Trip 2018 BRCBig River Camp, Storåbränna, Zweden
20 January 2018
It would be a straining travel day, it started out well with a two and a half hour delay at Schiphol. The rest went OK and the baggage came along nicely.
To our great surprise we were picked up with a limousine at the airport.
But that was all the luxury...
In the house, a cabin of about 12 square meters, were two bunk beds, a refrigerator, kitchen cabinets, stove and microwave, a table with four chairs and nothing else, no showers, toilets or running water...
To shower, pee and wash had to go to a ‘service house ', about 15m from the cabin.
And we had quite a lack of space for all our stuff.
We therefore first 'reconstructed' the place. Table turned sideways, chairs put as nightstands next to the bed and the upper bed used as a wardrobe to put all of our clothes. And we stored the excess bedding in the refrigerator.
21 January 2018
We had a day off, no snowmobiling yet. So we went to get our gear, helmets and so on.
We got knee pads: UFO Plast
A protective vest: Leatt 3DF Airfit.
The helmets that were there to lend did not fit me properly, I was allowed to try on a new helmet in the shop and it fitted perfectly, so I got to borrow that one. An Airoh Twist, white.
And goggles with an orange lens.
Of the boots nothing fit me at all. And the two pairs I had hauled from the Netherlands, were also not quite it. So I ‘had to’ buy new boots: Tobe Vivid Boa Boat, jet black, € 295 ($365). These were perfect.
But with all this gear added to our stuff in our cabin, we had no room left. It was a mess in the cabin. And we both slept badly because the mattresses were too thin. So I put the mattress of the top bunk under my mattress, and Arina removed a duvet from the refrigerator.
22 January 2018
The snowmobile that we were driving was a Ski-Doo Summit X 850 E-TEC, 165" track with 3" lugs. The perfect deep snow machine.
It turned out that we had to unlearn all our previously acquired snowmobiling knowledge and re-learn it the right way. Body straight, lean into the direction you want to go, the steering in the opposite direction (counter-steering), really look the way you want to go and constant gas, with maybe some brake. The guide, Thomas Wärdell, also indicated this with statements like "don’t fuck the gas" and "dick in the steering”.
Soon I had parked the snowmobile among some trees and the guide had to saw off a number of birches to get me and the snowmobile out of there.
(Blue thingy is the saw)
We saw a black bird, similar to a grouse, but according to Thomas and others eats meat ...
During lunch we saw a little shrew mouse. It ran in the top layer of snow, not really on the snow, not really in the snow.
We mainly rode over marshes/swamps and with practicing boondocking we fell many times and got stuck often, but we got unstuck ourselves a lot more than all the other years.
On the way back we had to jump over a creek. Since it was our first day, so we still had a lot to learn, both Arina and I thought 'no way'. The guide first wanted to jump on the snowmobile together with me, but when I asked if I should or should not do something, because I felt that I was leaning against his leaning, we decided that he alone would jump the snowmobile across. I would just jump. Meanwhile, Thomas had been standing in the creek with coming back (without a snowmobile). I jumped... but unfortunately this of course did not go well. With my feet on one side and my body and hands on the other side, I stood/hung there. I asked Thomas how deep the creek was and then just stood in at and clambered out on the other side. With Arina it went about the same. The guide had jumped her snowmobile across the creek, Arina had also tried to jump, but also stood with her feet on one side and the hands on the other side and even dangled with her stomach almost in the water. Thomas wanted to help pull her up, but Arina thought it was easier to stand in the creek itself and to clamber out. Eventually the snowmobiles and we were all on the right side of the creek. The depth of the creek was up to the knees, so the shoes were flooded with water. We then quickly went back to the hotel. There we let the water run out of our shoes and put everything in drying cabinets.
Thomas later told us, this was the first time everybody in his group had gotten wet...
23 January 2018
In the morning we first had an avalanche training from our guide and practiced in seeking an avalanche transceiver.
We drove in a little different direction than the day before. We went into the start of the mountains and into some really deep snow.
Again we learned a lot and it went better. It was more challenging and getting to a higher level. We drove more through the forests and it was more hilly. We also jumped over a small hill. But I first stuck the snowmobile straight up, which we had to roll over to get unstuck.
I also tried riding up a tree (after I already got stuck previously and had to get out full throttle and then the tree was in the way). Ultimately it all went well and I managed to solve it myself. Later, after tipping over and getting myself unstuck at full throttle, I fell backwards and rolled over the complete rear (the entire tunnel) of the snowmobile, but everything was OK and I could continue on my own. Now the getting unstuck and getting out of difficult situations on our own is much easier.
I also tried a little hill climb, tried to ride a steep hill, but unfortunately an unexpected bump caused incorrect gas and losing the balance and control, so I got stuck real good again. And again Thomas and I had to roll over the snowmobile.
Almost back at the hotel we had a very steep hill down. For me it was OK, but not for Arina. The snowmobile came without Arina and Arina slid down after it.
And we have seen one of those a carnivorous grouse (...) again.
To have a bit of a decent shower, in the service house, Arina ducktaped the shower.
24 January 2018
Separate from each other, both Arina and I jumped a little creek. Thomas had seen Arina do this and he was cheering.
It was very beautiful surroundings. Again on the marshes and a bit between the trees practiced boondocking.
When I went to make a turn around a little tree, I got stuck. I got lose why wheelieing out of there, but I didn’t let go of the throttle and tried to pass between two trees like that. Alas. Most likely one of the branches of the tree hit the brake, causing me to fly over the snowmobile. I lost my helmet camera (among others), but we found it.
Continuously we make our own trails, from marsh, play there, boondock and practice, bit through the woods, on to the next marsh.
When we returned we again went down that steep hill, but this time it went OK for both of us.
In the evening we went into the spa, where we spend a nice long time outside in the hot tub in the snow.
Thomas ate with us in the evening.
25 January 2018
This day we went another direction again, now to the north. (The other days it was mainly towards the east.) The north is more towards the mountains. We did have some snow and wind. It was a little more difficult and we again learned some more. Again a few times firmly stuck and once we had to roll over the snowmobile again. But, if you didn’t get stuck, you didn’t try hard enough.
There was a about 1.5 to 2 meters of snow everywhere.
We were at a hunting lodge of BRC. It was a beautiful cabin at the river with a view of the mountains.
And then our guide was away for half an hour... He wanted to go downhill. Going down went well, but after three attempts to get back up again, hill climbing, he had to come back to us via a long detour.
This long detour became our route and I led the way. It was a nice route to ride. And along the way a snow grouse flew past.
We were now more in the woods, also because of with the snow and wind.
Unlike other years, we still didn’t have to swallow painkillers. Doing it the right way everything is so much easier and more enjoyable and takes the little strength.
26 January 2018
It was beautiful sunny weather.
After an x amount of miles of driving fast paced on the path (Arina rode ahead, that’s why... ;-) ), the guide told us we had to "play". This meant I got stuck firmly besides the path. 3 times in a row; stuck, lose and immediately stuck again. The third time I was stuck so bad it was difficult to get lose. Eventually, the guide got the snowmobile lose with our help and with great difficulty.
But something happened… cooling fluid appeared to be leaking. So I had to race back highspeed. The coolant reservoir or the heat exchanger turned out to be damaged and this is incorporated into the frame, thus unfortunately the damage is high and that meant a loss of 15000 SEK = $1885 for me. fuck! And no insurance is willing to pay for it. : - /
I did get another snowmobile right away, the same type except the electric start (which I noticed, because I absolutely did not get the snowmobile started by myself...)
We crossed a bridge specially for snowmobiling.
At first it was quite difficult again. It didn’t go well at all, not correct gas, looking, leaning, etc. We still did a little hill climb and that went well. We drove up a mountain with a beautiful view!
Then we had lunch and it went much better. Some nice side hilling (a little) over a ravine. It went smooth, slaloming, turning, carving and side hilling. Until Arina and I got stuck. The snowmobile of Arina we got unstuck by rolling it over with just the two of us, Arina and I, without the guide. (To get to Arina and back to my snowmobile, I stood in in front of the guide on his snowmobile.) My snowmobile was a bit easier getting unstuck, with each on one ski and the guide giving gas and rocking the snowmobile side to side.
27 January 2018
We went to a snowmobiling event, snowmobile Le Mans, in Åkersjön. We had to do lots of trail riding. But also some parts finding our own path. And some lake crossing, where the water came up.
The event was nice to see and experience it once.
But trail riding s*cks. This is the conclusion we came to at the end of the day, or rather halfway. It was a long ride, we rode for about 6 hours, 160 kilometers (100 miles).
After the event, when refuelling, the guide even pulled off the handle of drawstring of my snowmobile. Therefore I was not allowed to stop the engine, but I got stuck. I missed the turn. The complete left side had to be taken off, to be able to start the engine directly with a string. And then the getting unstuck again, after (again) a little tree had to be cut down, because I was stuck in the trees, of course.
On the way there I had already ‘missed a turn’. After crossing a lake we had to go right, but I almost straight nearly into a tree.
Both times was mainly due to the trail riding. I almost fell asleep by it. And because I basically forgot everything we had learned during the trail riding...
That evening we had a very pleasant evening with the men of Attacus, which would be guided by Thomas the following two days.
Their English was getting worse and my Swedish getting better, with the rising alcohol percentage...
28 January 2018
It was (and is!) a bummer that it’s over. We packed the bags. And for a long time enjoyed the spa (with in the end Q-music the ‘wrong hour’).
And in the evening it was again a nice evening with the men of Attacus and Thomas.
29 January 2018
Unfortunately traveling back again.
And because of some problems during payment, we were late to the airport in Östersund. We could still go, but our baggage couldn’t. It was forwarded by mail (I received my bag on February 7th, Arina’s is lost to this date, 18-2).