A fierce wind battles with the summit of the mountain ahead, snow flurries and cascades with tumultuous fervour, and Lasse Kjus’ voice sounds over the howling gusts, Just a bit further. We’re high in the Sunnmøre Alps, Norway, traversing the final ridge in whiteout conditions before reaching the summit; a nervous excitement builds within the group.

Our journey started in Ålesund, where Lasse collected our group, which includes Kjus’ Team Riders, Stefan Häusl and Lucas Swieykowski, in his 35-year-old Cessna 206 Seaplane. The temperature is a mild 12oC, rain threatens in the air, and Lasse quickly welcomes us aboard. I haven’t crashed this one before, he jokes.

And so, we take to the skies and follow the fjords deep inland towards Hjørundfjorden. Travelling by seaplane offers such unadulterated views over the Norwegian landscape that it feigns belief. Lasse points to a jagged peak some distance above us. Look up there, he says, momentarily taking his hand of the joystick, That’s where we’re heading later today. Lucas and Stefan glance at each other and smile. It’s clear to see they’re excited.

We land with a steady glide onto the glass-like water of Hjørundfjorden and tie the Cessna firmly to the pontoon. From the back of the seaplane, Lasse pulls out this season’s new skiwear that we’re to test on our one-day adventure into the mountains. As with all Kjus gear, we know we’re going to be well looked after. We change swiftly into our jackets and pants, adorn our boots, fill our water bottles and staunchly head into the mountains.The snow level is at about 600 meters right now, says Lasse, so we’ll need to hike for the first hour or so.

When we do finally skin-up, the clouds have broken, and the radiant heat of the spring sunshine warms our backs. But not for long. The higher we climb, the worse the conditions grow, and by the time we reach the summit, there’s no view at all. Such is the way with mountains, and their unpredictability is what keeps pulling us back for more.

We’ve earned our turns today, bellows Lasse over the howling wind, Let’s ski! A chortle erupts form the group as we all hurry to strap our boots, zip-up our jackets and press our feet firmly into our skis.

Lasse leads the way, and as we career down the spring powder at a blistering rate, the clouds open once again, as if to praise us for reaching the summit.

Though the climb was long and the descent short, there’s no greater way to experience the mountains than on skis.

Exhausted but ecstatic, we reach Hjørundfjorden once again and board the rugged Wyvern av Ålesund sailing yacht. We travel across the fjord as the onset of dusk darkens the sky above. In the distance, we make out the glow of a fire beside the fjord, and as we approach, we see a goat sizzling on a spit above it. A cheer sounds around the group and we eagerly disembark.

While supper is readied, we have the opportunity to relax after a long day in the mountains. Axes are thrown, jokes are told and beer is consumed. With the mountain we climbed just hours ago as our backdrop, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a moment of reflection, a moment in which to appreciate the end of a perfect day.

Words by Hugh Francis Anderson
Hugh is a freelance writer specialising in adventure, motoring and luxury lifestyle.