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FJÄLLRÄVEN POLAR 2013

By antsiness on 2013.04.25 In Antsy cool

 

       Sun. Excitement. Cold. Friends. Knowledge. Dogs. Snow. Adventure. Fun.

The experience started with an simple encouragement from Fjällräven on their Facebook page to put in an application for Fjällräven Polar. With my hunger for adventure I started engaging the people around me in the making of a video application. As days went past I had an unbelievable amount of support from both my home village, friends, family, friends of friends and even people I really never met.

My Application

Early April – Ready to go.

My backpack containing two cameras, a pair of sunnies, socks, panties, insurance papers, passport, toiletries, wool socks, money and an extra shirt.

My backpack containing two cameras, a pair of sunnies, socks, panties, insurance papers, passport, toiletries, wool socks, money and an extra shirt.

My backpack containing two cameras, a pair of sunnies, socks, panties, insurance papers, passport, toiletries, wool socks, money and an extra shirt.

  Andreas Karlsson. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Andreas Karlsson. Photo by Joel Forsman.

A lot of the participants had already had a lot of contact through social media and it was a great experience to finally meet all of them – in real life!
It was totally weird seeing everybody for the first time.
But truly the best group of people. Super fun!

 Zdeněk, Vera & Larry. Photo by Joel Forsman

Zdeněk, Vera & Larry. Photo by Joel Forsman

But we wouldn’t be anything without our mentors and our team of support.
Beatrice Rigois welcomed us to the event and gave us an introduction to
Fjällräven and Fjällräven Polar.
Johan Skullman our outdoor guru had lectures with valuable knowledge about staying outdoors in the uniqe area that we were heading to –  the artic tundra.

Johan Skullman

Johan Skullman. Photo by Fjällräven.

Carl-Johan. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Carl-Johan. Photo by Joel Forsman.

We got briefed on how to use all of our equipment in the best possible way.

No need to say that this was also the place where we would recieve most of our personal gear…

George and Johan. Photo by Joel Forsman.

George and Johan. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Wow. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Wow. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Ninjasuit. Photo by Fjällräv

Ninja frenzy. Photo by Fjällräven.

E.X.P.E.C.T.A.T.I.O.N.S.

Day 1

After a great first impression in Sweden we headed out for Tromsø, Norway.

Rasmus & Joel. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Rasmus & Joel. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Stephanie & Jonas. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Stephanie & Jonas. Photo by Joel Forsman.

At basecamp close to our startingpoint Signaldalen we met our event manager Andreas Cederlund.

Andreas Cederlund. Photo by Fjällräven.

Andreas Cederlund. Photo by Fjällräven.

No time to rest – Time to gear up!

Our next lecture: Putting up tents. In snow.

Johan Skullman.

Johan Skullman. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Heini. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Heini. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Team Norway. Me & Andreas (Rocks). Photo By Joel Forsman.

Team Norway. Photo By Joel Forsman.

Pretty cold but not time for dinner – yet.

Our chief musher Kenth Fjellborg divided us into groups by teaming up two countries. We had already worked together in teams by two consisting of the participants from the same country. Now our team got expanded to team Norway/Sweden with Jonna and Carl-Johan. Some words got lost in translation, but I like to think we managed quite well.

Carl-Johan, Andreas (Rocks), me & Jonna. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Carl-Johan, Andreas, me & Jonna. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Through the adventure all groups had one musher.
A guide that was there to lead the way and help us to care for the dogs.

Anna Norman. Our guide.

Our fantastico musher – Anna Norman.

Feel like I’ve known you guys for ages. You’re great!

T.H.E. D.O.G.S.

Day 2

Over 200 barking dogs ready to go. This is it.

We met up with Anna in the middle of Alaskan-Husky-Texas and she showed us how to prepare the dogs for our sled. Each and every one of us got six dogs to take care of.

Photo by Joel Forsman.

Photo by Joel Forsman.

In total 30 dogs for Norway/Sweden. Butterflies.

As the dogs rushed of I could only concentrate on two things; the brakes and Anna telling us to never let go of the sled.

Here we go!

 Rocks rocking it!

Rocks rocking it!

To controle the dog sled was easier than expected, but man – it’s a team effort!
You work together with the dogs.

Kicking, steering the sled, braking, singing, running.

We helped each other to reach a joint goal and you didn’t get the chance to forget that the team is never stronger than the weakest link.

The weakest link – often yourself.

Go team!

Go team!

CHECKPOINT 1

During the day we had one stop, lunch. Late afternoon we arrived at checkpoint.

Checkpoint midday. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Checkpoint midday. Photo by Joel Forsman.

What’s next? Feeding the dogs. Get them of the sleds and dress them for the night. We started boiling water and chopped up their meat. Mixed it all together and served it.

Just before doing this we had a 5 minute briefing with Johan about our tents for the night. While the girls fed the dogs the boys already started setting up camp.
Hallelujah.

Happy campers. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Happy campers. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Andreas Roksvåg - Rocks

My Norwegian teammate – Andreas Rocks Roksvåg.

Dogs and camp – check! Dinner.

Photo by Joel Forsman.

Photo by Joel Forsman.

S.C.E.N.E.R.Y.

Day 3

Gorgeous day. Ready for take off.

Checkpoint 1 - Morning.

Checkpoint 1 – Morning.

Camp Norway/Sweden.

Camp Norway/Sweden.

Got up, started preparing food for the dogs. Got the tents down, had breakfast and prepared the water for the rest of the day.

Routine.

Already the groups were working better and more organized. I even had time to go over to Club America to borrow some sunscreen from Larry.

Club America. Kamran visiting Larry during breakfast.

Club America. Kamran visiting Larry during breakfast.

The surroundings were beautiful throughout our trip.

What an unbelievable way to experience this part of Scandinavia.

Blue sky - White heaven.

White heaven – Blue sky.

So the first day we had some climbing to do – second day; open spaces.

All white.

.

.

The time to let your brain wander and just forget about all the stress in your “real life”.

Also the time to get concerned about Rocks falling asleep on the sled. Or hoping that the swedish prince would fall of while taking GoPro shots in weird angles and singing swedish classics.

Good times.

Me.

Me.

New challenges – Downhill.

Stoked on some downhill action.

Stoked on some downhill action.

– Now you could really get the feel of how fast the sled could go!

Braking, left, right, straight forward.
Don’t fall off – Don’t let go.

CHECKPOINT 2

We reached the checkpoint earlier than the day before.

The sun was still out while we prepared everything for the dogs and our camp. The boys had already set the level when it got to – The Wall – our protection against the wind and was determined to do the same this day.

Photo by Fjällräven.

Photo by Fjällräven.

We had early dinner and also better time to «meet and greet» with other participants.

Some of the guys – the professionals – were taking portraits.

Some discussed the northern lights.

Some of the participants borrowed lip balm from Josh.

Some listened to Johns jokes while drinking hot energy drinks.

Be cool not cold. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Be cool not cold. Photo by Joel Forsman.

We got information about the best way to use our sleeping bags and how to isolate our sleeping pads for the night.

Johan Skullman. Photo by Fjällräven.

Johan Skullman. Photo by Fjällräven.

As the evening grew colder our dog mushers made a bonfire and prepared reindeer meat for us to taste. A few of the participants could even catch a glimpse of the northern lights over the sky before they decided to snuggle in their sleepingbags.

K.I.L.L.E.R.

Day 4

Packed up a bit late.

Rocks and Prince Carl cooking breakfast.

Rocks and Prince Carl cooking breakfast.

Kyle preparing dog food.

Kyle preparing dog food.

The day before I started to get an inflammation in my right hand.

Typical.

I got some pills from our doctor and tried not to use the arm as much. A challenge when your working in groups and you want to help your team as much as possible and pull your own weight.

The musher had already told us that today’s a short but challenging day. The rumor said we were approaching “the Killer Hill” and that all the camera crews would be more than ready to shoot as soon as anybody would fall of their sled.

Rocks checking up on his team.

Rocks checking up on his team.

Happy and not prepared for this hill at all as I already had got stuck in a tree some minutes earlier. I managed trough a tricky part and suddenly a steep hill appeared with a lot of people waiting at the bottom.

When I got down I suddenly realized – KILLER HILL –  I turned around to see if the swedish participants were as lucky as me and Rocks. I could only see two red gloves on the sled behind me.

Jonna hanging on to her sled. Photo by Fjällräven.

Jonna hanging on to her sled. Photo by Fjällräven.

Jonna had fallen of her sled but managed to hold on.

She did good!

I had to laugh when Prince Carls sled came down the hill a few seconds later. Carl with his hands raised and screaming of joy. Posing for the cameras.

Swedes.

CHECKPOINT 3

O.P.E.N.S.K.Y

This camp had a lot of trees and deep snow – not as practical when it came to getting the dogs organized.

Team Norway. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Team Norway. Photo by Joel Forsman.

But we managed.

Neither dogs nor humans had been fed since we didn’t have lunch. You could see that everybody concentrated on just getting their tasks done.

Luckily we were not suppose to put up our tents.

Johan Skullman. Photo by Rasmus Preston.

Johan Skullman. Photo by Rasmus Preston.

We got the dog food prepared before Johan wanted to share more of his wisdom. How to make a bivouac and how to make fire without matches.

As my hand was close to not functioning me and Jonna started to prepare the water while the boys started digging. I’m so grateful for all the work they did to create the best biouvac for our group.

A big bonfire gathered everybody this evening. Including our visitors for the day; press, media and Fjällräven VIPs.

Bonfire.

Bonfire.

Jonna was so happy – she could finally get the warmth back into her body.

All about the sky and the stars.

I don’t know if it was the painkillers for my arm, the fresh air or the fact that I was genuinly tired.
I never slept as good – ever.

F.I.N.I.S.H.L.I.N.E.

Day 5

Gentle snowflakes landed on my face. My alarmclock this morning.

Perfection.

I forgot my watch at home so I didn’t know the time before Prince Carl woke up.

Rocks, me, Carl-Johan & Jonna. Photo by Fjällräven.

Rocks, me, Prince Carl & Jonna. Photo by Fjällräven.

The boys had actually made two bivouacs. But team Norway/Sweden could fit in one so better to keep the family gathered.

They bandaged my hand the day before and this made it easier for me to use the arm for different tasks. As holding on to the sled.

Jonna preparing dog food.

Jonna preparing dog food.

We started packing up our camp and preparing the dogs. While taking a breather having breakfast we also got to taste boar.

Shot, smoked and served by Johan – Who else!

Reindeer meat - what's that? Johan Skullman. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Reindeer meat – what’s that? Johan Skullman. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Ain't no party like an alaskan husky party!

Ain’t no party like an alaskan husky party!

Ready to go – our last hours on the sled had begun.

Anna.

Anna.

We gathered all the participants on one long – long line so that everybody would finish the adventure together.

Rocks and the rest of the participants getting ready for the finish line.

Rocks and the rest of the participants getting ready for the finish line.

There it was – The finish line.

Excited. Empty. Sad. Tired. But most of all: Happy.

Me.

Me.

Jonna & me. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Jonna & me. Photo by Joel Forsman.

Fjällräven Polar 2013. Photo by Fjällräven.

Fjällräven Polar 2013. Photo by Fjällräven.

Lunch. Sauna. Ice bathing. Sauna. Dinner. Party.

P.A.R.T.Y

Johan Skullman, Kenth Fjellborg, Andreas Cederlund & Photo by Zsolt Kramer.

Johan Skullman, Kenth Fjellborg, Andreas Cederlund & Martin Axelhed. Photo by Zsolt Kramer.

After speaches, diplomas and dinner we all had the perfect ending of what had been an unbelievable adventure. Dance party at Väkkärä lodge with Frida & the coolants.

The participants together brought more cameras than a chinese bus group.

These are Kamrans recordings. And his recap of our adventure.

To all my Fjällräven friends: I want to thank you all for making this my best experience yet.

Thank you, and – See you soon.

Andrea.

32 Responses to "FJÄLLRÄVEN POLAR 2013"

    Comments (32)

  1. Vera, CZE wrote:

    Really nice article Andrea, thank you for that! It was pleasure to meet you! I wish you all the best! 🙂

  2. Phil wrote:

    Hi. I loved reading this post. 🙂 And made me even more excited for my Fjallraven Polar this year. As if I could be more excited! 😀
    I may ask you for some tips and advice if you have the time. 😉
    Phil

  3. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

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