, however, it is so windy that we quickly head back into the trees. Tree skiing at its best: after the first descent was so good and everyone was probably not exhausted from the previous day, we climbed two more times and indulged in one powder turn after another before heading back to our boat.

Back in Sæbø, our captain surprised us once again: a sauna followed by a swim in the Hjorundfjord. While we spent the whole day ski touring, he organized an evening sauna for us at the Sagafjord Hotel, which is right next to the mooring point.

After two days on the Wyvern, our short trip in Norway was already coming to an end - we headed back to Alesund that night. When we arrive in Alesund the next morning, we still have some time before our flight back to Germany. The small harbor town of Alesund on the west coast of Norway is definitely worth a visit. If you've been to Norway before, you'll immediately notice that the houses in the town center are not typical of a Norwegian fishing town. Art Nouveau buildings characterize the cityscape - this was due to a fire that destroyed large parts of the city in 1904. As a lover of this region, Kaiser Wilhelm II had the old town rebuilt according to his own ideas.

In addition to numerous other sights, it is also worth visiting the old Devold of Norway company premises. In addition to the numerous outlet stores, the Devold Museum is also located there. If you are interested in the history of textiles and the origins of the town of Alesund, this is the place for you. Here you can learn about the history of clothing production over the last 150 years. You will also find a wealth of information about the town of Alesund.

This short trip will definitely stay in our memories, the combination of skiing and the fjords alone is something special, but with a boat it becomes an unforgettable experience.


Best time to travel:
The best time to travel to the Sunnmore Alps is between February and May. From March onwards, it is bright enough and the sun can be seen more often. In good winters, there is enough snow until well into May.

Ski & Sail Trips:
62 ° North


Weather / avalanche information
Information on the current weather situation for all regions in Norway can be found at Meteorological Institute. The avalanche report for Norway can be found on the website

Map material
Online map material for the whole of Norway can be found here. The book "Ski Touring In The Sunnmøre Alps" is also highly recommended. There you will find many tours with very detailed tour descriptions.

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

Show original (German)

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