Jotunheimen intro tour done (hope to return some day). After a quick change to civilization clothing, I climb into the Swede’s (Toby’s) Toyota Tundra for the three hour drive north through Norway to the village of Oppdal (where I’ll eventually meet up with Lisa). Beyond Fritz Barthel’s Pinzgauer, that’s the first full size vehicle I’ve been in on the east side of the big pond.
What a relief to throw my gigantic Dakine double ski bag into a truck bed instead of having three large German men squeeze it into a taxi trunk. Another myth bites the dust — I thought everyone over here drove minis.
Oppdal is a ski village. A wide and somewhat tall hill rises above town, boasting multiple ski lifts and a bunch of sidecountry. Head farther, and you get a few hundred square miles of ski touring terrain.
In Oppdal, Tobby hands me off to an unassuming guy with a mop of dark hair and a work jacket that looks like it’s been caught in a ski tuning machine. Despite his rough hewn appearance, ski maker Endre Hals eyes glint with revolutionary intelligence. He’s got good English, and likes conversation.
Riding in Endre’s nice Skoda Octavia Scout west to his home and Eviski factory, the discussion ranges from how poor Norway once was (it’s said they had to make a law against eating tree bark, lest the country was deforested), to how the latest theories of prehistoric skiing are saying it’s nearly certain wider skis were used to skim down powder hills, attacking herds of reindeer at speeds before they could scatter from human powered projectile weapons. Which is why, according to Endre, he is making Evi (and his taylor made Prog) skis that are predominantly wood, at widths that hark back several thousand years as well as fitting neatly into today’s 100+ millimeter form factor for freeride or ski touring.
Let’s take a little tour of the only steel-edged ski production in Norway (yes, hard to believe, but true.)
If you’d like to acquire a pair of Evi or Prog skis, simply contact Endre EVI and Prog skis website, Norway ski touring.. While his skis are not intended as bargain planks but rather as something fine, Endre told me that shipping from Norway to North America is surprisingly inexpensive.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.