Guardians of the Islands

Last spring, 2023, we set out on our annual voyage to Norway’s Lofoten Islands with an adventurous crew of snowboarders, splitboards, touring kit and open minds. We were joined by the photographer, Sam Ingles, who documented our trip which has been beautifully curated and published by the UK’s only print snowboarding magazine, The Reason Annual 2024. If you have ever dreamed of snowboarding in the Arctic circle then this is for you. I’m giving you a flavour of the article in this blogpost. It might just inspire you to read more, purchase a copy of the magazine which has been crafted with love and might just give you the realisation that a trip like this is within your capabilities, give you something to work towards, it’s totally accessible, a most importantly an experience that you would graciously receive and never forget.

Why is the article called the Guardians of the Islands?

“Per founded Kalle lodge in 1990, although the original buildings have existed since 1880. He has now retired and handed the reins to his son Martin, daughter-in-law, Andrea and their children. Three generations of the family live in the two main houses with a collection of smaller houses and a scattering of Roybu for guests to stay in. We start chatting and I introduce him to Sam Ingles, our photographer, who exudes his gratefulness for being here, the beauty of the land and ocean and tells Per that he has a wonderful lodge and place to live. Per responds with some of the most enlightening works I have heard in person.

“We don’t own it, we don’t own anything, we are here in these Islands as guardians, no more no less. They have existed for as long as time began and will continue to exist far longer than we ever will. Our role is to care over the lands and make sure it does not change. We are no more than caretakers, we are the guardians of the Islands.”

It is this ethos and mentality which gives Lofoten its unique and magical status. It does not develop or grow in the modern, consumerist way. It’s not the land that time forgot, it’s a natural land that has been cared for and given status over human consumption. “

Why is Lofoten so special?

“The terrain here looks as though the Alps have grown out of the ocean. The land and seascape join together. Due to the coastal proximity the weather is forever changing as the wind blows it through. You will often experience sun, fog, sleet, light and heavy snow before the sun returns and the wind calms all within the morning of one ascent. 

There is a distinct lack of resorts and lifts. If you want to experience these mountains then it’s all about earning your turns. It is without doubt one of the go-to destinations to experience splitboard touring. You may get less runs down than in a station, but what you do get is a greater connection and experience with the environment as a whole. Starting at sea level and slowly climbing to 1000 metres gives you plenty of time to feel the texture of the snow under your feet with each glide and pole plant, how this can change as you gain altitude, change aspect, flow between ridges and protected bowls. The strength of the wind and the temperature change. The immensity and magnificence of the mountains. It gives you a greater understanding and greater perspective of where you are and how you might want to ride the terrain. This journey for many can be very meditative and bring peace and calm to a very noisy internal voice.”

What does a typical day involve?

“Each day revolves around the weather, the energy levels, food, sauna, swimming in the ocean, checking the surf report, exploring local cafes, talking to other adventurers, meeting the locals and learning about the history and their connection to the Islands, playing Shithead and of course, walking up mountains and shredding down. “

How can I join a trip?

That’s the easy part, just get in touch with us here at McNair snowboarding and we’ll talk through your experience level, building a personalised rider profile of you and give you the options that suit you best. Whether that is gaining more experience with us on one of our unique courses coaching, split mix or backcountry to help you develop the skills and experience, or simply booking directly onto this splitboard touring trip. If you want to get kitted out with your very own splitboard gear, personalised for you’re style and set up, then look no further than The Snowboard Asylum, who also offer great discounts to all McNair Snowboarding clients.

Look forward to riding with you in the future


Next Post
Has Japan reached the tipping point?

Related Posts