Meet our Expert Team members: Lars Ole Gudevang
Our next Sknow Expert, Lars, lives in Stavanger with his wife and one child. He works for a sailing organization as a mechanic and was hired for his background in sports and the outdoors. “I prefer being in the outdoors, but it´s not always possible in my day-to-day life. Up until a few years ago I lived in Sogndal, where I could constantly go skiing. Now that I live in Stavanger I do less skiing, but here I am a sailing-climbing nerd.”
Snow has been part of Lars’ life since childhood, as he grew up in Askim where snow surrounded him each winter. He started as an active cross-country skier, but started venturing to the mountains to ski. Pretty soon he was travelling to Jotunheimen for all of his vacations, skiing in the mountains and sleeping in tent. Through this he developed a background knowledge of travel in flat and steep terrain. After high school, he moved to Sogndal for a gap year at a Folkehøgskole. “We were in the mountains constantly and learned about snow from skilled teachers who had lots of experience,” Lars says. “I started skiing more and more, and ventured into steeper terrain.” In 2001, Lars took his outdoor education to the next level and trained as an alpine mountain guide(IVBV/UIAGM).
Lars is a Sogndal-patriot and it’s one of his favourite area for skiing. “Skiing in Sogndal is so simple. You can easily integrate into normal, daily life. It only takes 15 minutes to put on your skis and start ski touring,” Lars says. “In less than three hours you can go on a backcountry trip and be back at work.” Although Sogndal has heart, Lars tells us that one of his best skiing experience was in Alta, Utah, which he claims is has good terrain and snow.
Sknow asked Lars to share any avalanche experiences during his travels in the backcountry. “I was tenting with some friends near the base of Store Midtmaradalstind and we planned to climb it the next days. During the night, lots of snow came in along with thick fog. We couldn’t see anything but heard avalanches all around us. We needed to get out of the valley, but had to leave on a different trail,” Lars tells us. “We ended up walking for two days without skis. That was a scary experience, and all three of us were afraid. In this situation, I don’t think any technological equipment could have helped us because we were surrounded by the avalanche danger.”
Lars was first introduced to Sknow on a milk carton. “I always read the information on the milk carton, so that’s where I found out about the technology. I am surprised how little I´ve heard of it, and of how little attention Sknow’s development has received given the large ski community in Norway,” Lars says. “I hope to contribute and help Sknow collect data and information about snow layers for the ski community here in Rogaland, or wherever I might be. Plus when you live in Stavanger, you need a little incentive to go skiing, so I’m participating for selfish reasons to get out and learn more;-) It will be interesting to be part of development of the technology that may make it easier to evaluate the snow.”
Even though Lars is interested in the development of Sknow, he is sceptical of its place in the backcountry market given that it is another piece of gear to have. However, Lars tells us, “I am intrigued by the concept of a simple technology that can provide fast information about the snowpack. We´ll have to wait and see if its user-friendly or not.”
Lars’ advice for safe travels in the mountains during the winter: “Ski less steep terrain. If you ski under thirty degrees, have the safety equipment, and backcountry essentials then a lot of prevention is already done. The most important thing is to get out and ski.”
Think Outside are very pleased to have Lars as a Sknow expert, and are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration!