A while before we started the trip groups were made after interests. Because I already was in Tromsø last year Alta was the place I wanted to go.
A few days before our trip we started to make real plans. All of us looked up some options and came to the meeting with some ideas. The planning with the model we got took us very long and it was hard to find good websites where we can find some ideas for tours. The difficulty was that we had no idea how the environment looks like and in addition to that we all never planned a trip like that and have no experience with ski touring trips. There were so many things to consider: The actual situation, the mood of all the members, weather, plan B/C/D. After a few hours, we finally had a plan in consciousness that we have to change plans.
Our first day started very early. Our flight to Alta took off at 7.00h and we arrived before noon. It is not easy to travel with that much luggage. We had to take a big taxi, because we missed the bus and we would have had to wait a few hours for the next. The distance from the airport to the accommodation we were staying was not that big, but after a little discussion we all agreed that it is not possible to walk or to ski. After we arrived we got ready for a little ski trip just from the accommodation. We skied in the direction of the city center and ended up in Kiwi to buy food for dinner and the next day. It took us a lot of time in the store and it was hard to agree with all of us buying the food together. At this first day, we didn’t practice that much skiing, but at least we stood some time on the skis. When we were back we set up the tents 5 minutes away from the accommodation. The aim was, to test our gear in this temperature, because we wanted to make a two day tour one day. Setting up the tents took us long too and we set us a goal to improve it the next time. We had to improvise and use the ski poles and branches to fix the tent, because the tent packs were too short. Another thing we didn’t thought about was, that we will sink in to the snow when we will lay in the tents. So, next time it would be better to make the ground flat first. To be prepared for the night, we cooked inside and played some games before we went to our tents. For me, the night was quite cold, but I got a good advice to completely close the sleeping bag around my neck. Before we went to sleep we agreed to wake up each other in the morning as soon as somebody was awake. I was awake early and heard something form the other tent, so I didn’t wake someone up from the other tent. I packed my stuff and after a while we were finished and had to wait for the others. We were very cold just standing around and waiting. The problem was, that we didn’t communicate, so we talked about communication after the night and wanted to improve in the next days. As well as that, we didn’t follow our plan.
The plan for the second day was, to take the bus and ski somewhere else for the day. We wanted to leave at latest 10.30h. After breakfast, inside and removing the tents it was already very late and we changed our plans. We wanted to go up the hill called Komsa next the accommodation. The day task was practicing up and downhill skills. It was not easy and exhausting but we made it. The group sometimes was quite far apart and we realized the difference of the levels in the group. But most of the time all the group members were very supportive and we were motivate each other and accepted that we have to orientate us on the members with the lowest level. On the top of the hill we had a good time with an incredible view. We wanted to spend some time on the top and there was an idea to walk somewhere. We had some disagreement because of safety, but after a discussion all agreed that it is better not to walk that way. After a fun game we all were warm enough to go back down. As well as that, the game had a positive influence on our group cohesion. While we went down the hill, I realized that I prefer to go up the hill. Even if I have experience downhill skiing, I had some problems to go down in the deep snow. I was glad when we arrived down, because I was very tired. Some of us wanted to practice some more downhill skiing and Mel and I decided to just ski a little on the slopes. In the evening, Mel had an idea to have a discussion round. All the members tell what they found good, not so good and what they want to improve. The outcome of the round was, that we want even more act as a group and improve our communication. I think this discussion round about the feelings of all was very good. Even when we talk to each other during the day it is important to know how all the group members are feeling about the situation. This day we made two groups for the shopping. One group was buying food and the other was looking for a map and wax. It’s not easy to organize food for a big group especially for a two day tour. In the evening all the persons were doing what they wanted to do. Some of us were out for a walk, others were digging in the snow with the shovel and the rest was taking a shower. To be prepared for the two day tour we were sleeping inside and discussed about the tour.
Plan for the two day trip: Get up, eat breakfast, everything ready, visit the city center, take the bus and ski to the canyon.
Unfortunately, it was school holiday and the bus was not driving. So, we had to chance our plans again. First, we were all in a bad mood but after we defined a new plan we were exited and looked forward to go on the two day trip. We started at our accommodation and the goal was the hill across. The beginning was on tracks, what turned out to be very helpful. With the big back pack (ca. 15kg) it is very hard to keep the balance. It was harder than I expected also for the legs and the back. It feels like I couldn’t go on and we were much slower than the days before. Because we didn’t have the same pace, the faster members always waited on some point and we shortly checked if all are alright. We went up the hill and were looking for a good place to stay for the night. Sometime I felt a little lost. Because we didn’t have a map and didn’t really know where our goal is no one knew how far we will go. Finally we found a very nice place with a great view. All of us had a job (setting up tents, building a fireplace, find firewood) and no one got cold. Cooking outside for so many people is a challenge. First it was not very organized and I was told to start get ready my Couscous. The problem was, that the sauce wasn’t ready and in the end I had to eat frozen Couscous what tasted like nothing. I was pissed, cold and tired while all the others were raving about the food. They had to persuade me to take another plate and I am so glad they did. I felt very much better after eating something what tasted very good. Around the fire it was very cozy and we had good discussions. Mel suggested another discussion round. This time all of us had to say an orange (good), a lemon (not so good) and a banana (something to improve). The outcome of this round was, that we had a good teamwork, it is nice to be so spontaneous, we found a very nice place and we are all happy even if it was very hard with the heavy back packs and it would be better if all of us could be orientated (difficult without a map). After a while we saw slightly the northern lights. We were all very happy about it and flashed. Before we decided to go in to our tents, we cooked water for all of us, for the night and for bottles we could take in our sleeping bags. I was already in my sleeping bag, when the northern lights came back and started to dance on the whole sky. It is indescribable. Sitting in the sleeping bag, look up to the sky and the green stings changing their shapes, there are no words for it. It made me feel happy somehow. Because of the good advice to completely close the sleeping bag around the neck I was very warm the whole night and slept surprisingly good.
This time we woke up each other and packet our stuff. We started a fire and prepared the breakfast. We always ate oatmeal with chocolate and fruits. The apples were frozen, what was not very good to warm up. While sitting around the fire and eating, we discussed what the plans are for the day. The evening before there was an idea to stay another night at this place, but than we would have had go somewhere to buy more food. I said in the evening, that I don’t feel comfortable with this idea and I was glad that the others didn’t anymore ether. Some of us didn’t have a good night and we were all in an agreement to go back home on a nice way, maybe along the cost. The way down the hill was very difficult. I always fell down and couldn’t get up again with the heavy back pack. The day before we discussed that it would be good if some other persons would take over the lead to practice. We picked one official leader and were following but after a time everybody was just going somewhere. The problem was, that the leader had a bad night and wasn’t very experienced in this environment. We had to take a break and discuss things out. It took us very long and not all of us were honest about their feelings. At this moment, the mood was very bad and we were not really a group. We couldn’t agree on something, so I just took over the lead and went on, even if I had no idea where to go. I was glad to have someone behind me to ask. I felt very uncomfortable being in the front. Than I had the best idea of the day. We passed a Coop and I suggested to go in, that everybody should by something they like, sit down and eat. After that we felt much better and we could speak normally with each other again. We found back to the track, knew where we are and how far we have to go. We were still tired and very slow but our group cohesion was much better and in the end of the day all of us could admit their mistakes or misbehavior. It is impressive how tiredness and hunger influences the group. All the members start to thing just for themselves, what I thing is natural.
. it’s very important to plan enough food for the whole group (more for unexpected situations)
. breaks should be planned, for example every hour
. to have a good communication it is better to stay together as a group, if all the members are far apart, it is hard to communicate
. it makes it much harder to have a trip with people from different levels (the faster members have to wait and get cold and the slower ones get not enough rest)
. skiing with a back pack (15kg) is much harder than expected. It makes you slower, needs more power and downhill it makes you fall.
. tiredness and hunger has a big influence on the group dynamics
. to be spontaneous is something good, but not for a two day trip with -15°C
. if all the members have a job, no one gets cold (discuss the different jobs before the trip)
. good food is important for the wellbeing and helps to ether stay or come back to a good mood