Where: Voss, Norway, Europe
Best Season: June for the Extreme Sports Festival
Sensation: High adrenaline sky free fall without a parachute or safety net!
Other Activities: Ice diving, snowboarding & hiking
Watch out for: Avalanches in the glacier parks – and when jumping – the ground!
Where it’s at
Many extreme sports enthusiasts consider Norway, to be the base-jumping capital of Europe. This could be for one of two key reasons: firstly, that it is one of the few countries left where it is still legal; and secondly, because of its high mountains and deep fjords, it has the one of the best landscapes for it in the world.
What is base-jumping?
It is the unusual practice of jumping from a fixed point (e.g. cliff), free falling for a short time, before releasing a parachute and (hopefully) landing safely at the bottom. Jumps involve a liberating sense of weightlessness, followed by a rapid, and exhilarating fall. High adrenaline sports don’t get much higher than this!
Jumping in Norway
Norway’s small and select group of base jumping experts are very keen to defend their right to jump, and to do so in insist on the strictest safety measures. Before anyone can base-jump here, they must first have successfully completed at least two-hundred aeroplane sky-dives first, to perfect their handling of a parachute and their landing technique. For those of you determined to have a go, you must first undergo several years of training, and be approved by Norway’s own expert, and base-jumping record holder Stein Edvardsen. Bear in mind, this is not a sport for the weak at heart, that the risks are high, and even highly trained individuals have been injured, and even killed.
For those keen to observe, but not participate, the annual Extreme Sports Week in Voss (a short train ride from Bergen) is an excellent opportunity. It runs in the last week of June each year, and exhibits the full range of truly exciting possibilities that Norway has to offer.
Other adventure activity possibilities:
Ice-diving off Svalbard
To do this you must already be a qualified diver, and have experience in diving in a dry suit, the water is so cold here a wet suit just won’t work. Access to the water is through a hole cut in the ice specially, and you lower yourself down on a rope. The rewards are almost unearthly sights of the deep blue undersides of icebergs, and the possibility of watching diving seals, or maybe even polar bears.
Snow boarding or Skiing at Stryn
One of only three places in Scandinavia where you can ski all year round, and the most accessible and best known summer resort of the three. For non-skiers it is also possible to hike across the glaciers in some places, though this must only be done by the highly qualified, or in the company of a guide.
Hiking in Jotunheimen National Park
The most popular wilderness area (and they have many to choose from!), with both well trodden routes, as well as some more obscure ones. It also has a number staffed huts along the routes for walkers accommodation. All hikers should come prepared for extreme weather conditions (snow in August is not uncommon here) and be constantly aware of avalanche risks, unfortunately common here.
August 1999:- Jotunheimen
One person’s experience of hiking in the Jotunheimen National Park.
Details, advice, photos and discussion forums about the sport, including a basic breakdown of how to get started in the sport.
Extreme Sports Week
The official site, with all the details you need about what sports are on, and how to get tickets. Book early if you want to go, their capacity is very limited.
By Guilia Vincenzi