All Images: Martin Olson
Winter Expedition: Vålådalen
Winter Landscapes and Cross Country Skiing
Dates: 25 - 28 March 2021
Price: 11995 SEK
Martin Olson is a photographer and filmmaker. In recent years has taken a place among the foremost practitioners in the Swedish outdoor and adventure genre.
Living in Åre, he has one of Sweden’s beautiful mountain environments around the corner as well as an established network of mountain athletes and guides.
Martin is behind several campaigns and productions for well-known brands and practitioners such as Tierra, Royal Robbins, The North Face, Fjällräven, Vattenfall, Widforss, Victorinox, Polyver, Woolpower, Elevenate to name a few.
While at home, Martin enjoys spending time in the mountains and being with his wife Frida and their son Sixten.
More info here.
Creative Guide & Expedition Leader
Jonas is the founder of Terra Photography Expeditions. He has been a photographer for well over 20 years. Jonas is a certified International Mountain Leader (UIMLA) and will be leading the expedition.
Jonas teaches an easy to implement process-oriented approach to the craft of making a technically solid exposure so that we can focus our energy on realising our creative visions.
More info here.
Learn the skills needed to be self-sufficient in the winter mountains
Experience and photograph sub-arctic winter landscapes
Photography Course - An Introduction to nature and adventure photography
Two professional photography tutors - this means there will be a lot of time for group and 1-to-1 teaching. All levels and all cameras welcome
Benefit from a proven photography curriculum to quickly advance your photography
Safely explore the outdoors with a qualified International Mountain Leader
Learn how to safely navigate in winter landscapes far away from the marked trails
Experience a unique and wild landscape
Vålådalen - the destination for this expedition - is truly a hidden gem. It has breathtaking mountains, wide stretched bare mountain terrain and old mountain forests. It is definitely one of the most beautiful backcountry ski tours in Sweden. Previous cross country skiing experience is not necessary. We will start on the first day with an introduction session to cross country skiing.
Leave No Trace Policy
Terra Photography Expeditions has a strict leave no trace policy. This policy is also applied to how we share information about fragile ecosystems that we gently and respectfully visit. This means that we have withheld some exact locations from the itinerary below. This is because we do not want to contribute to large scale tourism to this pristine and seldom visited place by sharing these. Our expedition participants will receive detailed information via email. You are welcome to get in touch if you'd like to discuss the itinerary before applying to join. Thank you for your understanding.
Start and finish is timed to the night train from Stockholm
This expedition is planned as a long weekend adventure. It is timed to the arrival of the overnight train from Stockholm on a Thursday and to the departure of the overnight train back to Stockholm on a Sunday - making sure that you can have an amazing adventure and be back to your workplace fresh and energized by Monday morning! The perfect weekend getaway!
Day 1 | Thursday | Arrival Day - Vålådalen
The comfortable overnight train from Stockholm (and from further afield with connections) arrives in Undersåker (the stop just before Åre) just after 09.00. You will be met at the train station by your guides, Jonas and Martin, who will stay with you for the entire expedition. From there we have a private transfer that will take us straight to Vålådalen Mountain Station. On arrival, we will get our beds sorted and enjoy a welcome lunch in the restaurant. After lunch, we will get any rental gear sorted and pack our packs for a first afternoon on skis and our first photo session. We will start with a short cross country ski lesson and then we will make a short journey to photograph the beautiful mountainous and forested winter landscapes surrounding Vålådalen Mountain Station. We head back to the Station for our first theory session, where we will discuss storytelling in landscape and outdoor photographyand, and dinner. Then back out again for sunset at 19.45. After this, we will have a free evening to continue to get to know each other and perhaps enjoy the sauna.
Skiing: Approx. 3hrs | Distance 2-5km
Day 2 | Friday | Vålådalen Mountain Station - Lunndörren Hut
It is time to ski! We are up early to photograph the sunrise and enjoy a good breakfast. Once we are content, we will pack up and head for the adventure. Our first day is an easy ski of 13 km. The day's ski starts through the pristine alpine forest until the very end when it starts to thin out as we reach the Lunndörren Hut hut with beautiful views. As it is our first real day and we will all have to find our ski legs, we will take it easy with many breaks for photography. We will now start to establish our hut routines and enjoy an evening of food, a theory session on composition and, of course, a lot of photography. After a long exciting day, we will get some good sleep, perhaps dreaming of the adventure that lies ahead. Unless, of course, there is a good chance to see the Northern Lights...In which case we will be checking the nights sky ready to head out for some more photography!
Skiing: Approx. 4-5 hrs | Distance 13km
Day 3 | Saturday | Lunndörren Hut - Vålåstugorna Hut
We wake up refreshed in that way that only sleeping in nature can do. We now have two days of skiing in our legs and it is time for a good ski, we have 14km to ski to the beautiful Vålåstugorna hut. The journey is through an alpine birch forest which soon gives way to endless mountain views. The hut is situated in a wide-open valley with gorgeous views in all directions offering great opportunities for photography.
Skiing: Approx. 4-5 hrs | Distance 14km
Day 4 | Sunday | Vålåstugorna - Vålådalen Mountain Station - Departure
On our last day, we will wake up early and be out the door just before sunrise to be able to photograph sunrise along the trail. We continue from the Vålåstugorna hut to Vålådalen Mountain Station, back to where we started. This is our longest day at around 18 km, but having started early, we have plenty of time. The landscapes dramatically change as we move towards Vålådalen Mountain Station. On arrival at the station, we will return any rented equipment and then enjoy an afternoon coffee break (or "fika" in Swedish). We will have a private transfer taking us back to the train station where we will say our "see you later"! The overnight train departs just after 19.00 and has a restaurant onboard.
Skiing: Approx. 5-6hrs | Distance 18km | Hight gain/loss +100m/-90m
All Terra Photography Expeditions follow a proven curriculum that aims to teach the theory behind photography in a dynamic way that directly translates into easily actionable processes in the field. As we move through nature we also go through an introduction to the skills and knowledge required to be safe in the great outdoors.
Photography Techniques Covered on the Expedition
Storytelling - Telling stories and evoking emotions within the context of landscape photography
Composition - A comprehensive introduction to the theory of composition, including the elements of art and principles of design
Process - Learning and implementing a process to achieve consistent quality in landscape photography
Focusing - A science-based method for focusing to make your images sharp
Long exposure and filters - Long exposure and the use of Neutral Density (ND) filters, especially related to moving water and clouds
Aurora photography - Explore the nighttime skies, Northern Light and landscapes to show the world at a different time
Panorama photography - exposing and merging multiple images
Multiple exposures and graduate filters - Achieving correctly exposed images in challenging conditions using graduated filters and multiple exposures (exposure bracketing)
Finding locations - Using maps, weather services and other tools to identify potential photography locations and times
Outdoor Skills Covered on the Expedition
We are first and foremost out to enjoy the mountains and to pursue the art of photography, however, as we are moving toward our locations there is always time to share some outdoor skills.
Introduction to cross country skiing
Planning for a week or more out on the hills in winter conditions
Winter gear techniques
Using safety equipment and emergency transponders
Navigation with map and compass
Relocation with map and compass
Using sighting for fast movement
The Agenda, Weather and Daylight Hours
The weather in the Swedish Mountains can change rapidly one hour to the next, so even though we have a planned agenda, this will be open to revision on the day. Each day we will study the weather forecast and the local maps over coffee to plan our day. Sunrise and sunset vary greatly throughout the year. Sunrise will be at approx. 06.40 and sunset at 19.45.
Each day will have three main elements, two longer prepared photography sessions (one at sunrise and one at sunset) and one succint theroy session or discussion on a topic related to nature photography (see the Curriculum above). Inbeween these sessions we will work as photographers out in nature typically work - with a mix of reactive and prepared shoots. If we see something worth shooting (and we have enough daylight to reach our destination), we will stop and take the time needed to shoot it. The creative guides will be available to provide support and feedback during the planned and the spontaneous sessions. The creative guides will have their cameras out and shoot together with the group to ensure that they have the opportunity to show the group how they would approach the scene.
Getting There and Back Out Again
The expedition starts at Undersåker train station. You reach it by train from Stockholm. If you have extra luggage, you can leave this at Vålådalen Mountain Station against a fee.
All meals are included in the price of this expedition, from lunch the arrival day to lunch on the departure day. With the exception of the first night, the Swedish huts are self-catered. This means that we will all cook and clean up together. We will be enjoying dehydrated pre-packaged meals from our favourite supplier (they actually taste great). The Vålådalen Mountain Station has a fantastic restaurant and breakfast buffet that is included for the first night and following morning.
You can rent skis and other equipment in Vålådalen Mountain Station, further information to be provided.
Leave No Trace Policy
Terra Photography Expeditions has a strict leave no trace policy. This policy is also applied to how we share information about fragile ecosystems that we gently and respectfully visit. This means that we have withheld exact locations from the itinerary. This is because we do not want to contribute to large scale tourism. You are welcome to get in touch if you'd like to discuss the itinerary before applying to join. Thank you for your understanding.
Full Return Policy During Covid-19
During the outbreak of Covid-19 we will offer a full refund (both deposit and balance payment) if Swedish governmental restrictions on travel make the expedition unfeasible. You are welcome to get in touch if you have any questions about this. If you display any symptoms of Covid-19, we kindly ask you to not join the expedition and to use your travel insurance for compensation.
This expedition has a Medium Effort Rating. This is a serious trekking expedition where we can expect 6-10 hours of movement per day. Previous multi-day trekking experience is highly advisable. More info about effort levels here.
Price & Details
Guided cross country ski tours by qualified International Mountain Leader
Three nights in a dormitory room at the huts
Three-course dinner and breakfast buffet at Vålådalen Mountain Station
Self-catered meals for all other days
Guided photography sessions in the field
Use of storm shelter
Outdoor clothing and equipment
Transport (e.g. trains to Undersåker)
Insurance. All participants are required to have their own insurance appropriate for hiking in the mountains, such as health, accident, mountain rescue, repatriation, cancellation, personal liability, etc.
Price: 11995 SEK
If you are not a member of Swedish Tourist Association, an additional 300 SEK, will be added to the price. Become a member here.
30% deposit due to secure your reservation, remaining 70% due 90 days before the start of the expedition. Single occupancy not possible. Incl. VAT.
Participants: Minimum 5 - Maximum 10
Start: Undersåker Train Station, 25 March 2021, approx. 09.00
End: Undersåker Train Station, 28 March 2021, approx. 17.00
We reserve the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather conditions, and unforeseeable circumstances.
This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions
If you require equipment, please contact Vålådalen Mountain Station or send us an email and we will assist you.