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Ola Sterner - "My boots actually saved my feet"

In search for the oldest Lundhags boot

Ola Sterner - "My boots actually saved my feet"

In search of the oldest Lundhags boot, we found Ola Sterner, who bought his boots in the early 1980s. They have been through a lot together – countless miles in snow and uncharted terrain, a helicopter crash in the mountains of Jämtland and a marriage proposal.

We recently got to know Ola purely by chance. In a brief exchange at our factory shop in Insjön, we discovered that Ola owns and still uses a pair of Lundhags boots from 1982.

And these boots remain a faithful companion for hunting, hiking and outdoor activities. Nature is a common thread.

"For me, nature and outdoor experiences are what life is all about. There’s really nowhere else you can find such peace. Whether it’s river rafting or sitting on a tree stump in the forest – it all has its own magical charm."

Ola Sterner

He moved up to Jämtland in 1982 to work as a helicopter pilot, and that same year he bought his boots in Järpen, where Lundhags still makes footwear to this day. He used the boots primarily for skiing and flying helicopters. The sole was square back in those days.

"I’ve resoled them three times since then, but the uppers are exactly the same as when I bought them. I try to look after the things I have, which means oiling the boots regularly and washing them off so they’re not left all muddy. And that way, they’ll last."

October 19, 1983

Ola and Sami herder Lars Åke were out moving reindeer in the Offerdal mountains in northern Jämtland. It was Ola’s 25th birthday and he was heading home to celebrate once he was done flying. The weather had been beautiful all day, but after he had started home it quickly changed. A whirlwind behind a mountain ridge suddenly plunged the helicopter down the mountainside.

"We realized that I wouldn't get far with my injured leg, so Lars Åke went off to try and get help. I stayed on the mountain, waiting."

After two unsuccessful attempts by mountain rescue and Ola’s colleagues in the air ambulance, four Sami in the village took it upon themselves to rescue Ola. Battling through nine kilometers of harsh weather, they smelled the fuel from the wreck and then spotted a pair of boots sticking out of a snow drift. Ola had been lying in the mountains for eight hours.

"I was conscious and heard them calling, and it was the most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard."

When he was finally wheeled into the emergency room in Östersund, he proposed to his girlfriend, and they have now been married for 40 years.

"This momentous incident in the mountains is something I will always carry with me. It really makes you think about your life.

"I have a special relationship with these boots. They’ve actually saved my feet. And they’re incredibly comfortable."