Hans-Henrik Grøn sent us a video a few days ago, of one day spent exploring Tromsø, Northern Norway. Mad with jealousy, we asked him for some more information on when and where this happens. Turns out this day wasn't a one off. He's done a great job of selling us on yet another place we'll just have to visit. The video is right here, and his words and pictures are below.
Arctic Winter from Hans-Henrik on Vimeo.
It was a new day in early January in the small city of Tromsø, Northen Norway. Drinking my morning coffee, watching out of my window, I could see wind on the sea. That meant this was going to be a good day – I was going kiting. Even if the sea provided me the weather report, it was not on the shore I was going to pump my kite. I was going snowkiting on the mountains of my backyard. Tromsø is covered with the white magic from November to June and is surrounded by great snowkiting spots. Within 15 minutes from the city center you can find four amazing areas. On this day, I went to Arntuva, a 15 minute hike on randonee skis before pumping the kite. Kroken is another spot and comes with a ski lift. Fjellheisen one can reach with a gondola lift and the last spot, Finnlandsfjellet, has a nice plateau one can kite up to after just a small hike. All four spots are on the mountains from 200 to 600 MASL. In other words; epic view.
If you drive for 2 hours you come to the neighbor country Finland. There you can go on endless kite expeditions in the wilderness. The best starting spot for long distance kiting is Kilpisjärvi. Trips with the kite is fun, pack the sledge with tent, clothes and food and then go for days into the wilderness in super speed only snowmobiles can match. Who knows, maybe you find the perfect flying hill where the jumps get so high that they are now measured as minutes in the air rather than meters.
The cool thing about winter is that the snow transforms the wild mountains into huge playgrounds that you can explore with your kite. It creates natural kickers, cliffs to jump off and mountains to climb. Arntuva is a spot perfect for big boosting and small soft flying trips down the hills.
This time of the year it’s quite dark in Tromsø. From the end of November to the end of January the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon. The period is called polar night, and although it’s dark most of the day, some say that polar light would be a more suitable name, because of the intensely beautiful light and colors on the sky. This definitely adds to the unique kite experience you can get here in the far North. It was like that also on the day I went to Arntuva and made the video, the sky was red, pink and orange throughout the whole session.
The polar night also opens up for an even more epic adventure; to kite under the stars, moon and northern lights, which provide enough light so you don’t need a flashlight. It’s amazing, should be on your bucket list!
Even after two months we start to wonder if the sun will ever come back, it never fails to return. After the comeback the light hours of the day start to increase rapidly and when summer comes, the sun is up for two months straight! And because the region around Tromsø has nice spots on water as well, that means you can kite in the middle of the night with the sun shining on your face.
The nearest water kite spot is Langnes, 10 minutes drive from the city center. This spot is the most used water spot we have and here the wind blows from big-kite sessions with 6-7 m/s to small-kite sessions in stormy conditions up to 20 m/s year around. If you like steady 10 m/s, sun, sand, wakestyle/freestyle and flat water, yes Tromsø has that too. The summer spot, Breivikeidet 40 minutes from town. The spot has a kilometer-long beach, a big flat lagoon and thermal wind. Every year the local club arranges a Midnight Sun Kite Festival in Breivikeidet (June 16.-18. this year).
Tromsø is special in the way that almost half of the year, it is possible to kite both on water and snow even on the same day. Surrounded by sea and mountains and having variable seasons it’s a place that provides great kiting experiences all year around!
Tight lines and good wind.