On our way to Lillsylen
Randonée in Sylarna, Sweden
We went by train overnight for a 4 days´ randonée course in Sylarna in the region of Jämtland in northern Sweden. Sylarna is literally in the middle of nowhere, exactly what we were looking for. Besides skiing we learnt about how to navigate in the environment, what to consider when planning our own randonée tours, how to act in the case of avalanches and how to handle the equipment including kick-turns in all different types of terrain.
Sylarna is an area deep into the mountain region of Jämtland right on the border to Norway. The only way to get there is hiking or mountain biking in summer. In winter you either ski there or go by a tracked vehicle from Storulvån mountain lodge.
The randonée course is arranged by Svenska Turistföreningen (STF) and is perfect if you have done some randonée before and want to learn more before going on your own. The prerequisites are that you have done some randonée before, that you are a good skier and that you are used to being active outside for 6-8 hours a day.
The randonée course costs around 600 Euros and that includes transportation to and from Storulvån mountain hut across the mountains to Sylarna mountain hut, three nights stay with full board and guide.
Adding to that you pay for transportation to and from Storulvån. If you do not have your own equipment you can rent skis and avalanche equipment in Storulvån (pre-booking necessary). You can also buy clothes, backpacks, gloves and so on at Storulvån mountain hut. In Sylarna there is a small shop with some gloves and t-shirts. You cannot rent equipment in Sylarna.
Read more about what equipment you need here.
Storulvån mountain lodge
Storulvån mountain lodge
The course starts in Storulvån mountain lodge in the morning. Most people arrive by train and connecting bus from Duved to Storulvån around 9:30 a.m.
Arriving in Storulvån the first thing to do is making your lunch pack in the restaurant. If you have rental equipment you try it out and collect it in the shop downstairs from the reception.
For an even more relaxed vacation it is a good thing to spend an extra night before the course starts in Storulvån mountain lodge. You then also have some time to try out the equipment and perhaps do a randonée tour up Getryggen mountain ridge nearby.
Tracked vehicle in winter time
The tracked vehicle leaves from Storulvån at 10:30 and will take you about 1,5 hours. It is not the most comfortable journey but an efficient one.
Arriving in Sylarna you immediately feel the presence of Sylarna mountain ridge and the surrounding mountains. We were there in February and then the snow is cold but it is often windy and it might get really cold. Probably the best time to visit is April if you like long bright days and a little more warmth.
On your first day you arrive in Sylarna around 1 p.m. After check-in the group gathers in the restaurant for a presentation of the people joining you on the course and the guides. Maximum number of participants is 12 and then there are 2 guides.
After lunch and an equipment and transceiver check it is time for your first randonée tour in the area. Where you go depends on the weather. Herrklumpen is a summit just beside the Sylarna mountain hut, perfect for practicing kick-turns.
Before dinner you have a break to take a shower and sauna and perhaps a beer in the bar.
Part of the lobby at Sylarna mountain lodge
Restaurant at Sylarna mountain lodge
Day 2 and 3 are two full days in the mountains practicing skiing technique, navigating, how to plan your own randonée tour and how to act in case of an avalanche. You are also given the opportunity to practice for example planning your own route with advice from the guides.
After breakfast the guides present the plan for the day. That usually takes place around 9 a.m. Where you go and what to practice during the day depends on the weather.
Around 9:30 a.m. you are ready to go!
You eat your lunch pack outside every day. If it is really windy you might have the opportunity to have lunch in a windsack.
You will be back at the mountain lodge around 4 p.m. every day.
Spending time outside for 6-7 hours every day walking upwards and skiing down, sometimes in difficult terrain, requires some strength so you will probably be tired in the evening.
Today is a shorter day since the tracked vehicle departure is at 1 p.m. Depending on the weather you do a shorter or longer randonée tour before heading back to Sylarna.
Arriving in Storulvån you have time for your first randonée tour on your own if you like. The train to Stockholm leaves around 7.30 p.m. and the connecting bus departures at 6 p.m.
A great randonée tour is heading up to Getryggen just beside Storulvån mountain hut. It will take you about an hour to the first ridge of Getryggen and then about 10 minutes down.
Before leaving Storulvån you might like to take a shower and spend some time in their lovely sauna with views of the surrounding landscape.
During our 4 days in Sylarna we went skiing on Vaktklumpen, Lillsylen, Herrklumpen, Sylskalsstöten and Ekorrkammen. The views from Sylskalsstöten were amazing.
We were very satisfied with everything during our 4 days in Sylarna. We learnt a lot and already feel more safe in mountain areas no matter if we go on a guided tour or not. Some of the things we learnt will also be very useful when hiking in summer, like for example navigation.
Where to stay and eat in Sylarna?
The randonée course includes a 3 nights stay with full board. There are simple rooms with a sink for 4 or 2 people and you have free access to showers and sauna (ladies and gentlemen separate).
In the morning a breakfast buffé is served. After having breakfast you prepare your own lunchpack for the day.
Dinner is served every evening around 7 p.m. and includes a starter with local cheese and meat followed by a pot dish. You can preorder vegetarian food if you prefer that.
Starter at dinner
Simple but spacious and comfortable rooms
How to get to Sylarna mountain hut?
One lovely thing about this region in Sweden is that there are direct trains from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.
From Stockholm the train departures around 9 p.m and you arrive in Duved (the end station) around 8-9 a.m. in the morning. You pass by Sundsvall, Östersund and Åre on the way. Read more about travelling by overnight train in Sweden here.
Before arriving in Duved it is a good thing to have breakfast. You can either bring your own breakfast or have breakfast in the restaurant on the train. They have some breakfast boxes with youghurt, juice, coffée/tea and bread. If you prefer a vegetarian breakfast you need to pre-order.
Duved is connected to Storulvån mountain hut by bus arranged by Wänseth bus. The bus trip takes about an hour and costs 200 SEK oneway. Pree-booking is not necessary but probably more relaxing.
The bus and the train is connected so if the train is late the bus will wait.
From Storulvån you catch the tracked vehicle to get to Sylarna. It leaves at 10:30 every morning.
Sylarna mountain hut
On your way back to Duved, where the train station is, you might be hungry for a pizza. An option then is to order a pizza during the bus ride and collect it when arriving in Duved. To for example Restaurang Pigo you have a 5 minutes walk from the train station. Just remember to ask them to slice the pizza for you.
Duved is the starting point for the train so you can probably install yourself in your train cabin when arriving in Duved.
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