Classic mountain station with a taste of Northern Crowberries
Crowberries and beer? Yap. It is a fantastic taste combo created by the staff at STF Saltoluokta Fjällstation with the help of Tjers brewery. A good example of what imaginativeness and cooperation can produce.
Some years ago the idea of trying to create a flavoured beer, totally unique for Salto, was born. The staff started working on choosing which of the plants or herbs in the area that would be suitable. They discussed angelica, cloudberries and wild rosemary, however they finally choose the Crowberry, a healthy, yet bitter little berry, named tjáhppismuorjje in the Lule-sami language. It may be worth mentioning that the Crowberry has, through time, been an excellent thirst quencher for hikers and the Sami due to its high water content.
Together with the small brewery Tjers in Överkalix the plans to create a beer soon became reality. The result – Saltoluokta [tjáhppismuorjje], a Northern Crowberry pale ale with a fine-bubble froth, flavoured with Northern Crowberry juice. This quite unique beer was first introduced during the 2017 winter season. The guests accepted gladly the surprising news and gave it a thumbs up. Consequently the first batch sold out in no time.
- It became a beer with a lot of flavour exceptionally well suited with the type of food we serve. Besides, we can pick Crowberries in autumn as well as in spring, when the snow has melted, says Johan Påve, Site Manager at STF Saltoluokta.
The soul of the place
STF Saltoluokta has a very special feel. Its position with the huge national parks Sarek, Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfallet all within easy reach, has attracted people for more than a hundred years. There is no road so visitors will need to be ferried across Langas, the large lake. Despite it only being a short 10 minute journey, the nice feeling of leaving everyday life and civilisation behind is certainly still present.
The atmosphere at the mountain station is genuine, the welcome is hearty and the cultural feeling permeating through the place is that of being genuine and honest. It is kind of etched into the walls. There is no need for a false or imaginary story, the story of the mountain station and the region in itself is more than enough. Old charm of the main building’s log cabin, original furnishings together with an open fireplace, kerosene lamps and candles in the restaurant, they all create that special, cosy feeling and set the stage.
Music and single weeks attract
The Folk Music Festival in late June, early July, the five Family Mountain Weeks during the year and the summer classic Single in Salto have all contributed to the mountain station being a place many return to, time and time again.
- The Folk Music Festival is our largest event, it has been going consecutively since 1977. The whole place is booked out, as well as many are also camping. To ensure access for more people at the concerts there is also ferrying happening across Langas-sjön from Kebnats during the evenings, says Johan.
The Family Weeks, where children and parents can participate in activities together or separate, are very popular. So is “Single in Salto” which, just as the name indicates, is aimed at singles travelling that perhaps want to share their mountain experience with likeminded people. Rather than doing it all alone.
- We have people of all ages attending, from about 20 and upwards, says Johan.
Special feeling to live and work together
Johan Påve has been the mountain stations Site Manager for sixteen years now. He’s trying to explain the soul of the place and why it’s not only visitors, but also many of the staff, that come back year after year.
- No matter if you’re working or having time off, this place is never just a job. We, the staff, all get to know each other. So it always ends up with us all pitching in to lend a hand when or where-ever it’s needed. At the same, since we’ll get a few new staff members each season, it makes each season special and something completely new, says Johan.
The mountain station has two seasons, from February till end of April and from the middle of June till the end of September.
Our dinners are the mountain stations hallmark. It feels just like being invited into someone’s home. Food is served exactly at 6pm with everyone sitting, eagerly waiting, almost like a large family.
- We use set chairs at the dinner table for practical reasons, however that is a fact guests comment as it gives them a chance to get to know each other. We often get to hear they find that very nice, says Johan.
It’s customers that all kitchen staff will appear to present the menu and tell our guests what they are serving and where the food comes from. The meal becomes a common bond and a very social experience. It is both pleasant and cosy to gather around the food, which in itself is something very special.
There is an unspoken ambition to buy in ecological and Krav labelled raw ingredients, but it is a main priority to buy local produce. The local and small scale produce is often the best alternative anyway. Berries picked in the area are better than ecologically grown berries being transported from far away. The reindeer and moose meat is from Utsi Ren in Porjus and Sápmi Ren och Vilt in Jokkmokk, the fish is caught by people in the nearby village Björkudden in the lakes of Langas and Akkajaure.
The philosophy to buy from and care for the small local producers is obvious but is also sustainable and climate smart in both short and long term. It is in the best interest of everyone, including nature.
Maximise your stay in the mountains
With Saltoluokta mountain station as a starting point, or a comfortable and cosy base camp, the world of the mountains is literally wide open for anyone wanting to be part of the unique world heritage listed Laponia and the large national parks Sarek, Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfallet. Whilst Sarek is the given area for more experienced and extreme hikers, Padjelanta is easy going and especially appreciated for its unique floral splendour and the nice mountain huts, run by the Sami villages in the area.
Kungsleden meanders through Stora Sjöfallets nationalpark, one of the very first ones in Sweden, formed as early as 1909. There are, in the park, several mountain tops over 2 000 meters high with deep valleys and unprecedented taiga forest.
Regardless if you are after longer, or extreme hikes or just a shorter route in the vicinity of Saltoluokta, you can still do a lot to maximise you own experience. Engross yourself in Laponia Naturum at Stora Sjöfallet. Take a day trip to visit Siv and Acke in Pietsjaure. Take the opportunity to have a chat with people living, working and who, in other ways, are active in the area. Their passed down knowledge is a never ending source of new perspectives. During certain times of the season there are local activity business’ present at Saltoluokta. Try an activity of theirs and you will gain new insights and knowledge in the bargain. Perhaps paddling on the large mountain lake, Langas, would be just the thing for you.
- We have noticed a distinct trend in people wanting to visit places where they can actually learn something. They are able to do that right here, said Johan Påve, Site Manager at STF Saltoluokta Fjällstation.