Episode 225 of Talk Ultra has an in-depth interview with Michael Wardian after his epic run across America. We also speak with Ultra Trail Snowdia by UTMB race director, Michael Jones. Speedgoat co-hosts.
Norway has opened up endless possibilities when it comes to outdoor adventures. Camping and fast packing two obvious highlights. However, every now and again, something with a little more comfort and uniqueness can be an attraction and temptation, especially when running and exploring.
Scandinavia is all about outdoor experiences and there are many who are offering a ‘unique’ opportunity to experience nature. AuroraHut is one such company.
For clarity, our stay in the ‘Arctic Dome-Eco Camp Rondane’ should have originally been in a heated dome, situated on land – a prize Abelone won in a completion in 2021.
Time was against us, as was the availability of the domes and then a last-minute trip to Rondane provided the opportunity to seize a free AuroraHut for the night… So, we took it!
Rondane is located 4-hours from Oslo in Eastern Norway and is known for its rolling landscape, extreme cold temperatures in winter and the amazing Moskus (Musk Ox) which is definitely a ‘to-do’ when visiting, maybe as part of a tour?
AuroaHut – An igloo boat that takes glamping to another level. It’s a moveable luxury that can float or be located on land based on or around attractions. A key feature is the ability to move the AuroraHut based on weather and seasons, particularly important in places such as Norway with harsh winters. It can also be placed next to other AuroraHuts to facilitate family accommodation or groups. Ultimately, the possibilities are endless.
Our AuroraHut should have been placed on Høvringsvatne lake surrounded by mountains (see below) and wide-open space near Smuksjøseter Fjellstue – a perfect location providing a sense of isolation but with the luxury of the AuroraHut. More information HERE.
Unfortunately, on arrival we were told our AuroraHut had been re-located lower down the valley due to a harsh winter and the Høvringsvatne lake being frozen. The new location – a small lake surrounded by cabins and next to the Høvringen Høgfjellshotell (see below).
Not what we wanted and had we been paying we would have most definitely complained.
The AuroraHut requires isolation! It is effectively a floating greenhouse made up of glass panels that offers panorama views. Great views for those inside out to nature, but also great views inside from anyone outside to the AuroraHut and us! The lake was close to a road, close to cars and behind multiple cabins; not what you want.
Inside is simple as one would expect. Access is from a floating wooden platform and through a keypad door that requires an access code. As one enters, there is a small entrance space, immediately to the right a very small kitchen area with two burners and minimal storage area. To the left, coat hangers and a small space for storage and directly opposite a small toilet area behind a curtain. The main space is occupied with a comfortable double bed and a 180-240degree vista from left to right. The roof is also glass, perfect at night for looking at the sky. Luxuries come with some modern lighting, USB ports, wifi and a music system. Ultimately, it’s a glorified tent.
We were fortunate to have great weather, blue skies, sun, clouds and relaxing on the bed with a glass of wine and music playing was wonderful. We just looked out and enjoyed the view… Then a family of four walked past on the road, stopped and looked in at us. The moment was gone. Again, had I been paying for my stay I would have been complaining! You may think I am laboring this point too much, but at 3000-3500 Nok per night (£250-£290) you want the correct experience.
We had running water but unfortunately this ran out in the evening and never came back. A huge frustration but gladly, this was compensated for by me thinking ahead and ensuring the kettle was full of water ready for morning coffee. The kitchen is well designed cramping everything in to a small space. But you would not want to cook, anything other than boiling water for pasta and heating a sauce for said pasta would be too much. We had already anticipated this a brought a cool bag with all we required for a relaxed dinner – cold meats, salad, vegetable, cheese, bread, and a good quantity of wine. The only places to eat are either outside (a bench and wood burning heater are available) or on the bed. It was a chilly night, so we relaxed on the bed and enjoyed the experience.
Our evening was spent chatting, relaxing, enjoying a glass of wine and we even enjoyed a movie while eating our bodyweight in sweet treats. It was a great escape.
It’s July in Norway, so, it doesn’t go dark… Well, not until midnight and then it comes light around 0230, so, a blindfold is required if you want a dark sleeping experience. The glass roof is open and clear so fantastic for lying back and looking up to the sky. This experience would be enhanced in winter when the stars would shine and with luck, you may see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis from which the AuroraHut gets its name.
An excellent sleep was enhanced with the gentle movement of the AuroraHut on the lake as the wind rocked us. Abelone did wonder if she would get seasick – all was good.
Morning was compromised with a lack of running water. We relaxed but soon departed for our onward journey.
We had a great night; we enjoyed the experience and uniqueness of the AuroraHut but it was all tainted by a poor location that spoiled what could have been a truly magical and special night. AuroaHut needs and requires isolation, space, and the opportunity to feel alone – we did not get this.
As experiences go, I would recommend an AuroraHut experience and I am most definitely tempted to re-experience this in winter, surrounded by snow with dark long days and the sky illuminated with the Aurora Borealis. But, one night is enough in my opinion, there is no need for additional nights – the uniqueness, joy and wow factor come in 24-hours. If running, this one would be a real treat amidst a running adventure, however, the lack of a shower would make me choose a hotel.
Ultimately, AuroraHut is one of those ‘things to do!’ and the experience should be special and memorable.