Jul 23, 2012

Norway is an amazing country. Around every corner is a picture worthy view, the people are super friendly, it's host to one of the coolest festivals - Ektreme Sport Veko, and the paddling isn't too bad either. Never before I have ever seen so much falling water in my life. Every valley has enough water and gradient to create good paddling and some of them just have too much. We spent most of the four week trip around Voss paddling the Brandseth, Raundaselva, Stronda, Jordaselva, and my personal favorite the Teigdalselva. The Teigdal is famous for its Double Drop but the rest of the run packs a pretty good wallop. A hydroelectric project upstream means there's rarely enough water so you have to rely on rain to bring up the small feeder streams at the put in to produce the flow.  This year's abnormally large snow pack and lots of rain brought the levels up and we were able to get on it this gem.  It turned out to be one of my best day of boating in Norway.

The Brandseth is not overly challenging but the large slides and cool drops provides enough excitement for anyone, throw in the accessibility of the race course section and the clear blue water and you have a run that anyone would love to have out their back door. It is a near perfect venue to host a extreme race - accessible, visually appealing and lots of cool technical rapids that create a great course. An average race left me in 22nd which wasn't too bad considering the very large and very talented field, this race draws competitors from all over the world. I made up for with a strong team race with Benjamin Hjort and Mark Basso, landing my second third place finish of the season.

After Voss we headed up to Sjoa and did a midnight run of the Amot section of the Sjoa followed by a sauna on the banks of the river. We also managed to get on the Upper and Lower Jori on a couple of different occasions. The Upper has some big pool-drop slides and rapids with the Lower features 17 km of continuous class IV, making for some terrific paddling days. Unfortunately water levels were really high for the entire time we were there so we missed out on a bunch of the classic runs, but that just gives me an excuse to go back.

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