The expert panel – Åsnes Academy

This collection of experts has been assembled so that we can provide you with knowledge based on the best of experience, knowledge, science and life wisdom. And when we say that we have gathered experts, we have gathered actual experts who demonstrably know what they are talking about and who have unique and highly valuable knowledge. The combination of the knowledge in Åsnes, our ambassadors and the expert panel includes everything from ski construction and material knowledge to life wisdom and beginner lessons. In fact, we would argue that the combined knowledge found in this group cannot be matched anywhere else.

Aleksander Gamme

Adventurer and polar explorer

Quite indisputably, the nation’s and perhaps the world’s most versatile adventurer, in the truest sense of the word.

Aleksander Gamme is quite indisputably, the nation’s and perhaps the world’s most versatile adventurer, in the truest sense of the word. He is best known for having completed the world’s longest ski trip of 2,274 km to the South Pole, but we think it is even more important to remember his unconventional choice, when he chose to wait for Cas and Jones so that they could cross the finish line together.

Aleksander is curious by nature, which may have led him into activities such as parachuting, base jumping, speed riding and climbing. He rarely says no to a new activity or something new that can be explored or tried.
Aleksander has been on a number of expeditions. He has crossed the Sahara on a tandem bicycle, he has walked the length of Las Vegas, climbed Mount Everest, flown with helium balloons, paddled the Mjøsa in a bathtub, and is a trained safari guide in South Africa.

Aleksander does most things, has tried most things and knows most things about hiking and extreme sports – whether it’s with a sled, climbing harness, surfboard, kayak or wingsuit as an aid.

Among other things, he was the presenter of NRK’s “Drømmeturen” and “Oppdrag Nansen”. Together with Cecilie Skog, their sailing dream was documented through the series “FamilieFryd”, while his own series “Ekspedisjon Dronning Maud Land” was nominated for the Gullruten 2016. He has also filmed and assisted in the development of “The World’s Longest Ski Tour” – a documentary from tour/ return to the South Pole in 2011/12.

Today, Aleksander runs the podcast “Tur og Tøys” together with another well-known man in the expedition environment, namely Lars Ebbesen. In addition to this, Aleksander has been active in the development of climbing parks, new TV series, photography and video production. He is a good friend of the gang in Åsnes, and we often go on trips together.

Børge Ousland

Adventurer and our time’s most significant polar explorer

The most significant polar explorer of our time. Has for more than 30 years undertaken ground-breaking expeditions in polar and arctic regions.

Børge is a man who hardly needs an introduction in this context. The greatest adventurer of our time, today’s most meritorious polar explorer and a living legend. The polar explorer with a capital P, no one above, no one beside.

For more than 30 years, Børge Ousland has undertaken ground-breaking expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic – expeditions that stretch the limits of what was thought possible. He undertook history’s first solo expedition to the North Pole without resupply, and he was the first to cross Antarctica alone. The list of his many expeditions is otherwise so long that we recommend a Google search instead of listing it here.

Børge Ousland is also a trained diver and has a background as a deep-water diver in the North Sea and a military background from the Marine Hunter Command. He is also a renowned photographer and has received several international awards for his expeditions and films.

In 1994 he walked alone from Cape Arktichesky in Russia to the North Pole as the first in the world, and in 1996/1997 he was the first in the world to cross the South Pole from coast to coast alone and without resupply, which was also the fastest record in to the South Pole in just 34 days.

From the autumn of 2019, Børge Ousland and Mike Horn went on their heaviest trip to date, and yet another boundary-breaking and historic trip. They sailed in to the ice edge of North Pole and the Arctic Ocean before going in to the pole point and on to the coast at Svalbard.

In recent years, Børge has started the IceLegacy project together with Vincent Colliard, where they will cross the 20 largest glaciers in the world while focusing on climate change. In addition, Børge is a successful entrepreneur, contract holder and expedition organizer with his company Ousland Explorers and the tourism destination Manshausen in Steigen. Har is also one of the very few IPGA certified polar guides, and has played a central role in creating this organization.

Randi Skaug

Adventurer and inspirer

Professional adventurer with one foot in nature and one foot in business. After 30 years of triumphant highs and instructive lows, the stories have become strong and transferable.

On 20 May 2004, Randi Skaug from Åsbygda became the first Norwegian woman on Everest. The mountain tour had one goal: To master.

And she did it. Randi is the outsider who conquered the world’s highest mountain. No one in the  mountain environment had heard of her before. Probably no one would bet their money on her either. But it is not with pride that she tells her story, it is with gratitude. Thanks to the Nepalese mountain guides Tshering Pande Bhote and Jyamchang Bhote, she made it all the way to the top and all the way home – alive.

On December 31, 2007, she completed the Seven summits – the highest mountain on each continent. After traveling on all the continents of the world and in over 75 countries, she has defined Norway as her most important expedition country. This project brought her to Northern Norway in the kayak SAKTERUTA, a trip that went from Rørvik to Russia over three summers from 2012 – 2014.

The paddling trip in northern Norway led to both learning and falling in love. The northern Norwegian lightning, light and nature were to be depended on. In 2015, Randi bought the island of Naustholmen in Steigen to start an adventure destination. The idea was to share one’s own experiences with others and offer strong nature experiences and friendly community. Naustholmen Adventure Island opened in May 2016.

Besides traveling all over the world, Randi has contributed a lot to humanitarian work in Nepal and Afghanistan. She is also a businesswoman, speaker, author and is known for her unique ability to engage and inspire!

Bengt Rotmo

IPGA Polar Guide, dog sledder, journalist and adventurer.

Has one-room experience and is an authority in the hiking environment, but at the same time is sarcastic and prefers to highlight others rather than himself. Together with Randulf Valle, they were the first to ski the entire Nordvespassage, and are thus one of our modern pioneers in winter expeditions.

In our opinion, Bengt Rotmo is very underrated and a figure who does not get enough attention for everything he has done. He is known in the tour and expedition environment as a very professional, tidy, humble and down-to-earth fellow. The fact that he does not shout the loudest or emphasize himself is probably one of the reasons why he is a character and so highly valued. He is simply a man who lets his actions and demeanor do the talking – and that is admirable.

For Bengt, firing the primus is “the highlight of the day” on cold trips. He knows every trick in the book, literally.

Bengt has guided countless trips, across Greenland, to the North and South Pole, and is a permanent guide on the crossing of the ice cap in Patagonia for Ousland Explorers. He has also had several long trips in Alaska and Canada, and was, among other things, the first to ski the entire Northwest Passage together with Randulf Valle. In addition to all this, he is also a dog runner and has taken part in many races.

He is rich in knowledge and has a lot of experience. And if you are lucky enough to have met him, or been on a trip with him, it is not that difficult to look up to him or to understand that he is a natural advisor and role model for many.

Bengt has a long experience with equipment testing for, among other things, Helsport (tested tents in wind tunnels and on expeditions) and as a writer (“On skiing through the northwest passage”) and journalist for outdoor magazines. Has is one of very few IPGA certified polar guides.

Sigvor Djukastein Mala

Arctic nature guide, adventurer, social worker and photographer.

Has worked as a guide on Svalbard and the mainland for several years. Passionate about long mountain ski trips, knows Svalbard like the back of his hand and has a solid tour CV. Feels best with rhymes in her hair, cold fingers and a white landscape in front of her.

Sigvor grew up in an outdoor family in Voss, and skiing became a natural part of outdoor life from a young age. She was always taken on both short and long ski trips, and has a father who has been in the mountains all his life to look up to.

After a year at Alta Folkehøgskole and the “Expedition line”, the interest in winter outdoor activities with tents, sleds and skis was really awakened. Longer trips and a trip to Svalbard meant that Sigvor eventually became very fond of Svalbard. Something that has in turn materialized in many longer trips on Svalbard, both in winter and on foot. Among other things to Svalbard’s two highest mountains, Newtontoppen and Perriertoppen. Sigvor has also gone on several longer trips on the mainland, including on Finnmarksvidda, Hardangervidda and in Jotunheimen.

Sigvor is an Arctic Nature Guide from Svalbard and the University of Tromsø, and has worked as a guide in Svalbard and on the mainland here in Norway for several years. She has solid professional knowledge and is well trained in avalanches, glacier travel, mountain medicine, navigation and leadership – to name a few.

For Sigvor, the everyday trips in the local area are just as important as the long expeditions, so nature is an important part of everyday life and it is mostly in the mountains that you can find her when she has time off from work. The biggest passion is skiing, satisfied when the ski season lasts until June and starts again in October.

Sigvor also trained as a social worker, and wants to be able to use his knowledge of outdoor life in his work with vulnerable groups, to create a sense of mastery and change.

Sigvor is an Åsnes Ambassador, and quickly became a natural part of the expert panel at Åsnes Academy. She is good with people, has solid knowledge and a lot to share. That is why she will also be seen a lot at courses and workshops organized by Åsnes Academy in the years to come! You are guaranteed to learn a lot from being on a trip with Sigvor.

Christian Iversen Styve

Adventurer, polar guide and photographer

Adventurer, polar guide and photographer. Was born and trained in Voss, a real Vossian, naturally brought up with skis on his feet. Has a fairly long and comprehensive tour and expedition CV.

Christian was born and trained in Voss, a real Vossian, who grew up with Åsnes skis on his feet.

In his adult life, Christian has been expedition leader for close to 30 expeditions. Has been to the South Pole 3 times, has crossed Greenland a bunch of times and is an avid kiter. Christian is keen to give that little extra to those who are with him on the trip, in the form of learning and mastery. His goal is that after a course or a trip with him, you should always have good prerequisites to be able to carry out similar trips on your own.

Christian lives in Oslo on a daily basis. He is mostly out for a walk and quickly gets impatient with sitting still in the big city. In recent years, he has guided several groups for, among others, Hvitserk, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions LLC (ALE), Yourway Adventures & Expeditions, Bergans Adventures and Fram Expeditions.

The tours that Christian has guided have taken him across Greenland and not least to Baffin Island, but Christian is also fond of high mountains – and has been to both South America and the Caucasus to guide tours. The time at home in Norway is often used for both mountain, glacier and peak trips. Today, he is probably one of the most experienced polar guides in the country, and is a safe bet if you are planning a longer expedition and want the best conditions to carry it out.

Christian also has a past in the sports industry, where he has worked with and sold skis. Therefore, he has developed a burning interest in equipment and has always used Åsnes skis on his trips. As an ambassador in Åsnes, he wants to contribute to product development and, not least, convey the joy of walking through text and images. Christian dreams of the North and South Pole, 7 Summits and 8,000 meters. Passionate about running in the forest and has been an avid ultra-runner.

Crister Næss

Åsnes potato, ski guide and equipment geek

Åsnes potato, ski guide, equipment geek, dog handler and natural child of rank. Good at many things, expert at something, and completely usable for most things.

Crister is a permanent fixture in Åsnes, has a long history in the sports industry and is the prime mover for Åsnes Academy. In short: a real “potato”, a so-called “jack of all trades, mastering just some”. Crister has grown up with outdoor activities, skiing, extreme sports and Westland mountains.

Quite versatile, and masters most things he decides to master. For several years, he has also made it a profession to take people on trips, as a mountain and ski guide in Fjellgutane Førarlag and other well-known companies. Have previously skied a lot, climbed and worked, in all the nooks and crannies of the world.

In his adult life, he had a military career for a period, where he spent an unashamedly large amount of time outdoors throughout the year. He knows everything about being cold, wet, freezing and struggling. He likes to “feel that he is alive” – but most importantly, he has learned all the tricks there are to avoid hating on tour.

Crister is – and has been – a member of several rescue groups and is the one you want to come and pick you up in the mountains if you ever need help. In the Armed Forces, he was trained as a dog handler and worked as an instructor in various branches. He has a dog now too, and works as a dog handler, is the owner and consultant of the company Fluent Dawg – Dogtraining and Workingdogs.

For several years, Crister spent all his own free time and holidays skiing, going on long ski trips and climbing high mountains. For the past 10 years, he has “lived in his bag” between work, military career, stays abroad, studies, trips and adventures. He is definitely what can be defined as an “equipment geek” – i.e. someone who dissects, studies and then tests everything he can get his hands on. You could probably say that he has, on the verge of a diagnosable relationship with skis, gloves, hiking clothing and hiking equipment.

Crister lives and breathes skiing and outdoor life, so you can certainly see him with a pair of prototype Åsnes skis on his feet, or with his dog in the Vossafjellene.

Lars Ebbesen

Polar explorer, globetrotter and expedition guru

Polar explorer, globe trotter, expedition guru and living oracle. Helped start Hvitserk in 1997 and has for a number of years worked together with the greatest polar explorers of our time, been a mentor and advisor for a number of well-known expeditions. If you have any questions about polar expeditions, this is the friend you want to call!

Lars Ebbesen is a living oracle, a guru in the hiking environment and has been a globetrotter, adventurer and polar explorer all his life. He is the globetrotter who has been on countless adventures on the world’s 7 continents, and on the Arctic Ocean. After many Greenland crossings, along Svalbard, and several trips to the highest mountains in the world, Lars has, in other words, broad experience from several fields.

Lars is also known for his Unarmed expedition to the South Pole together with Cato Zahl Pedersen and Odd Harald Hauge.

Lars also helped start up Hvitserk in 1997 together with Sjur Mørdre. Perhaps Norway’s largest and best-known tour operator.

Few people have as many stories and such in-depth knowledge of adventure and winter outdoor life as Lars Ebbesen. He now works together with Børge Ousland in Ousland AS and Ousland Explorers. He also works for himself as, among other things, graphic designer, advisor and mentor.

As a graphic designer and with his enormous interest – and knowledge, he has played a key role in the publication of countless adventure / coffee table books.

Lars is the man who knows everything you need to know about expeditions. What he doesn’t know, he finds out. Over the years, he has been a mentor and advisor for a number of well-known expeditions. Foreign expeditions also call Lars if they are stuck.

Kristin Folsland Olsen

Photographer, journalist and “Baffin Babe”

En av de originale «Baffin Babes». Bor i Lofoten, er frilansjournalist, fotograf, forfatter og foredragsholder. Har gjennomført skiekspedisjoner på Svalbard, Grønland, Baffin Island og Sør-Georgia.

Kristin Folsland Olsen perhaps really became known as part of the ladies’ gang “Baffin Babes”, when they were on an 80-day expedition on Baffin Island. Afterwards, there was both a book and a TV documentary about the trip. They also made TV series from other expeditions that still exist on NRK.

Today, Kristin is a recognized photographer and writer in Norway, freelance journalist and motivational speaker. She has been a guide in Svalbard, trained sled dogs in Greenland and has been on skiing expeditions to Baffin Island and South Georgia. In addition, she has been a presenter for the Discovery Channel.

She currently lives in Lofot and spends most of her time in the mountains or at sea. Kristin has written several books with tour descriptions and inspiration. Nowadays, she constantly writes for magazines such as A-Magasinet and Fjell og Vidde.

Mats Grimsæth

Sailor, adventurer, award-winning photographer and speaker

Vant «Tabuprisen 2019» for inspirasjon og åpenhet om menns psykiske helse og selvmord. Har krysset Barentshavet med seilbåt seks ganger og er prisbelønt fotograf. Han er relativt fersk med ski på beina, men hans åpenhet, vinnende vesen og evne til å vise «det ufiltrerte» gjør han unik, viktig og veldig inspirerende i våre øyne!

It doesn’t really matter how old you are, or what you do for a living. In Mats’s journey, everyone can recognize something, both good and bad.

Mats is known for being a very inspiring and strong speaker. And those who have heard him talk have heard his story. It is strong and he speaks an important message! That is perhaps why he won the Taboo Prize 2019 as well, linked to his openness about mental health. “I managed to think that I am Mats and that is good enough, and I had to start doing what made me happy”. With this in mind, he fueled his dream of becoming a photographer.

Mats jumped in and went on to be named one of the world’s best Red Bull photographers at the age of 18. Furthermore, he went from his on his first sailing trip, where he sailed from Larvik to Lofoten in an open boat with the aim – to meet people without prejudices and expectations.

Despite his young age, Mats could spend several hours telling stories about raw experiences as an adventurer, and how he managed to become the world’s youngest expedition leader around Spitsbergen. If there is someone who can really motivate you to follow your dream and dare to face your fear, it is Mats, but perhaps more importantly he knows how you have to feel before you can do this: “You can’t follow your dream if you don’t know how you really feel. I know that”.

At the end of the day, we are all people with baggage, and we have to help each other with it. We have to break down the threshold to talk together about what everyday life is really like.

Mats calls himself a “beginner” with skis on his feet and on winter trips, but his ability to show the filtered, learn, inspire and this openness – makes him an important part of our team. Mats contributes with the down-to-earth, real and human. And it is an expert competence that should not be overlooked!

Ousland Explorers

The world’s leading guide company on demanding expeditions

A unique collection of pioneers, experience and extremely professional guides, led by the most prominent polar explorers of our time. Delivering the highest standards of safety, accuracy and fun.

Børge Ousland guided the first trip to the North Pole in 1998, and since then he and his company have been the leaders of this type of trip.

Through many years of exploring the world and in Norway, Børge has met many talented, interesting and strong people with the right attitude; both when it comes to reaching the goal and against the teammates.

He says he never looked for someone with his exact skills when putting together the team behind Ousland Explorers, because it wouldn’t take them to the high level they want to be at. The company has gradually developed more and more trips, and today consists of several of the individuals whom Børge himself admires and regards as teammates.

Ousland Explorers are a very ambitious group of people who continuously strive for maximum safety, accuracy and fun. Everyone in the team loves to explore, but most of all they want to pass on knowledge about winter life and share the beautiful arctic forest with others. Once you get to know this exceptional team, they can take you anywhere!

Ousland Explorers consists of extremely professional and experienced guides, with personalities such as Thomas Ulrich, Petter Nyquist, Vincent Colliard, Sigrid Ekran, Are Johansen, Sigurd Schultz and Rune Krogh – in addition to the aforementioned Bengt Rotmo and Lars Ebbesen.