Tynset Kommune has a population of about 6000, the town itself is about 3000. It is about halfway between Elverum and Trondheim in northern Hedmark. Besides having nice ski-touring below and above treeline it has Norway's largest "Spark" (kick-sled) factory. I borrowed a spark for commuting around town.
For a description of spark see: Spark
Article from local newspaper: Fra Canada til Tynset
How I carry my skis and the big spark in Tynset square-- Parking lot at Tynset School
Info about Tynset, some in English
Pictures of Tynset
---------- Wednesday 17 March 1999 I arrived by train at Tynset at about 1220 (from Lillehammer via Hamar). The weather was partly sunny. But the temperature was about +2 C, even though Tynset is further north and an altitude about 500 m. I guess there are chinook-like winds in Østerdalen. I think this wind is called "føn" in Norway. The first thing I saw, getting off the train was the giant "spark", or kick-sled, made by the local spark factory (Norø). It is about 4 meters high. I stopped to take some pictures and read about the history of the spark. It is a very common method of transportation on the streets of Tynset, especially by the elderly and school children. So one of my first goals is to find a spark for getting around town. I found the hotel/youth hostel about 1 block from the station. The hotel managers were Britt and Kåre. I asked Britt if I could rent a spark in town. She said she would get their spare one from home when she got off duty at 3 PM. I also asked about ski trail maps and she called up the Culture Office at the Town Hall (Rådhus). She said I better get over there because they were closing in a 30 minutes. So off to Rådhus, about a 5 min walk. They had a brochure "Natur og Kultur opplevelser in Tynset" which had maps of trails around the town. It was free. The staff pointed out some of the areas, some were visible from the window of the office. The brochure was a bit out of date, the topo maps on it didn't show new residential streets in the area, but it was a good starting point. I took a quick look through the lobby of the Culture Building. They have a few novelty sparks. On the way back to the hotel, I made a detour past the Norø spark factory. At 3PM I went with Britt to her house to pick up the spark. It was almost brand new. I have the same model at home. Then Britt drove down a side street (Aumligate) to show me where some of the løype (ski trails) start. Her Husband (Kåre) often starts skiing there. It was 1600 before I finally got out skiing. I only had to walk a few blocks and then I put on my skis to go along the side streets to Aumligate. The temperature was warm (0 C) and the snow was wet and slippery. I waxed with a thick layer of Swix extra-violet. The trail is steep and narrow. It hadn't been groomed lately. There were several trail junctions, some with ski tracks. I turned off on a side trail and soon came out on a wide lighted trail (lysløype). There is about 5 km of lysløype starting out at the local ski stadium. The trail is at least 3 classic lanes wide, and maybe 5 or 6 lanes wide closer to the stadium. There are several loops used for training and local races. I will try to find a more direct route to the ski stadium tomorrow. In late afternoon, it cooled off and the snow got crusty so it was a fast and wild trip back down the narrow trail to Aumligate. In the evening I took the spark out on the sidewalk for a trip down to the Domus grocery store, about 500 m away. But then I noticed the bike/walking lane which continued out of town, over the Glomma river bridge. So I rode the spark about 3 km further, I passed close the old (ca 1800) Tynset kirk and came to Motrøa on RV (highway) 3. According to my map there are some ski trails just across the highway connecting to the Savalen trail network (about 90 km). A bit to the north of the Glomma bridge is another trail system. Maybe I will have time to explore these systems. Thurs 18-Mar The temperature was about 0C and it was cloudy. After the usual Norwegian buffet breakfast, I decided to check out the bike path with the spark first. It went uphill along Rv 30 then to a side road which leads to the Haverslia ski stadium (elevation about 550 m). There is a trail map posted on the notice board which shows the racing/training loops. There is a 5 km lighted (lyseløype) loop, plus another 3 km unlighted loop and connections to several touring trails, some going up to Aumdalen and Grønfjell. This looks like a better place to start skiing. It was a quick ride back to the hotel about 2 km. On the way I passed the school and noticed about 50 sparks parked in the parking lot. This is how children (and some teachers) commute to school! I tied the skis on the spark and kicked back up the road to Haverslia ski stadium. Then I locked the spark to a tree. I skied up one of training trails and found the trail which leads up to Haveren Skistua and Aumdalen. This was a different trail than the one I came out on yesterday. The trail was very slippery so I put on extra layers of violet extra, but still had to herring-bone on the steeper sections. I could see that there were many skiers ahead of me and they, also, had been herring-boning. Then I heard the yells of children and several came coasting down the hill on little sleds. Further up, I met some older children and their teachers. It was a school outing. They were making their headquarters at the local ski-stua (ski-cabin). This building was built around 1907 and is maintained by the local sports federation. It is open for serving food on Sundays and holidays and is also rented out for group activities. It was rather windy here. I had lunch in the lee of the building while watching the children play ski games. They had made little ski jumps and some were practicing the "hopp". The valve on my Camelbak (water container on back) had leaked and I was almost out of water. After most of children left, I knocked on the door and asked if they had any water. The lady there spoke much better English than I spoke Norwegian. She didn't have any water left. The lady's husband worked at Norø Spark factory so I mentioned my interest in sparks. Back on the trail it was still very windy. The temperature here was about -2 C and the snow was fresh and dry so I had to scrape off most of my violet wax. A little ways up the trail, the wind decreased, The trail is quite flat for several km, at about 800 m. elevation , so the going was very easy. I went past Gammalvangen and Aumlivangen. These were the summer mountain farms or seters. Many of the old farm huts (hytter) are now used as mountain cottages. In 2 weeks these will be all full of skiers for the Easter vacations. There are plowed roads to some of the huts. Today there were only a few skiers out. Some of the trails were track-set, for some I had to break trail, but it was easy going, with only about 5 or 10 cm of new snow over the packed base. My ultimate goal was Grønfjell, a plateau above the treeline (900 m). Bit it was getting late and I thought it might be too windy above the tree line, so I turned around. On the way back I did a loop around Grashaveren, about a 5 km loop. Back at the Skistua it was windy again so I guess it is a very local wind. Then it was a very fast run down the narrow trail, snow-plowing a lot. Then I got back to the main "lyseløype". I went up it to find the trail where I came out yesterday. So there at least 2 trails leading up here. I did a loop around one of the training loops. It had been just groomed and in the stadium area there were at least 6 classic lanes laid out. People were arriving in the parking lot, at about 5 PM. I guess there are weekly Thursday evening races. Then it was a fast trip on the spark back to town. After unloading my skis, I sparked to the Domus grocery store across the town. I started out on another bicycle/walking path along the Tjønn (river marshes) but it was only plowed a short distance. Friday 19-mar It snowed about 10 cm overnight. The temperature was about 0 C, and it was starting to clear. Before I could leave, I got a visitor from the Norø spark factory, I guess after my enquiries at the culture office and with the lady at ski- stua everybody in Tynset knew about this crazy tourist in town. Henrik told me a bit about the spark factory and I mentioned that I was slightly interested in selling them in Canada. I know nothing about importing, marketing so the best plan would be to make arrangements with Crossled, the importer of the sleds to Canada. Then we went to the big spark in the town square where a reporter from the regional newspaper took pictures and interviewed me. She said the article might be in Saturday's or Monday's paper ("Østlendingen", which servers the Østerdalen area) So finally at 1130 I got going on the spark up to Haverslia stadium, then started up the same trails as yesterday. I had waxed with blue, hoping it would work with the fresh snow. But it was too slippery so I had to re-wax with violet extra. It was very hard and hot climbing and I had to herringbone again. I stopped at Skistua and had lunch in the sun. The snow is drier here, so I scraped of the violet wax to get better glide. The sun was shining and I stripped down to a T-shirt. I was breaking trail but it was fairly easy going. This is the kind of ski day I dream about! Then I noticed one ski didn't fell quite right. The steel bar at the boot tip was broken so it wasn't holding in the binding (NNN-2). This has happened to me before! But it was such a great day I didn't feel like turning back. But after a few minutes, reason prevailed over desire, so I turned around at Aumlivangen at about 1500. I want to get to a ski shop before it closes. It was an easy trip pack to Ski-stua on my tracks. But then there was the steep trail down the hill to the stadium. It was not easy with one loose ski. There were still no fresh tracks on the training trails near the stadium. Tynset has at least 2 sports stores selling ski equipment, pretty good for a town of about 3000 people. I went to the closest one, G-SPORT. This a national sports store chain. I bought a pair of Alpha boots, which are Norwegian made, more expensive than my old pair, but hopefully of better quality. (BTW, I later took the broken pair back to the Halifax store where I bought them, and 6 months later got a free replacement pair!) On the wall of the store there was a racing bib. It said Nagano - 1998. It was autographed by Bjørn Daehlie. The store manager claimed that it was the REAL thing, and that Daehlie often comes to this store. "I was just talking to him a few days ago", he said. This and other G-sport stores in the country sells the "Bjørn Daehlie" line of clothing, so maybe it was a true story. Normally this would be a disappointing day, broken equipment, trip cut short etc. But there were positive experiences too, and I'm getting a taste of the Nordic winter culture. It turned out that postponing my expedition the top of the mountain was good luck, since tomorrow's conditions would be perfect! Sat 20-Mar 40km 800m Tynset This is going to be a perfect day! It was cooler and partly sunny as I left about 0930. There were a lot of cars parked at the bus/train station. There was a notice saying that the bus for Rena left at 6 AM! A lot of people have gone to the Birkebeiner today. It will be a long day for them. Hopefully the weather will be as nice for them as it is here. The bike lane was well frozen so it was easy sparking up to the ski stadium. Oddly, there were no skiers here, and few tracks either. I guess the ski stadium area isn't used much on weekends. Of course, the really serious skiers are all between Rena and Lillehammer now! It was a much easier climb today on the dry snow, only 20 minutes, wax working great. I had to strip down to a T-shirt. At the top, most of the trails had been track-set and I began to meet other skiers. I stopped for a snack in the sun at Gammelvangen (800m) Some of the roads to some of the huts have been plowed, and some huts have smoke coming from the chimneys. By next weekend probably all the huts will be occupied for the start of Easter vacation. My tracks from yesterday ended only 100 m from Aumlivangen, and the turnoff to Grønfjell, a plateau or "vidde" above the treeline. From the map I estimate the trail climbs 100 m in 1 km, so I expected a steep climb but it was much easier than I expected. There were several families stopped at sunny nooks. At the treeline (900 m), I put some more clothes on, expecting a chilly wind in the open areas. Above the treeline the terrain is gently rolling. Stakes mark trails above the treeline. Today there isn't a cloud in the sky, and I can see skiers several km away. Then there is a major crossroads, with a signpost. A family of father, mother and son maybe about 8 years old passes by. The skiing ability of young children in Norway is amazing. There are so many choices of trails . I headed north-east for about half a km, came to another junction, but then came back the same way. I head south-east for 3.5 km towards the high point, Finnstadhøa. The temperature is -5 C, but with the bright sunshine and wind behind me it gets very warm and I have to roll up my sleeves. The area is what one thinks of as vidda, Gently rolling snowfields extending off in the distance. I imagine I am crossing Greenland with Nansen, or Antarctica with Amundsen. It only takes about 30 minutes to get to Finnstadhøa (1020 m). I stop for lunch by the signpost. There is over 100 cm of packed snow here. The trip back was slightly cooler, against the wind but slightly downhill. I took a lot of pictures today, fortunately I had a spare roll of film. When I got out of the wind below treeline, it felt warmer, especially when I was facing the sun towards Engvangen. The trail crosses a bridge betweens ponds (elev 730 m) , then climbs gradually to almost tree-line at 900 m near Gravsvangen. A trail turns off to the south , towards Tylldal, which is off my map Then there is a long gentle downhill to Langeseter (800), I was many families skiing, some with young children in pulks I made a side trip about 3 km westerly to 2 parking areas on RV 30 at about 700 m. This is a popular starting point for people who don't want to climb the big hill from town. I later read that the local ski club organizes a night moonlight tour form here to Haverern and down the steep hill to town To the southwest about 5 km I can see Tron (1666 m) the highest mountain in the area Then I head back 3km to Hemsta, and do the east side of the Grashavern loop, back to the Skistua. At Skardvangen the "skarløype" leads down to town. I assumed this was the alternate trail I started to come up on Wednesday. It had been track-set since then. It was steep and narrow, but there was fresh powder, so I could step of the track to slow down in places. Sure enough, I joined my tracks from Wednesday, although they were mostly covered with fresh snow. So I turned off to the west, and joined the lys-løype. This was still not track set, although there were a few another ski tracks. I guess these trails are mainly used on weekday evenings. When I got back to the stadium, there were a few skiers playing around. I followed one trail towards town, and it came out on a residential street "Bjønnkrokken gate". It may continue on the other side of the street but I decided to return to the stadium area. Back at the stadium I saw another lighted trail heading in the direction of the hospital and the school. It wasn't on my map, which was printed about 5 years ago. It's too early to end the day, so I went around the 5 km loop, breaking trail most of the way. Then i tied the skis to the spark, and glided quickly back to town. Thus ended one of the best skiing days of my life. Now there is a dilemma. Should I stay here for a few more days or go to Gjøvik where I wanted to do a few more trails? I would like to be in Oslo by Tuesday morning. I wish I had another week in Norway! I chose to take a train to Hamar, which left about 1400, so I could do a little bit of skiing tomorrow morning. Sunday 21-March At dawn it was clear and about -8C, but it clouded over with very fine snow I packed up my luggage, ready for the afternoon train. Britt will be gone by noon, so I said goodbye to her and told here I'd leave the spark in a safe place. I took the spark up Aumlivegen, where I had started on Wednesday. Near the end of the road, I noticed several recently track-set trails, heading in different directions. I took a trail to the west, parts were a bit narrow and steep. It came out on a residential street. Ski tracks went in different directions on the street. I assumed that i wasn't very far from where I was yesterday. These are just local "feeder" trails for local residents so they don't put signs up for them. So I went back to the start and up the trail I had used on Wednesday, I think it is called "Skar løype". It is more of a hiking trail but today it is track-set. With the fresh snow and cooler temperatures it is much easier climbing than on Wednesday. I joined the lyse løype And I saw a few people heading up to the Skistua, which is open for serving today. But I don't think I have time to go up. I did part of the lyse løype, and then headed off on a "nature trail" There are interpretive signs along it describing biology and geology of the area. For a while it comes close to RV 30, and there are several groomed trails crossing the highway, heading to the northwest. But it's getting late so I have to go back to the stadium, then back to Aumlivegen. One last spark trip through town, dropping my skis off at the train station. Back to the hotel to pick up my pack and leave the spark. It is much more difficult carrying the pack on my back than with the spark. So farewell to Tynset. I'd like to go back, now that I have an idea of the trail system. ( note I was in Tynset on a bicycle trip in July 2002.) On the train trip to Hamar it was snowing. I changed to a rather slow bus to Gjøvik and got there about 1830.
Pictures of skiing above the treeline on Grønfjell -- Onward goes the trail
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