Snow and wool in Swedish Jämtland
The first snow has arrived. At first hesitant, as if those vanguard snowflakes would like to apologize for their appearance, gracefully swirling downwards in small numbers. Nevertheless they usher winter and cold conditions.
A snow covered white world, our Winter Wonderland in songs and ballads, is something of sheer beauty in wilderness regions. Everything out there is more intense now. The cold, nagging. The dazzling silver white light, which is so brilliant you’ll need sunglasses now. And the sound of silence. It does exist here and it will depend on weather conditions whether you will become aware of it or not. With temperatures dropping below minus 20 degrees Celsius you won’t, on account of the cracking ice. You might hear a sudden creaking sound similar to an explosion coming from trees, especially those tall pine trees. It took me a while to understand that it was the resin which is inside the trunk that is bursting.
Yet there are enough days to enjoy the majestic silence, and at that time it seems as if life has become speechless.
Friendly and sportive atmoshere in Jämtland
There is more than one reason to visit the mountain area in the Swedish province Jämtland. The second largest province of Sweden covers about 34.000 square kilometers and has only about 127.000 inhabitants, that is 1.5 per cent of the Swedish population. Jämtland’s capital city is Östersund, a nice and lively place. Go to the east and find the number one ski resort in Sweden: chic and trendy Åre. Following the road leading to Trondheim in Norway, you’ll find Duved and Storlien, the latter a small place only a few miles from the Norwegian border.
It’s a great environment for making long ski tours while accommodation facilities are plenty. My favorite is Storulvån Fjällstation, one of the STF mountain stations combining modern sportive comfort with tradition reaching back to former years. Facilities are good, staff is qualified and friendly and they serve a great breakfast. But what really counts is the splendid location. One of the assets of this region is that you may count on snow at arrival. Whether this is in October or April, you will certainly need snow chains for the car. And for yourself you should have thought of the right clothing because it can be extremely cold out there.
Cold summer nights in mountain areas
It also happens to be chilly in summer. A few years ago we camped near another mountain lodge, Vålådalens Fjällstation. It had been a sunny day with rising July temperatures. After a late dinner we arranged ourselves for the night in our tents. Suddenly my son burst out in laughter, asking why on earth I was wearing a hat in summer, pointing at my little beanie. Wait and see, was my answer. And yes, in the middle of the night there was a voice next to my ear, asking if I had another one of those woolen caps to spare. It was cold indeed, to be more precise it was below zero out there. It did not surprise me, knowing that in these mountain areas temperatures may vary strongly. Therefore I took up the habit of always stashing a light woolen hat or beanie in my pocket. So he got mine, meanwhile covering my head with a longsleeve draped in turban style and we went back to sleep.
The secret of comfortable warmth from wool is air
If you are planning to stay up there somewhere, travelling from Trondheim in Norway, make sure to include a stop in Storlien. The Östersund-based Swedish manufacturer of the warmest woolen clothing and accessories Woolpower has just opened a new shop in Storlien. Their clothing is not following the latest fashion trends, as Woolpower states explicitly, however if you’re looking for something really warm this is the right choice. In fact, it is air that does the trick. Already in the early 1970’s the material Ulfrotté Original was developed. And it works amazingly well.
Woolpower explains how: “the material is knit so that one side is smooth, and the other has terry loops. The lofty terry loops, in combination with the crimp in the wool fibers, creates a knitwear capable of trapping a lot of air. Up to 80% of the material actually consists of air, which means that the material has an excellent capacity to trap body heat. The more air you can keep still around the body, the more heat you can retain.”
It makes a purchase that’s certainly good value for money. And a comfortable feel indeed.