In May 2010 we were invited to the Outdoor Academy of Scandinavia, hosted by the Varmland Region in Sweden.
We flew into Norway and met the fantastic OAS crew at the airport then jumped in a coach and headed off to Torsby just over the border in Sweden. Our first taste of cross country skiing was in the Summer, in a concrete tunnel, a 1500m loop used for summer training by athletes from all over Europe.
I have wanted to sea kayak in Sweden for several years and in 2012 the Outdoor Academy of Sweden gave me my chance, here is my trip report.
I flew into Gothenburg to meet the Smiling OAS team, All loaded on to the coach we went off to visit some tourist attractions, the first some ancient rock carvings of boats and people, a world heritage site.
Every few months we get an email from OAS, the Outdoor Academy of Scandinavia, they are eagerly received by the shop staff keen on some training in the wilds of Sweden or Norway. This March was my turn for a trip away in the snow. After hunting out what information I could on what boots were suitable for snow shoeing and what I could get from our suppliers at the end of a cold winter season I ended up with a pair of I ended up with a pair of Hi-Tec Winter Boots and some Rab Down Booties for in the sleeping bag in the cold northern nights.
A few months ago Pete and Lesley offered the retail staff at ProAdventure the opportunity to attend the Outdoor Academy of Scandinavia, a project initiated by the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG) to offer comprehensive outdoor staff training. Basically this meant understanding and using products in the great Swedish outdoors. On this trip we would be using Tentipi, Light my Fire, Peak Performance clothing, and Point 65 Kayaks.
This was a opportunity I didn’t want to miss! Along with my colleage Mark, we headed to Stockholm to join the rest of a group of about 30 others (the group included retail staff, journalists and tour operators) for our 4 day adventure in the Stockholm Archipelago.
The trip began with the usual meet and greet, then we headed off for a guided bike tour of Stockholm. Next was a 2 hour boat trip to an Island in the Archipelago called Uto. Our arrival was met with the very friendly owner of the hotel Uto Vardshus where were staying that night. We were given a fabulous meal and got to know more people in the group. I was pleased to have sat next Patrik from Tentipi..I had emailed him occassionally over the last few years working at ProAdventure and it was a pleasure to put a name to a face!
The next few days involved different activities. A guided hike along the coastline of the Island, followed by a 10km cycle ride. Next was another hike though the forest, and a talk on the geology and nature of the the island (this was Marks idea of heaven-someone who was as interested in rocks as he is!)
Our camp for the night was at a small beach (my idea of heaven-an outdoor swim!). We were given some extra kit to use while out in the wilds..Light my Fire meal kits, a water bottle, lots of Sporks!, a fire steel and a Maya stick. All of which were obviously used for making a fire and eating our tea! We also had a lesson in putting up our Tentipi for the night..good to see the expert Patrik do it!
Next day was a cycle again, then using the Point 65 kayaks and sea kayaking to a smaller island. Again we were sleeping in a Tentipi ..this time a light one, which I hadn’t done before so it was a good learning experience for me. I also got to see a prototype of the new Super light tentipi that will be produced next year-designed a lightweight 2 man Tentipi for trekking.
An early start the next morning sea kayaking back to Uto and attending our retailer workshops, followed by a very exciting RIB boat ride through the islands of the Archipelago to the island of Grinda. This was the last night of our stay and involved relaxing in a sauna, eating lots of crayfish, singing merry tunes and drinking schnapps…we were here for work…honest!
Seriously though..it was an amazing opportunity to be outdoors in Sweden using products we sell in the shop. Mark and I know more about Tentipi and Light my Fire than we did before and can relay our experiences with them to our customers:-)