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Embracing the mountain mindset

Pro skier and Haglöfs ambassador Malva Björkman on venturing beyond the groomed ski resort to forge a deeper connection to the mountain, and yourself.

What is it about the mountains that keeps drawing you in?
I don’t know what to do when I’m not there. There is no other place I feel better than on the mountain. I like the freedom of just being and I really like how, afterwards, I can say that I have been there and I know what it looks like when you are up there… It’s always a different experience and that’s also why I like to be there, it’s never the same.
When you put on skis, you tend to head straight for the backcountry. Why choose to do the hard work of making your own ascents, when you could simply take a ski lift to the top?
“When you leave the ski resorts and ski lifts and put on skis there is no stop. There are no boundaries, you can just go and you can create the adventure that you want. And you can really reach those places that you can’t with a ski lift. You can just go to the first top, ski down, take the next top, and you can continue that for days, and years. The most satisfying part is when you have been hiking up the mountain for hours and you reach the top and suddenly you get a whole new world, a whole new view that you haven’t seen the whole day. That’s a really nice feeling.
“And then there’s the calm. I think a lot of people would love the backcountry if they would just allow themselves to experience that feeling of leaving their noisy surroundings behind.”
What is your approach to gear when ski touring?
“You get cold when you’re sitting on the lift. But when you’re moving all the time like you do in ski touring you want light and thin layers you can easily take off when you need to. Every time I’m looking for new gear it’s always like ‘ok, is there a lighter option?’  Because when you have light gear you are able to reach so much further, and the days you don’t want to move far will be less demanding on your energy.” 
Speaking of reaching further, last spring you ski toured in Stranda, aka “powder paradise,” with Haglöfs. What was that experience like?
“That was a cold day, like -11 C. We started really early and knew we had a lot of hours in front of us on the mountain. I was just out there moving and I remember I had a lot of thinking going on at the time because I had been in an avalanche that season, and ever since that day I have really started to think more about how grateful I am. There are a lot of people just dreaming of the things I get to do every day, and I’m just so thankful to have the opportunity to be out there so much.”
How was it when you reached the top?
“Most mornings you don’t even really know what the day will be like and when you’re out there with company you know you have to create the experience together. And the day we were in Stranda we didn’t know we would have the sunset of our life waiting for us when we reached the top after like 11 hours. That was a real moment.”

Get into the mountain mindset

Malva’s top tips

1. Meditate
“Meditating for five minutes daily can absolutely help everyone get closer to that mountain state of mind.”
2. Don’t judge the cloud cover
“Some guests I’ve had feel like, ‘oh I need to have a super blue sky and super nice snow to have a great experience.’ But some of the best days I’ve had on the mountain are the days when we had ‘crappy’ weather.”
3. Give it time
"When you are out in the backcountry it is not easy in the beginning. For most people, it is something you have to practice and learn about to really enjoy. So give it time, and don’t judge your own experience or compare it to others".