åre • the l argest ski resort in sweden • winter 2012
i n t e r n at i o n a l e d i t i o n
ungroomed Easily accessed and spectacular off-piste at Baksidan.
F r e s h ly g r o o m e d Björnen’s super pistes — family area and carvers’ paradise.
a dv e n t u r e s From dog-sledding and jibbing to mountaineering and kite-skiing.
John Crawford-Currie Johan Bexelius
Mattis Karlsson Erik Mossfeldt
John Crawford-Currie Mattis Karlsson Tobias Liljeroth
Jörgen Vikström Johan Weimer Håkan Wike
Mattias Fredriksson Gösta Fries
Robert Henriksson James Holm
Mattis Karlsson Jonas Kullman
Johan Marklund Erik Olsson
Rickard Westin tr ansl ation
Klartext Eva Henricson Magasin Åre is an independent product, published by Magasin Åre Publishing AB. Magasin Åre is a registered trademark. Opinions presented by individual writers may not necessarily correspond to those of the editors. Even our own opinions may differ from the editors’. We assume no responsibility for unsolicited material.
editorial contac t
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830 14 Åre – Sweden + 46 (0) 647 135 40
intro Åre • The largest ski resort in Sweden • Winter 2012 cover m at tias fredriksson
What’s the real worth of a place? Superlatives? Statistics? What it measures up to? Not if you’re a thinking person. The real worth of a place is always character — the sum total of not just what it has, but what it aspires to, who lives there and how it feels. Åre lets us taste the northern latitudes — whether that means the isolation of our mountain village, Lapland’s native Sami culture, the sweep of the fjalls to the horizon, wilderness, wildlife, or the endless winter tug-of-war of powder and sun. But it’s far enough south to maintain ties to urban and pop culture, with a range of contemporary and traditional dining, and nightlife rivaling the best of the big city. So depending on what we’re doing, Åre might seem a little bit of Stockholm or St. Moritz, a tad London or Whistler. We might be reaching, but we’re not comparing. What makes Åre unique among a range of larger, more glamorous ski resorts is that it has never tried to be anything but itself. It’s unpretentious about its many attributes and comfortable in its skin. Which translates to a special place — with character.
photo jonas kullman
Events we think you should experience this winter.
FEBRUARY RED BULL CRASHED ICE Imagine hockey, ski cross and roller derby mixed together in the
same sport. Now maybe you have an idea of what Ice Cross Downhill and the event Red Bull Crashed Ice is all about. With thousands of cheering spectators 64 skaters will battle for the finals. The course has hockey boards along the sides, lots of jumps and hard turns makes it even harder to reach the finish. It’s almost 500 meters long, and drops near 70 meters. Get ready for high-speed action with many spectacular crashes. For 10 years Red Bull Crashed Ice has pulled hundreds of thousands of spectators in nine countries so far. This winter Crashed Ice is coming to Åre. A gladiator game of our time, and you do NOT want to miss it! 4 |
9-10/3 Audi FIS Ladies Ski World Cup races
Åre is again welcoming the fastest female alpine ski racers in the world. Unless we’ve miscounted, this will be the 73rd time that Åre is hosting FIS World Cup events. Something other Scandinavian ski resorts only can dream about. What matters, however, is that they’ll be here again this winter racing in slalom and giant slalom, a chance to catch these races live. — wo r l d c u pa r e . c om
photo red bull | gösta fries | mattias fredriksson
9-10/3 FREESTYLE FIS WORLD CUP Lunacy springs to mind when you watch these athletes casually adjust their goggles before skating downward, picking up speed and hitting the first solid mogul. While alpine racers prefer a steep, rockhard course akin to a sloping ice-hockey rink, the mogul crews build themselves mounds of snow the size of Morris cars. The course, set in Åre’s steepest piste, Slalombacken, is about 210 metres long and 22 metres wide, with a super-steep gradient of 26.5 degrees. Like we said, lunatics that you need to see to believe — and appreciate. — wo r l d c u pa r e . s e
9-11/12 Snow, tests and parties
The official start to the new season. A skiand snowboard-testing weekend with all the latest products on site so you can touch, flex and test your way to new favourites! For those who have the energy, 54 hours of around the clock skiing is available; torchlight parades, fashion show, animated après-ski, and a pulsating nightlife are also on the agenda. The second weekend in December has become a tradition for which the saying “everyone is here” actually rings true.
22-29/12 A true (probably) White Christmas Enjoy the great Christmas
atmosphere around days filled with skiing and concluded with good food and leisurely time by the fireplace. Meet Santa and his entourage at Åre Square. Capped off by a New Year’s party that traditionally writes new history.
Weeks 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 Family weeks in Åre Björnen Bring the family to enjoy a great week in Åre Björnen. The weeks are packed with activities and competitions for all the members of the family. — skistar.com/are
Weeks 3, 4 & 5 Studentkortet Skiweek Åre 2012 These are the
students’ weeks in Åre, featuring the funnest
winter sports events for students from the Nordic countries — Sunday to Thursday during weeks 3, 4 and 5. Have fun in the snow, breathe cold mountain air, enjoy the activities, challenges and competitions. Or just make new friends and explore Åre’s nightlife! — s k i s ta r . c om /a r e
Week 6 RIX FM Week The crew from the breakfast show RIX MorronZoo and the artistic elite of Sweden take over Åre. The whole week is filled with fun competitions and activities. The RIX FM week affects the gigs at après-ski as well as in the clubs. r i x fm . c om / fj a l l e n —
Weeks 11-13 Adventures, Epicureans’ & Family weeks
Visit s k i s ta r . c om for more information.
29 march - 1 april The Nationals, Freestyle For the first time skiers
and snowboarders battle (separately) in all disciplines at the same event. Moguls, skicross, snowboardcross, bigjump, slopestyle and halfpipe. Get ready for some action!
Weeks 14 & 15 Easter in Åre
21/4 Skutskjutet 2012 Take part in the world’s greatest downhill race for all the members of the family. Sign up with friends for the team competition or in one of the other 25 classes. Generous prizes and Scandinavia’s greatest après-ski party at Åre Square. Magasin Åre’s exclusive weather forecast promises bright and sunny. — s k i s ta r . c om /a r e
26/4-29/4 Freeride 2012 Enjoy great skiing on Mount Åreskutan which has been transformed into a giant playground for jibbers and other ski aficionados. 28/4 SkiStar Hot Dog Challenge
Don’t miss this re-enactment of the untroubled 1970s! Will you be entertaining, mingling or competing? The choice is yours. Great après-ski in Snobbrännan at Fjällgården. — s k i s ta r . c om /a r e
1/5 Swapping seasons The last day of skiing for the season. Make some nice turns in the 1,000-metre piste in the morning followed by downhill biking down Kälkspåret in the afternoon. — skistar.com/are
The weather, the late light, the peak, the snow, the skiing, the food,. This is as good as Easter gets. — s k i s ta r . c om /a r e
The calendar is preliminary and subject to change. Also, new events are continuously added. Visit skistar.com or are360.com to find a current and updated list.
Photo nicklas blom
10 minutes 1 from Åre town Square
Ullådalen - a serene oasis and Sweden’s nearest wilderness area This is the valley of the Norse ski god, Ullr, with the crystal clear river (in Swedish ‘å’) bubbling underneath the snow; hence the name Ull-å-dalen. Ullådalen is vast enough to offer a genuine wilderness feeling — even for those who have visited remote Rapadalen in Sarek, way up in northern Sweden. Still sufficiently small to feel safe and get to know, even for beginners whose only experience of mountaineering is confused nocturnal rambles between the Club Bygget and Åre town square. Located between the imposing peaks of Åreskutan and Mullfjället with the Skäckerfjällen massif on the horizon, Ullådalen is a giant in its own right, though a rather timid one: no sharp formations and no brutal, alpine aesthetics; only a soft, undulating, white Eldorado for ordinary folks hoping to relish its pristine nature. Ski-touring or cross-country skiing? Pack a picnic or enjoy delightful waffles in Lillåstugan? Three-day bivouac tour or half an hour of skating on refrozen crutrail just before après-ski? Whichever you choose, it works in Ullådalen, ten minutes by car from the busy center in Sweden’s greatest ski resort. � About 14.47 minutes if you’re an elite road cyclist in the summer; about 4.58 minutes if you’re driving an Audi RS5 and have a history as a downhill ski racer.
photo nicklas blom
Sylarna is probably one of the best known Swedish massifs, although the actual summit lies in Norwegian territory. The quick and easy access with a mere 16 km of gently sloping marked trail from Storulvån means that this area is one of the most visited in the Swedish hills. Climbing the Syltraversen Ridge in good conditions entails no major difficulties, but because it’s an alpine environment, weather and wind that may swiftly change the situation must never be neglected. Irrespective of conditions, the equipment should always include crampons, ice-axes, ropes and anchors for snow, ice and rock. As early as the late 1800s there was significant alpine activity here, and the summit of Syltoppen was reached for the first time in 1885 by two Norwegians, Peder Steensaas and Albert Ravnö. The year 1899 saw completion of the first alpine climbing adventures when Folke Wancke climbed the ridge above Templet — the route that would later be called Syltraversen — and made a trip across Slottet. The first climb of the Sylväggen wall also took place this year, accomplished by a Brit named Joseland. The easiest way to start the climb is from the righthand side of Templet, moving up towards Tempel Ridge and following it to the first pinnacle. The last bit to the top of the pinnacle is where most climbers strap in for the first time. From the top, what remains is a brief abseil down to another two pinnacles and an unaided — but easy — walk to the Djävulskammen (The Devil’s Ridge) which will take you up to Sylhammaren. From here there’s another tricky part where the climbing is easiest at the far edge of the Sylväggen face and the precipice down towards the glacier. Once you’ve arrived at the 1,762-metre summit, the views are spectacular. In good weather all the peaks — Åreskutan, Helags, Bunnerfjällen, and the trio Getryggen, Tväråklumpen and Storsnasen — are easily within sight. The fact that you’re standing on a high peak is obvious; a mere few metres in front of your feet the Sylväggen wall drops abruptly towards the glacier while on the other side the slopes drop steeply en route into Norway and Lake Nesjøen. Retreating downhill, the trail leads in easy terrain across Mt. Lillsylen; here on the ridge between the peaks you should carefully avoid the treacherous snowdrift. So keep far to your left on this westerly slope. The tour takes about eight hours and should be regarded as a reasonably tough day trip, requiring the appropriate skills or the company of a guide. It’s still one of the best activities available in Jämtlandsfjällen. p h o t o d e n n y c a lv o
The Copper hill Despite a somewhat shaky financial start, Copperhill has gone on to become a landmark and an obvious part of Åre’s grandeur. Hovering atop Mount Förberget in Björnen, the hotel is designed by world renowned architect Peter Bohlin. The views may be some of the most scenic in the hills. The warm, sober interior atmosphere accomplishes the feat of impressing and creating ambience. Copperhill tempts with heaps of reasons for visiting, ranging from culinary to spa sensations but if that’s not enough, you can always do a round of the hotel’s banisters. They seem to pose a strong attraction on jibber kids, star photographers and international film teams. — c oppe r h i l l . s e
Time for a swim
When the sun relentlessly shines on the surrounding snow clad peaks this is a perfect place to relax in the shade.
When the sun relentlessly bakes the peaks, it can still be pleasant to seek refuge indoors; otherwise you might have to wait a long time for an excuse. During Åre’s century-old history as a winter sport resort there have — believe it or not — been a few days that the TV meteorologists would describe as “bad weather days”. These would comprise one of those rare days when the sun fails to shine from clear blue skies after a night with -15˚C temperatures and heavy snowfall. That’s the time to glide down to the Holiday Club waterpark at Lakeside Åre Strand. Unless for other reasons you’re later able to take part in the year’s first après-beach, or at least after-bath. — ho l i d ayc l u b . s e
P h oto h o l i day c lu b | co p p e r h i l l
Waterfall Tännforsen is the largest lake waterfall in Sweden, as well as the largest waterfall
in Jämtland and one of its most visited attractions. The water originates from the distant Sylarna and Blåhammaren massifs and travels via a few lakes before reaching Lake Tännsjön. From here, water falls freely 37 metres to Lake Noren. During spring flood the discharge reaches 700 m3 per second — not the ideal place for a quiet canoe trip. In winter, huge ice formations build up around the waterfall, which, in concert with
the flowing water, present fabulous shows. Each year igloos are built at the falls. With the use of power saws and other tools, the igloos are furnished with bar counters and chairs. Even glasses for drinking are made of ice. Tännforsen’s igloos feature an event igloo, Boresalen, large enough to seat an audience of more than 100 people on snow stands, and a bar igloo built in the same form but with a level floor. To a limited extent it’s also possible to stay overnight here. When
visiting, you can even try the noble art of ice-sculpturing. Not far from the falls stands one of the oldest tourist lodges in the Swedish mountains; the lodge is attracting more and more people looking for tasty refreshments or a traditional Christmas buffet. Don’t miss out on a visit Tännforsen, especially during an evening, when the spectacular floodlighting will add strongly to your impression of this force of nature. — ta n n f o r s e n . c om photo skistar - jonas kullman
Carvers’ paradise Red or blue? Well, we are not talking politics but something of much higher importance: Skiing, managing the perfect carving turn. The western part of Björnen in Åre now presents some of the greatest carving pistes in northern Europe, red-blue beauties, wide and varied, capable of satisfying even the most discerning carving aficionados. Text Jörgen Vikström
photo Gösta fries
m at t is K a rl sson
Steep? No, not at all but rolling and gentle, wide and, white. This is
a description of Västra Björnen, Åre’s hottest part of the ski area if you like a bit of inspirational carving. The optimal carving setting has been created here, featuring almost unreasonably wide pistes. The width and the gentle gradient trigger the carving technique in both novices and experts: Tuck, skis apart, add pressure and feel the sensation as the skis dig into the corduroy piste. The speed picks up, the belly butterflies intensify, and the skis dig even deeper and better.
You want this to go on forever and it will continue for yet another
while. The runs seem endless and once at the finish, just catch the speed lifts back up again. For another run, and then another. In Västra Björnen the designer has made optimal use of the natural resources to create a varied and inspirational skiing environment, thus inviting a great number of runs. The new pistes are attractively embedded in wonderful forest setting among knotty, windswept birch trees and ancient, giant spruce.
And up above, mighty magnificent Mount Åreskutan towers aloft, treeless, reaching towards the sky, with many more pistes to explore and enjoy.
Västra Björnen is extremely snowsure. The entire area is serviced by a state-of-the-art snow-making system with the new generation energy saving snow cannons. The system is fully automatic and the snow is spread using low-energy snow-gun towers. The capacity runs to 400 cubic metres per hour, corresponding to 33 ISO-class freight containers supplied in one hour. That’s what we call a proper snow dump and on request. And soon you will be able to find accommodation in the middle of this carvers’ paradise. Preparations are under way for a brand new holiday village. Roads are under construction and water and sewage pipes are laid. In April the first of the chalets will be finalised. Only a few of the new chalets will be available this season but before next winter you should be able to book into accommodation in Västra Björnen.
Perfect pistes Gästrappet The best of Åre’s runs, with just the right gradient and not too short. To get the most out of it
in corduroy conditions, make sure to get there first thing in the morning or early for night skiing. It can be done at maximum speed, but remember to watch out at the crossings and keep an eye out for fellow racers. Lundsrappet This piste runs parallel to the VM8 lift. It starts with a very steep section — a fall here would see you glide far before coming to a stop — before the run continues less steeply towards the VM area. The piste is wide and floodlit for classic night skiing on freshly groomed corduroy. Stendalen This short piste served by a T-bar may run a bit off-camber, but it’s still adored. There’s something special that attracts local piste riders to Stendalen, an ideal place to test your new carving skis. Högåsen On the north side of Högåsliften there are some fine, freshly expanded pistes with ideal gradients and few crowds. Take a run here in the morning sun. Tottbacken A long and relatively wide forest run with a good gradient, it runs across terraces alternating between steep and less so. magasin åre
Ski school and guides With absolute devotion and the latest techniques, Åre’s ski instructors help you find the right approach to maximise your skiing. Don’t worry about language problems; Åre’s ski instructors are good at languages with some of them specialising in pupils speaking English, Finnish or even Russian. Group lessons and ski school for children is possible. You can also book a guided tour of the ski area to explore the best skiing in Åre. How about Baksidan’s off piste? Enjoy it with your friends! Choose from many tours we offer. Come see us at Skistarshop or find out more at skistar.com 12 |
photo skistar - jonas kullman
Bright Idea There’s no doubt that Åre is the world’s best ski resort at night. Nowhere on Earth is there greater, brighter and more pleasant night skiing. There are few things that are as much fun as the first evenings of night skiing in Hamrebacken, near Duved. These nights are already possible by late November, and almost always occur on the St. Lucia weekend. During this traditional festival of lights you can opt for round-theclock skiing in Åre. Gästrappet sparkles bright as a diamond while mid-winter darkness settles across the area. With a free “lussebulle” saffron bun and a cup of “glögg” mulled wine in the onslope restaurant Åre Ski In (previously Olympiacaféet), you’ll soon be warm again and ready for a few extra hours of skiing. You may need the refreshment since the early part of the season usually brings cold nights. The dress code of the night shift is well thought out, functional and takes time to grasp. The ultimate outfit
keeps you warm on the way up without sweating while working your way down. Think light yellow goggles, not mirror lens. Rumour has it that the floodlighting system in Gästrappet is so bright that it can be seen from the moon. A few years back, during the 2007 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, several of the technical disciplines were staged here as night races. You might want to stick to piste skis up until the softer snow conditions of springtime. Only a rare few get away with a pair of real fat skis in the lift queue on a fast and firm night in January. (These are either sponsored skiers, people who want you to think they’re sponsored skiers, or simply residents of Åre).
Fighting to be at the head of the queue a half hour before night-skiing starts at 6
p.m. is all well and good, but it’s usually better to leave the real keeners to run ahead while you pick your way through the wave of skiers to some snow that you can keep somewhat more to yourself. It’s all about speed: At this time of day, everyone is king of the hill. There are few occasions when you’re a better skier than at night; the piste is freshly groomed and you can see every single detail in the snow. The night shift always brings freshly groomed snow where every line in the corduroy points straight down the fall line. The piste is one long corridor of light which ends at the base station of the lift. Surrounding you is sheer darkness. You and your mates look like flashes on the slopes. Happy. Liberated.
photo nicklas blom
Off piste The town, the atmosphere, the people, the nightlife; the list of assets that distinguish Åre from other ski resorts is extensive. But the feature that really raises the level is Mount Åreskutan — the peak which, in a very un-Swedish way, towers 1,000 metres above the small town. Here is the mythical “Baksidan,” one of Scandinavia’s largest and best off-piste areas. Tex t john crawford-currie
There are mountains, and there are
mountains — and then there are the “fjälls” of Scandinavia. Mount Åreskutan belongs in the latter category; a mighty chunk of rock standing as a landmark on the West Jämtland horizon since time immemorial. Not clean-cut and chiselled like the Alps, but definitely taller, harsher and more undulating than the gently rounded hills in other parts of Europe. Åreskutan, in fact, is best described as angular and round, soft and hard, forgiving and unsparing all in the same moment.
From Åre Square it’s a thousand vertical
metres to the summit. This isn’t comparable to the tallest peaks in the Alps, of course, but a thousand vertical metres for off-piste skiing is more than enough for even the world’s best skiers. For better or worse, Åreskutan also lacks the glaciers, crevices and dangerous couloirs of taller massifs, meaning that the off-piste skiing here is relatively safe despite the impressive vertical drop.
Numbers don’t make a ski resort, of course, but they certainly give some indication of the chances for good skiing. And in this case, theory matches reality. Åreskutan offers one of Scandinavia’s largest and most easily accessed off-piste areas. Here, on the north-eastern
photo m at tias fredriksson
section of Mount Åreskutan lies the wide, unexploited terrain of Baksidan — Swedish for ’The Backside” — one of the most famous and mythical runs in the country.
There are plenty of off-piste areas in other
ski resorts around the world that are better, larger, longer and more snowsure than Baksidan. But since Åre is Scandinavia’s best ski resort, there isn’t much that compares with Baksidan — an area large, long, and sufficiently steep enough to offer real challenge. And easy enough to reach that anyone can get there without major effort.
This last feature can be a potential problem for the unwary. Like any off-piste area, it’s dangerous enough out there that a mistake in the wrong place may lead to serious consequences. Unless you have full control of your skiing and equipment, as well as good knowledge of backcountry travel, avalanches and avalanche rescue, you’ll be out of your depth in Baksidan and shouldn’t venture out there on your own. Which isn’t to say it is completely out of reach to the inexperienced: simply contact one of the excellent ski guides in the area for a safe tour. It isn’t necessary (nor even desirable) to wait for a day following a snowfall to make
conditions in Baksidan good. What goes on out there — an entirely different world 1,000 metres above the valley — is extremely difficult to predict. Weather conditions that may have dropped 30 cm of loose powder across the pistes on the other side of the mountain may have blown in hard on Baksidan, packing into shimmering snowscapes of rock-hard crust. Sometimes snow will lie deep on the summit though not a single flake has reached the town. When the thermometer shows -20°C at the square, the temperature on the summit during an “inversion” might be an astounding +5°C. And, more often of course, vice versa.
One thing you can predict is that over the course of any winter, the weather on Åreskutan will cover the full spectrum from blasting hurricanes to basking spring sun. Though where and when is anyone’s guess, at least this is certain: to stroll the short bit from the top of the lifts to the summit with skis on your shoulder, then make a long, delightful run in Baksidan and on down to the town via Lillskutan or Östra Ravinen, is an optimal ski experience. Aesthetics, physical exertion, concentration and adrenaline all come in one practical package in Sweden’s largest and most easily reached off-piste area.
optimal off-piste Baksidan The classic off-piste run on Mt Åreskutan. There are several runs to choose from. Stay eastbound from the summit and make sure not to ski to the very bottom. Instead, stay high southbound across Lillskutan and Hällfjället. Continue down to the top station of the Tottliften and back to town. Västerskutan The chunk of rock hovering above you as you’re getting in line for Tväråvalvsliften. Observing the rock-clad slope, dedicate a thought to the Duved ski patroller who, during the 1980s ran the piste in a kayak. We seem to remember it as a painful experience. Skiing here is good and well worth the effort. Wait for the right weather and ask someone reliable for the right route. Östra ravinen Some twenty years ago, this was a radical run; today, just hours after a snowfall it will be transformed into a mogul area. So be there early but take it easy and choose the drop-in carefully; there are various degrees of difficulty. The run concludes with a lactic-acid inspiring run down the Susabäcksravinen to Fjällgården. Read more about Östra Ravinen above. Svartberget Don’t even think about entering this area before you’ve had a good, long talk to someone in the ski patrol. In the right conditions it’s a great run, taking the long steep slopes down Västra Ravinen in big, wide turns. In the wrong conditions it’s avalanche-prone and/or extremely dangerous. You get here from the Tusenmeter lift. The entire slope is skiable but the run gets longer and steeper the further out you go along the ridge. magasin åre
The eastern ravine Or as we call it — Östra Ravin — is undoubtedly Sweden’s most legendary off-piste run. Tex t jesper rönnbäck photo m at tias fredriksson
It’s not because it’s the best or most spectacular run in Sweden. While, under the right circumstances, the Östra Ravin provides for a prime off-piste run it’s neither powder orgies or wildly ticking altimeters for which the tiny crevasse between Musberget and Lillskutan has become legendary. The fame of Östra Ravinen stems from its indisputable status as the foremost test of manhood in all of Swedish freeriding. Along the western ridge of the ravine runs a long majestic cornice. As the season proceeds, the cornice grows bigger and bigger, nourished by snowfalls and Atlantic winds. As we move into April it’s grown so big as to accommodate a minor sports hall underneath. Further up in the ravine, the cornice is transformed into prickly bands of rock, interspersed with icy strings of snow. Below the cornice and the rocks opens a long, f lat field of snow producing an almost perfect landing spot for airborne extreme skiers. Here are features for all skill levels, from novice to international pro — all concentrated into a spectator-friendly hub in the middle of the ski area. Behind the genial design is millions of years worth of weather, continental glaciation, and the stubborn efforts of a solitary brook. 16 |
Ask: Avalanche danger is omnipresent and you should always consult with lift personnel, other skiers, and most importantly, ski patrol familiar with recent weather and conditions. Respect: The avalanche-risk scale indicates the level of risk and even level three (on a scale of five) means a substantial risk. Listen to people in the know and respect the boundary ropes. They’re not there for appearances. Company: In case you ski on your own and are pulled into an avalanche, no one will be missing you until it’s too late. Make sure there are at least two of you, preferably more, when off-piste skiing. Check: Learn where, how and when avalanches develop so that you can avoid them. A rapid change in temperature is an alarm clock. Think: The fact that someone else has just skied the area before you doesn’t imply that it’s safe. Choose less-exposed areas like forest runs and shallower slopes. Turn back if you experience bad vibes. Responsibility: Never tempt inexperienced skiers to go off-piste. Children are just as happy on the pistes. Equipment: Never go off-piste without the avalanche safety equipment: transceiver (a radio transmitter/receiver enabling you to both search and be found), shovel, probe, cellphone (make sure you know what number to dial if something happens) and firstaid kit. Recco reflectors are also recommended as this is the system the ski patrol uses.
Central Åre The action centre
Staying in the heart of the valley,
enjoying the pulse of the nightlife at its hardest and strongest on the Swedish mountain scene - almost around the clock. A ten minute brisk walk will take you around to more than 20 clubs, bars and restaurants of the highest international class. When staying in Åre you are within walking distance of lifts taking you up on one of Europe’s best skiing hills, Mount Åreskutan, with its world-class pistes, the jibber paradise where some of the world’s best freeriders hang out, the upper zone with great slopes and panoramic views as well as the legendary off-piste runs such as Baksidan and Östra (of course in the company of a guide). Åre should be your given choice if you want to stay not only at a ski resort but in the middle of a historic village with a 1 000 year old church, school, banks, several estate agents, open surgery, nurseries, large new train station with a shopping mall, Rotary club and much, much more.
Toppstugan, the highest café in Sweden at the summit of Mount Åreskutan, at 1 420 masl. The hangout in Bräcke parken, where the skier legends of the future are born. Après-ski at Fjällgården. The rebirth of the classic Scandinavian 1980s après-ski events. Night skiing in VM 8:an/ Gästrappet/Lundsrappet: freshly groomed pistes, the best light, and great atmos phere. Don’t forget your helmet and back protection, the pace is quite high. Ski touring. The stunning views in Ullådalen are an attraction in themselves. Enjoy the sunshine and aim for the waffles served in Lillåstugan. Those opting for a longer tour may choose to circle Mt Åreskutan for a few hours of great scenery with a picnic in the backpack.
Upper zone and lower zone If Åre had been left without the upper zone, Åre would have been just another ski resort. Well almost anyway. But instead here it is: in the bare mountain region, above the treeline; a vast white paradise for the most scenic and cherished skiing. The term upper zone is used in
contrast to the lower zone which offers skiing below the treeline. Most of the Swedish ski resorts can only present skiable verticals corresponding to Åre’s lower zone but instead, here the greatness continues. In the upper zone, the outlook is more vertical than horizontal. No more practice, here it’s for real, taking skiing into new, wider dimensions. This is the effect the upper zone brings and the reason why many skiers compare Åre to a ski resort in the Alps. The vastness, the opportunities and the challenges await here on classic off-piste runs such as Baksidan and Östra. Unless you are familiar with these runs, we suggest that you hire a guide before setting off in this terrain. Inexperienced off-piste skiers tend to start on the easier slopes such as the area east of the Tusenmeter piste. photo skistar - jonas kullman
Duved/Tegefjäll Great skiing, smaller format It wouldn’t be surprising if some kind of inferiority complex prevailed in Duved and Tegefjäll before the dominance of the giant sibling resort Åre. Such
a complex would however be totally uncalled for since the quality of skiing in Duved and Tegefjäll matches very well skiing on Mt Åreskutan, albeit in a smaller format. The pistes are generally wide enough to please the most discerning carving skier and most importantly, they run in the fall line inviting continuous runs without forcing the riders to use transport routes. There is much said and written about Mt Åreskutan’s upper zone but Duved also offers skiing in the bare upper zone since the chairlift runs up above the treeline. The views from the unloading station on Mount Mullfjället reach for many miles towards the border mountains, in line with the scenery from Mt Åreskutan. Duved has most of the services you will need during a mountain holiday. Here is a supermarket, sport shops, ski rentals, ski pass sales, on-slope restaurants, picnic cabin and plenty of car-parking space. Everything is within easy reach and you won’t be needing a car, not even to go to Åre, since the ski buses run frequently.
Duved’s greatest runs
Variation for everyone: youth or senior, novice or pro; here you will find good skiing from start to finish in generously wide pistes without any boring traverses.
Our suggestion: Hire a pair of freshly serviced carving skis (unless you bring your own) and catch the first lift uphill in the morning. Proceed to do the best run of your life. We swear this is possible since the Mullfjällbacken piste means pure and genuine skiing joy at its best and greatest. The run starts in the Paradis area where the Paradisbacken piste, west of the chairlift, rolls wide down to the junction above Mellanbacken and the start of the Skistarbacken piste. Paradisbacken Öst runs to the east of the lift but turns westwards towards the said junction. Further down are the pistes Mellanbacken, Dalbacken, Mullfjällbacken and Hamrebacken, and all except Hamrebacken constitute natural extensions to the Paradis pistes. This is what’s so attractive about Duved, the pistes offer the skiers alternatives and makes skiing here more interesting and varying since you may not be running the same piste time and time again. The variations continue as you go to Tegefjäll. Here are some of the best forest runs in all of Åredalen, not too dense forests and a terrain that requires some rider input. There are designate children’s areas both in Duved and Tegefjäll with jumps, rollers and carpet lifts to engage the little ones all day long.
Don’t miss: Millest Moose Farm with elks keenly approaching for a pat. Fjällvallen, Tegefjäll with jumps and rails from easy to intermediate. Magic views of Åre and Mount Åreskutan. Ski touring at high altitude from the unloading station of the chairlift Linbanan and further across Mt Mullfjället and down towards Forsaskalet and Ullådalen. Night skiing in Hamre, the piste which has fostered many of Sweden’s best skiers. Alternatives to burgers, pizza and reindeer fillet. Not a complaint but sometimes you may prefer an Asian stir fry or German sausages. Åre Glashytta. The glassworks in Duved. Come inside to enjoy the heat and watch how to blow glass. Outlet with many attractive pieces in glass. 18 |
photo skistar - jonas kullman
The families’ dream If you are travelling with children and prefer accommodation near the pistes, Björnen is the obvious choice. Here you will find accommodation to suit all tastes
and budgets and a remarkable share of the apartment options are in ski-in ski-out locations. Above everything else, Björnen is the area for families: the pace is slower compared to Åre. No one cares if you stop for a rest or to make a snowman. Here are slopes you need to consider carefully to analyse if there is a gradient at all but also rather challenging pistes appreciated by more experienced skiers. In Björnen is also a thrilling fairytale track where the children can stop to play with the wooden fells’ characters. Björnen also has the best cross-country ski centre with tracks measuring up to 15 kilometres of which floodlit 3 and 5 km. Centrally in the area is the service building with ski rentals, restaurants, etc. ICA supermarket is located in Björnänge at the junction with the E 14 highway.
The kids’ Björnen
Rosy cheeks, hot cocoa and heaps of snow. In Barnens Björnen the heart beats strongest for the little ones. Here the toboggan rollers are just the right size, the playground
is near the lift and ski school is child’s play – literally that is.
The slopes are mostly gentle but there are others with scope for development. All the accommodation options are close so that you can go ‘home’ in the middle of the day without problems. That is unless you prefer to take a break in the picnic cabin in the miniature mining village or grill sausages at the communal campfire. All of Björnen exudes peace and safety, making it easy to fill the days with shared winter activities. An event the little ones are bound to enjoy is the children’s aprèsski. Colourful kids’ drinks are served from a bar of the appropriate height, sometimes with a visit of magicians, clowns or some other kind of artist. The parents are also invited to an adult après-ski.
The 10-km track, ’Milen’ in Björnen. Run the distance on freestyle skis, a great challenge if you are in good form. The blueberry truffles at Åre Chokladfabrik in Björnänge. They have a great variety of chocolate truffles and other yummy produce. The Högåsen area between Björnen and Åre, especially after a night of snow dumping. Catch the first lift and go to Skogis. The pistes were redesigned before last season. A visit to Copperhill Mountain Lodge. A visit to the design hotel is a ‘must’. Choose one of the restaurants for a snack, lunch or dinner. photo skistar - jonas kullman
Duodji Handicraft is an important part of Sami culture. Generations of highly skilled craftsmen, inspired by the colours and forms of nature, the conditions for nomadic people and long-standing traditions, have refined and enhanced the handicraft. Sami handicrafts are even more admired outside Sami circles. Here in Åre, in the middle of Sápmi, the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sami people, there are many ways of sampling the modern and masterly handicraft. Knife by Olov Svonni; 14 500 SEK. Bag in root craft by Ellen Kitok Andersson; 19 500 SEK. Peaked slippers in reindeer skin by Kero; 450 SEK. Necklace by Lena Lundin Skott; 1 250 SEK. Glass plate in the Sami colours from Ateljé Istid; 750 SEK. Thanks to Åre Hemslöjd. Watch out for the reindeer antler!
Some 30 km from Åre is the Sami camp of Njarka Sameläger, a must-visit for those interested in culture and heritage. On a peninsula in Lake Häggsjön, the Mattson family has built an authentic Sami settlement. The aim is to demonstrate the lives of the reindeer-herding Sami people and a visit here entails both insight in the people’s history and their current circumstances. Up until the
photo rickard westin | mattis karlsson
1930s, the Sami people lived in teepees, and this type of building is dominant at Njarka. You can join a guided tour led by Maud Mattson; coffee and “glödkaka” bread is served amidst free-ranging reindeer. You can feed them lichen and have a go at traditional lasso throwing. Don’t miss the chance to gain some insight into the living conditions of the area’s indigenous inhabitants.
Åre’s own Sarah Thomasson finished third in the 1954 World Championchips. Where? Åre of course.
Skiing heritage Chamonix, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Bormio, Mürren, Vail... and Åre. This list represents the only ski resorts to have hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships on two occasions. When we come to considering the total number of World Cup races that have been held in Åre over the years it becomes much more difficult to keep track. Out of this formidable mishmash of poles, gates and medals, the memories of the 1954 championship event still shines the brightest. While the memories of the 2007 WSC quietly fade, the legends of the 1950s still stand in the limelight —Norwegian charmer Stein
Eriksen, Åre’s own Sarah Thomasson, and Frösön’s cannonball Stig Sollander. With the 1954 event, Åre advanced into the staterooms of alpine racing. A memory which will linger even beyond a third WSC event in Åre (we’re working on it). The first time is always be the best. The wings of history don’t slow, but rather, add depth and genuineness to the epithet ski resort; a depth which could not be created through marketing campaigns; a genuineness which is not to be had for money. photo arvid halling
The park is the new heart of the ski resort. No other place within so few square metres is so imbued with the joy of skiing. No venue matters as much as this. text jesper rönnbäck
“What’s the park like?” This is the first question Kalle, aged 14 was asked by his mates upon his return from the mountain holiday. No one at his school cared about how well groomed the pistes were, what lifts were open or whether the sun was shining. His friends only cared about the look of the park. Were the jumps kicky enough? Were the landings steep enough? Was the distance between the box and the dance floor alright? The terms above are park terminology and do not relate to the distance between the VIP room and the nightclub. Readers who failed to understand should not be discouraged, we can hardly catch up ourselves. No worries though: as long as we understand how highly essential Kalle and his mates are for the future of alpine skiing we don’t have to grasp everything. Instead we join the spectators up on the transport route leading to Rödkullen. From here we can oversee the show in Åre Snow Park from ringside. The shadows are starting to set over the park but the late afternoon sun still spreads some tentative light here and there. We have a perfect view over the mighty quartet of launching platforms which constitute the black line. The first jump necessitates an air passage of some 20 metres simply to clear the plateau. The impressive dimensions of the jumps mean that the riders
photo james holm
have plenty of time in the air; rotations of 180, 360 or 540 degrees take time and are easy to make out even for an untrained eye. The best riders are in total control in the air. Some of them leave the kick in the middle of a carving turn and drift several metres sideways before landing cat-like just where the lower part starts to slope downhill. They have no need to move as much as a finger to correct the balance during the air passage. Instead the hands are used to grab the board or skis during the rotation. The consummate slow and relaxed movements give us the illusion of watching tricks in slow motion. The riders look like they are dangling in the air for a brief moment before slowly dropping towards the ground. The sight is athletic, expressive and flippant, all at the same time. The riders simply call it style. We, the spectators find that it makes your hair stand on end in its attraction, spectacular – and actually, believe it or not, very understandable. But as the rotations increase and the tricks pass quicker it gets increasingly difficult to follow. Not improving things is the fact that the rotations often take place in a state somewhere between upright and fully inverted. Sometimes it is hard even for an experienced spectator to grasp what is actually happening in the air. It doesn’t matter though; we don’t
have to understand everything. The main thing is that we understand that the park has become the heart of the ski resort. This is the place where the most important things happen. This is the venue where new skiing evolves. No place else on the mountain, within such a limited space, is so imbued with joy of skiing. No other part of the ski area demonstrates this much creativity. Nowhere else can you find the same wonderful mix of perfectionism and playful futility. Admittedly every single angle may be designed with the help of a protractor, every transition shaped with loving care and every rail kinked for a reason. It is practical and also logical. But what purpose serves a piano and a capsized rowing boat in the socalled wood line? Who on earth has transported these great big things all this way up on the hill? Would not these innocent old objects have been more worthy of a dignified ending in a messy old barn near Ånn – rather than suffer being slided upon and bonked to death by fun-loving hooligans? Why? We ask. Why? Why not? Comes the answer from somewhere behind the giant snow formations in Åre Snow Park. “I bonked a boat. It rocks”, says Kalle. And we, we don’t always have to understand everything. magasin åre
A dv entu res You may have the impression that a pair
of skis or a snowboard is all you need for a winter holiday in Ă…refjĂ¤llen. But in reality there is much more to do here.
S k i -to u r i n g You can find regular cross-country ski tracks in Björnen, Duved, Vålådalen (usually starting in November) and Edsåsdalen (one of the toughest and most scenic 10-km tracks in the area; also home to a biathlon shooting range), while in Ullådalen you can follow some of the finest ski-touring trails up on the plateaus and ridges between the peaks of Åreskutan and Mullfjället. Don’t miss out on the waffles in Lillåstugan! photo mattias fredriksson
s n owm o b i l i n g Rarely speedy events, snowmobile safaris are leisurely, comfortable adventures reaching far into the hills to explore snowscapes that would otherwise take hours to reach on skis. Tours are usually spiced up with stops for refreshments in on-slope restaurants or cafés. Vita Renen on Mount Renfjället is a popular destination for a safari. photo hans wärdell
d o g -s l e d d i n g Whether you prefer a couple of hours, a full day or week-long tour, the local dog-sled organisers can comply with your preferred way to experience the cry of the wild. The terrain around Åre and surrounding mountains is ideal for dog-sledding tours. As the pack runs you through forest the sensation of speed is significant; trees fly past and the sled skids wildly. Beyond that, in the alpine regions, the vast expanses and views to bare mountains provide equally strong impressions. In either case, it’s interaction with the dogs that you will appreciate most. Irrespective of the terrain, they will do their utmost, straining at the harness. Your job is to help push the sled on steep uphill runs, as well as brake on downhills to avoid having the sled clip the rearmost dog. photo nicklas blom
k i t e - b oa r d i n g /-s k i i n g Fly across the snow or ice on skis or snowboard aided by a kite sail; it offers a mesmerizing sensation of speed and freedom. photo johan marklund
more A dv entu r e s Horseback riding There are both hacks and tours organised in winter, on Icelandic or Haflinger horses. The rides bring you through frosty forests, over paths and minor roads perhaps to sites where you make a campfire, coffee and enjoy a good lunch. Ziplining Can you imagine swishing through and above the treetops at speeds up to 70 km per hour? Though you’re in the air, you’re as safe as it gets. Securely strapped in a sling, hanging from a one-man cableway, ziplining is certain to stir both your senses and the butterflies in your stomach. Tobogganing There are toboggan runs and then there are toboggans runs; here we’re talking about full speed down a twisting, floodlit course alongside the funicular, Bergbanan. You can borrow a toboggan but make sure to bring your own helmet. Paragliding You can be initiated into the sport high of paragliding through a tandem flight with an experienced pilot. Mount Åreskutan offers first-rate gliding, and so Swedish paragliding has its national centre here in Åre. Without a sound you’ll swoop down and over town, dizzyingly crossing the cable car’s tallest pylons as they rise far below you. In Åre you can also acquire a basic paragliding license — meaning you can fly on your own. Should you choose to pursue this ultimate freedom, you’ll be tutored by the best and most experienced instructors in the country. Ice- climbing In Duved, icefalls develop on which you can practice the alpine art of ice-climbing. Using ice-axes and crampons, you make your way up a vertical wall of ice. Not only does this require raw arm strength but also litheness, cool nerves and excellent coordination. The courses are organized by experienced guides, who also offer advanced tours to venues such as Lunndörrspasset that feature icefalls several hundred metres high. hillcarting Just like a dirt-cart but without an engine, you’ll rail down the slopes at full speed. Those who loved boxcar racers as kids will instantly take to this. magasin åre
Ti m e to relish You’re on vacation. The boss isn’t expecting you to turn up for work tomorrow morning. The chances for a great night out are rarely as good as here in Åre, so take the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and make the most of the buzzing nightlife. Åre’s selection of restaurants is hard to beat. There is no cuisine too specialized to be served in one of its many restaurants. And yes, fresh shellfish is on the menu in the mountains as well as local specialties such as ptarmigan, reindeer and well-matured cheeses. Those who like gourmet food can tickle their taste buds with inventive, delicious creations, whereas those looking for hearty, well-prepared skiers’ dinners will also be happy and satisfied. Åre town has the widest selection but Björnen, Tegefjäll and Duved also have high-class family restaurants. 30 |
photo erik olsson
The pulse of nightlife in Åre beats to the same rhythm as mega-party cities like New York, London and Moscow. It’s virtually impossible to find the time in a single vacation week to visit all the clubs and bars. You’ll have to return to Åre again and again to cover it all. There is nowhere else in the Swedish hills where you can you carry out such serious bar rounds, nowhere else where the nightlife is as glittery or drinks stirred as well. Åre’s live stages serve up everything from groovy cover bands to schlager artists and rock legends. The conditions for a great night out on the town couldn’t be any better!
From cosy fireside hugging to boot dancing, Åre has regained its position as the best venue for après-ski. The après-ski phenomenon — hereabouts called after-ski — is awesome, tempting, often remarkable, sometimes repelling, and, on top of that, controversial. The saying goes that the Swedes invented après-ski, but this is a ridiculous statement. On one hand, it’s impossible to say where the first sip of glühwein was imbibed after a day on the slopes or who first took to the dance floor clad in leather ski boots. On the other hand, it seems indisputable that Swedes invented the senseless “vulgo after-ski” that the tabloids are so fond of describing. The phenomenon started in the Alps, invaded by Swedish ski bums who were not only capable of setting off avalanches on the mountain and working nights cleaning, but also partying as if every day were the last. Later, with the newly awakened Swedish weakness for charter tours to the Alps,
things hit new lows. Coaches loaded with sports-holiday vacationers ran in caravan along Europe’s autobahns with duty-free shops their prime destination. Tombstones were overturned and hotels vandalised. This full-tilt party model was also inherent in summer resorts such as Magaluf and Ibiza, where the Swedes were feared by both trance dancers and the rowdiest of British football fans. Officers of the Swedish police had to board flights to retrieve our no-gooders from French prisons. The tabloids loved it and the Swedes were collectively barred from half of Austria. The situation in Åre wasn’t quite as bad but still a spectacle; at Tott and Dippan, the level of partying reached such unimaginable heights in the 1980s and 1990s that foreign ski magazines travelled here to document the phenomenon. Celebrations continued at the same level as in the Alps,
but without the trouble and vandalism. Then, suddenly, it all calmed down. A quieter, more urbane and, at most, slightly crowded after-ski took over. Frothy glasses of beer and comfortable armchairs seemed the proper reward for a skier’s exhausted body, and were certainly more dignified than ski-boot dancing. But something is happening out there again — the tumultuous after-ski is re-emerging. Not in its previous delinquent form, but more sweaty, unstructured and celebratory. It’s been years since the skiwear-clad party princes and princesses wobbled home around midnight in their ski boots, but they’re making a return. This much-missed sight means that Sweden — and Åre in particular — is once again the best choice for after-ski life; this time offering a full spectrum from boot dancing to fireplace cuddling. photo robert henriksson
Get in the mood for Åre’s outstanding local specialities by trying these out in your own kitchen. recipe lisa wallin
photo erik olsson
Pot-au-feu with Arctic char Stock 4 shallots, 1 carrot, 1 piece of celeriac, 1 fennel, 1 large bouquet of dill, 4 bay leaves, 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 tablespoons of dill seeds, 5 white pepper corns, 3 dl white wine, 13 dl fish stock. Preparation Peel and chop the onion, root vegetables and the fennel, cook lightly in rape oil until soft but not brown. Pick the dill from the stems and put aside. Add the dill stems, thyme and the rest of the spices to the pot. Pour in the wine and reduce by half. Add the fish stock and leave over medium heat until half of the liquid remains. Strain the stock through a fine mesh. Vegetables and fish 1 large carrot, 1 piece of celeriac, 1 savoy, 1 fennel, 1 lemon, 700 g fillet of Arctic char. Preparation Dice the carrot, celeriac and fennel. Remove the leaves from the savoy, cut off the root and shred the leaves. Slice the char fillets in suitable pieces and fry in butter over medium heat. Keep warm. Bring the stock to boil and then add carrot and celeriac. Leave it boiling for 1-2 minutes. Add the fennel and let it all boil for 1 minute. Finally, add the savoy and leave to boil another 1 minute. Grate the lemon rind on the finest section of the grater and add to the soup just before serving. Squeeze in some lemon juice. Arrange the fillets on soup plates, add the soup and garnish with coarsely chopped dill. 32 |
with funnel chanterelle dressing and deep-fried beetroot Burgers 1 loaf of leavened or other farmhouse bread, 700 g of minced lamb, 4 shallots, 1 clove of garlic, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 dl water, 1 dl grated dry bread, 4 eggs, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Preparation Soak the dry bread crumbs in the water. Chop the shallots and cook with the garlic in a little butter without browning it. Mix with the breadcrumbs. Add the minced lamb. Leave to soak a little. Dressing About 50 g dried funnel chanterelles, 1.5 dl water, 1 dl sugar, 0.5 dl acetic acid (12%), 1 dl mayonnaise, 1 dl crème fraiche, 1 tablespoon honey, chopped chives. Preparation Boil the water, acetic acid and sugar. Pour it over the dried mushrooms and leave for 15 minutes. Chop the chives finely and mix with mayonnaise, crème fraiche and honey. Remove the pickle from the mushrooms, chop finely and mix into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Beetroots 8 large beetroots, 2 L oil for deep-frying. Preparation Peel the beetroots and grate them coarsely. Place on kitchen towel and drain carefully. Heat the oil to 170˚C (test with a piece of bread). Deep-fry the beetroot for 3-4 minutes, until they colour nicely and leave to drain on new kitchen towel. Add salt before serving. Serving Toss a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach in two tablespoons of olive oil, spread on toasted slices of the bread. Arrange a burger on top. Spoon the dressing and top up with deep-fried beetroot.
When you want to brew up a cup of cocoa, your level of ambition can be measured by the time available, where you’re located and how eager you are. You can of course use powder, or make the extra effort and add chocolate block. In Åre however, you can attain the ultimate result with a specifically developed product from a local entrepreneur. Åre Chokladfabrik has widened its portfolio of delicious chocolate truffles to include finely ground drinking chocolate. Simply mix it with hot organic milk, top it off with lightly whipped cream and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon. — a r e c ho k l a d fab r i k . s e
Onion 3 large onions, 1 tablespoon butter. Preparation Chop the yellow onion finely (save the bits you can’t chop), and fry in butter on low heat for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Potatoes Peel 1.5 kg large local potatoes; dice and leave in cold water to remove the starch. Drain the potatoes and leave to dry on kitchen towel. Fry diced potatoes over medium heat in rape oil and butter. Add salt and pepper. Horseradish crème 2 dl crème fraiche, 1 tablespoon honey, grated horseradish according to taste. Preparation Mix crème fraiche, horseradish and honey. Season with salt and pepper; use an electric whisker to whip until firm. Meat and gravy 800 g reindeer fillet, 3 junipers, 1 dl red wine, 1 dl veal stock. Preparation Dice the meat into 1 cm squares and fry quickly in butter over medium heat until browned outside. Keep warm in the oven at 50˚C. Add the left-over onion to the pan together with the junipers and fry until browned. Add the wine and reduce until half remains. Add the stock and leave to blend. Season with salt and pepper and strain through a fine mesh. Serving Arrange potatoes, onion and meat in separate piles, spoon some gravy over the meat. Dip a tablespoon in boiling water and form an egg of the horseradish crème, serve with one yolk of egg each.
No, this is not about moonshine, peatreek, poteen or Schwarzgebrannter. This is pure, high-quality aquavit. At Buustamon Fjällgård, one of Sweden’s few legal house distilleries, they produce an herb-seasoned aquavit that you can order in their restaurant or other bars in the area. Some of the products are also available at Systembolaget (the offlicense). — b u u s tamo n s fj a l lga r d . s e
anything is possible
When it comes to skiing, he’s travelled the world and seen it all. But Leslie Anthony could see himself living in Are.
lives in Whistler, considered by many to be the world’s best ski resort. This is fair symmetry since Anthony is probably the ski world’s bestknown and most reputed author and journalist. His background includes Managing Editor of the American ski magazine Powder and founder and Creative Director of Canada’s most progressive equivalent, SKIER. His just-released latest book is White Planet: A Mad Dash through Modern Global Ski Culture. It’s no exaggeration to say that he has visited most of the ski resorts worth mentioning in the world. So when he says he would consider moving to Åre, he means just that.
The first time I came to Åre, I took a taxi from Ostersund airport. The driver, a large man with a red nose, was nice, if a bit eccentric. As we drove along the shore of Storsjön, he told me about fishing and hunting and growing up on an island in the middle of the Great Lake. He also told me there was a giant monster in the lake, and that he had seen it several times. I was new here, and ready to believe anything. I nodded, smiled and stared out across the cold, steely water. There was a womb-like comfort in the lapping waters, the sweep of birch and pine forest, and the land that rolled up to the horizon like a carpet bunched in the hall. Signs warning of marauding moose picketed the roadside, and tidy cottages in clean, countrified Scandinavian style rose and fell from view. A creeping familiarity took hold of me. As we drove into Åre, I distinctly remember thinking, “I could live here.” Nothing I experienced that first visit did anything to change my mind and everything to reinforce it: Skiing soupy May snow and gazing out from the peak at the broad; snowy highlands to the west and north; watching a crazy jump contest under the molten glow of late-evening sun while winter was chased from the valley by the heat of spring; raccoon-tans and smiles staring from every quarter; outdoor parties, good food, cool people; life as simple celebration. I’ve been to Åre several times since, and each has made me more certain. I could live here. I could live in a town where ancient and recent hold hands around every corner. Where culture and tradition have a place in the march of a modern world. Where people aren’t shackled by history, but acknowledge it with every nod, smile and
action, as if they’re part of something bigger, something great, something that can only get better. I could live where the sky holds the mountains in its hands. Where storms come in low and black, pressing you to the earth and making you wonder aloud what’s going on above. Where you can tramp through wet autumn woods while a brisk northerly tears clouds from the snow-covered peak of Åreskutan like a present being unwrapped. Where one sunny day can make up for weeks of darkness, and clean air and fresh water are a right not a privilege. I could live here, where people laugh and smile not because they feel they need to, but because they can’t help themselves. Where people live a little outside of the world not because they reject it, but because they care so passionately about it. I could live here because I like lingonberries and reindeer and even Volvos, but mostly I like people who might be uncertain about everything else, but very certain about why they live in a place like this. To be part of a family sharing a To Do list of endless possibility. Whenever I’m in Åre, I think of the taxi driver. I know his monster wasn’t real, but it still has meaning. Monsters are an expression of humanity’s most deeply cherished ideas: the unknown, wilderness, and possibility. There’s something in these words we need to believe in. And if we ever actually found a monster, it would be over — nothing unknown, no more wilderness, no more possibility. Some people invent monsters because they want to believe that anything is possible. The rest of us, to make it simpler, just move to the mountains.
photo skistar - jonas kullman
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