This new revised version of the 'The Real Heroes of Telemark Expedition' has been refined and improved; we have taken the best elements of the old course to provide an expedition that is suitable for novice and expert whilst retaining the essential challenge for both. This is a one week action packed trip to Norway for anyone interested in learning or revising their winter skills and re-enacting part of what must be the most famous Sabotage Operation during WWII. This new week-long trip is designed for anyone over the age of 18 with average fitness, an adventurous spirit and an interest in War History.
The success of the Telemark Operation was mainly due to the Norwegian saboteur's ability to operate and survive in a hostile winter environment. Our team in Norway will put you through an intense four day programme of winter skills culminating in a two night mini expedition on Northern Europe’s highest mountain plateau, the Hardangervidda following part of the original sabotage route for Operation Grouse. Altogether, you will ski approximately 35 kilometers; 17 kms of the original route. The final phase of your trip will be a realistic re-enactment of Operation Gunnerside at the Hydro Electric power plant near Rjukan. The Norwegian saboteurs who carried out this operation were to be known as "The Heroes of Telemark".
The Ray Mears' Real Heroes of Telemark TV series demonstrated the bravery of a small group of Norwegian saboteurs during WWII who put their lives at risk to stop the Germans gaining access to a substance called Deuterium Oxide or 'heavy water', a secret ingredient crucial in the Nazis attempt to make an Atomic Bomb. This challenging Woodlore expedition will take you on a fascinating journey retracing the ski tracks of these saboteurs.
The saboteurs were chosen for their local knowledge and their survival skills that enabled them to survive in Northern Europe's most inhospitable environment, the high mountain plateau of the Hardangervidda.
Whilst the saboteurs' target was the hydroelectric power plant at Vemork, near Rjukan in the Telemark region, they were dropped high up in the mountains to avoid detection. The men then travelled through this harsh mountain environment towards their ultimate target, finding shelter as they went.
Even if you are a non/novice skier, this exclusive Woodlore expedition will train you to a level that will enable you to undertake this remarkable journey.
The first three days will be based in the Setesdal Valley, south of the Hardanger led by chief instructor Matt Larsson-Clifford from Hogas winter skiing centre run by Brian Desmond. In a beautifully forested area, this training phase will concentrate on basic skiing skills in forgiving, undulating terrain suited to the novice skier. These are important skills that are necessary to enable you to complete the expedition phase of the trip. These skills will add a dimension to your skiing that will stay with you for years to come.
During the initial training phase you will be based just north of the town of Evje. Your accommodation will be based at the winter centre at the Revsnes Hotel. This accommodation has central heating, double rooms, excellent facilities including en-suite showers, kitchen area and TV room, allowing time to relax in the evenings after a hard day's ski training and hearty meals are provided everyday. This phase will allow you to meet the daily rigors of learning a new skill in a winter environment. It will also prepare you for the challenge of the expedition to come.
On completion of the ski-training phase you will transfer further north to edge of the Hardangervidda where Norwegian guides will be waiting to take us on a fantastic winter wilderness journey onto Northern Europe’s highest mountain plateau. You will stay for two nights in close proximity to the cabins actually used by the Norwegian saboteurs in 1942 using them as a base while sleeping in lavvo and snow shelters. During your time on the vidda you will acclimatise to the local weather and snow conditions as well as take part in winter camp craft skills.
After two nights out on the vidda, having successfully completed part of the sabotage route, you will be transported to a hotel near to Rjukan for two nights from where (after a good night's sleep!) there will be a short tour of the actual attack route used by the saboteurs over 60 years ago. You will also have the chance to ride the Krossobanen cable car, visit the Vemork museum at Rjukan and the impressive Heavy Water display there, plus indulge in some local shopping.
On the last night there will be a celebration dinner, where diplomas will be handed out, before departing for home the next day. Your last two days will conclude this memorable trip, giving insight to the original operation and adding to the historical context of what you have achieved.