|Estimated net time||4-5 hours (less if using the ski lifts)|
|Drinking water||No access to drinking water during winter.|
|GSM coverage||Coverage throughout the route except a section around lake Storevatnet (January 2010).|
|Parking||Room for many cars at the ski-centre car park (NOK 30,- per day per 2010)|
|Start height||320 metres|
|Vertical metres||920 metres for the roundtrip.|
|Trip distance||8.7 km|
From the intersection of roads E39 and E136 in the round-about east of Ålesund, follow E39 towards Bergen. Drive 6.7 km from the round-about, and then turn left, staying on road E39. After another 1.8 km you get to the Solavågen-Festøy ferry port at Solavågen. Get the ferry across to Festøy.
From Festøy follow road E39 for 35.8 km, to a round-about in Ørsta, and turn left onto road 655, signed for "Sæbø". Drive 4.8 km and turn right, staying on road 655. After another 8.4 km turn left where signed for "Skisenter", and drive the remaining 600 metres to the ski-centre at Bondalseidet. Park at one of the car parks (during opening ours there is a fee; NOK 30 per 2010).
The ascend the first hill, up to 690 metres, you now have two options; ski up or take the ski-lift. This route description assumes you do it the hard way and ski up; just ski straight up to the building at the top of the ski-lift. From the top of the ski-lift you continue down-hill to the small lake, Storevatnet. The shortest route is now to ski straight across the lake, but if you're not 100% sure about the ice conditions you should circumvent the lake on either side.
From the other side of the lake continue along the second part of the ski-lift, bearing a little left to avoid the steepest section. Then turn a little right (east) and get onto the south ridge of Veirahaldet. Once on the ridge continue north/north-east along the ridge and up the final steep hill to the summit. The summit is marked by a proper cairn.
The descent is best done by reversing the ascent route back down to lake Storevatnet. From here you can either continue around the lake and down the ski-slopes, or you can head a little right (south-west) and follow a small valley down to a second ski-slope (located further west than the main slope). This latter route will take you down to the cross country tracks, which you can follow back to the trail head on a soft decline.
09. January 2010
This whole week of the new year had produced cold and gorgeous weather, and I was adamant to ski a mountain this Saturday. My only concern was that it might be too cold, but since it was no wind there didn't seem to be any reason for real concerns.
After having had my breakfast I set off from home a little before 8am, still dark, and got the 08:40 ferry from Solavågen. Only three cars on the ferry told me that most people preferred to spend their Saturday morning in the comfort of their homes, but this only made me even more eager to get out and enjoy some activity. Driving up to Bondalseidet from Ørsta did indeed give me some second thoughts, as the car's thermometer crept below -20°C, but I assumed that this was just the typical thing in still weather; with the cold and heavier air gathering in valleys. As I got to the ski-centre the temperature was up to -13°C.
After visiting the ski-centres toilet, and none charging me for parking, I started my ascent of the first ski slope, noting that the ski-lift hadn't started to run yet. But I didn't get far before the first skiers overtook me, probably talking about this poor guy who couldn't afford a ski-pass. The skiing up the slopes was easy going, except for the last stretch, which they had left unprepared.
From the top of the ski-lift I followed some tracks around lake Storevatnet, but these track weren't much help since I obviously was much heavier than them. Anyway, the tracks only went as far as a little above the lake before diverting off west and back down. I now had to make my own tracks, but this wasn't bad at all thanks to the light snow. However, the light snow did give cause for concern; since there was no hard snow below I hit stones quite regularly. Not much to worry about for the ascent, but quite a bit more worrying for the descent.
When I got to the foot of the final, steep section I decided to put on my snow shoes; this section didn't look like the place to run into stones and tumble off the hill-side. So a brisk walk up to the summit, and a first class welcome in terms of views and weather (zero wind and clear sky). After a photo session I walked back down the steep section, and from there skied back down to the lake, in fantastic powder. Unfortunately I hit stones on a number of occasions, reminding me to be careful.
Back at the lake I met another skier (not going to the summit), and I asked him if there were alternative routes back down. He obviously knew the area, and I decided to follow his advice to use the slopes a little west of the main ski slopes. This slope had not been prepared so a lot of skiers had enjoyed the powder down here, making life a little more difficult that the untouched slopes above the lake, but still enjoyable.
Back at the car I changed into dry clothes and headed back home, stopping in Vartdal for a Coke and a chocolate, and got home for 15:30.