At the end of January, and the second week into our winter term, we took our first winter camping trip together. The theme of the week was Utrustning Vecka, where we had the opportunity to test out our skis, skins, sleds, and all of our warmest gear for the cold weather. And the cold weather delivered.
We started our trip outside of Dikanäs and skied out to Matskan. We headed out Monday afternoon on a clear and still day with -25 degrees. We planned to be out four nights, spending the first night in tents, and the other three in quinzhees, where we build up a snow pile, let it settle and dig out the inside creating a snow cave for 3-4 people. One quinzhee collapsed during construction, so one group had an extra night in a tent, though one brave soul decided to sleep out under the stars! The quinzhees proved to be much warmer and more comfortable than our tents when the temperatures sank so low.
The biggest challenge for all was dealing with the cold with temperatures that week, dropping to -30 to -35 (depending on who to ask). We did have some good luck with almost no wind and the temperature warming up later in the week. Activities planned for the week included ice fishing, toppfågeljakt, avalanche transceiver training, and a day tour on skis. We had to scrap the ice fishing because no one could sit still waiting for the fish to bite in that cold. Instead we focused on staying warm, eating properly and keeping an eye on one another for frostbite.
It was a tough week, but everyone learned a lot on cold weather survival and is eager to head back out again. The biggest disappointment of the week was that the newly renovated bastu was not finished when we came home on Friday, but it is working fine now!