Meet our Expert Team members: Espen Nordahl
The outdoors has always been close to Espen’s heart, and the backcountry has been his main interest since 1990
Espen is proud to be a Tromsø resident since 1982 and has been engaged with the snow and avalanche world for many years. He is the owner of Midnight Sun Mountain Guides, which was for many years responsible for the High Camp Lyngen event hosted by Fri Flyt. Over the years, Espen has hosted many avalanche courses and written on avalanche safety. Most recently he wrote the book Ski Touring in Troms and was the co-editor of Safe Ski Touring in Norway, both published by Fri Flyt. Also during this time, he worked at the University of Tromsø as a project manager at the Center for Avalanche Research and Education, and as an avalanche forecaster for the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).
The outdoors has always been close to Espen’s heart, and the backcountry has been his main interest since 1990. “I have travelled with my skis to many places around the world: East-Greenland, Svalbard, Morocco, Turkey, Albania, Greece, Canada, the Alps countries, and in Norway: Lyngen, Tromsø, Lofoten, West-Finnmark.” Out of all these geographies Lyngen, Lofoten and West-Finnmark are his favourite areas in Norway. Over the years his preferences have evolved, “Now that I am a little older, I appreciate comfort more and enjoy traveling to Austria and Switzerland with friends. We find a guidefriend in our social network to help us arrange tours, good food, and a nice place to stay. It’s a social endeavour.”
Espen’s involvement in avalanche safety started after an accident in the backcountry in 1998. “We were a group of six friends involved in an avalanche accident at Kvaløya outside Tromsø. One of us was buried, but we had just enough luck, knowledge and equipment to get him out alive,” Espen shares. “In that moment, I said to myself that I would never ever experience something like that again.”
Espen got connected with the team at Sknow through a board member who knew of his reputation in the avalanche safety community. He has always been focused on the preventative aspect of avalanche safety. “It´s all about being prepared, making good plans and observations, and then using discussion to help make the right decision. For that we need good tools, therefore I think the Sknow technology is very exciting. Interpreting snow profiles to evaluate risk of an avalanche even is extremely difficult. It will be great if Sknow can help us.” Espen hopes that with the Sknow technology, the skier can make safer travels in exposed terrains, so Sknow data must be easily understandable for everyone who travels in the winter alpine environment.
Espen´s recommended tip for safe travels in the avalanche terrain is the following: “Take an avalanche education course. That’s the easiest way to start to educate yourself. Then read the avalanche forecast on varsom.no, focusing in the avalanche problems. Develop a good plan beforehand with your friends and make observations along the way that you can share in open discussion where everyone contributes. This will help your group make good decisions and know when it’s best to turn and come back the next day.”
Think Outside is pleased to have Espen as a Sknow Expert and is excited to partner with him this season!