Brian Desmond, Marketing Director/Manager
Brian is the manager and marketing director for Destination Setesdal and Joint Services Training Centre Evjemoen Norway.
Brian has lived in Norway since 1981, speaks Norwegian fluently and enjoys living and working in an area renowned for its natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. Brian previously served with the British military for 25 years (Including 7 years “CDO Forces”) specializing in winter warfare and an international ski career. He has represented Great Britain in X-country skiing, ski orienteering, (5 World Championships) is a former British biathlon champion and BASI 1 trainer.
Brian’s last 6 years in the British Army were as a full-time adventurous training instructor at the British Outward Bound Centre, Norway. As a BASI 1 ski teacher, Brian was responsible for running BASI courses in Norway and assessing summer/winter expedition leaders for the 3 services. Brian has also attended a two year Norwegian Ski degree course at the University of Volda in Northern Norway, and holds a trainer qualification from the Norwegian Ski association in addition to many other UK Adventurous training qualifications in different outdoor activities.
After leaving the service in 1988 Brian remained in Norway with his Norwegian wife and their children. Working as a part time Physical Education teacher and manager for a health project helped the integration process and paved the way for Brian’s career managing an Outdoor Centre. Over the years Brian has led over 70 summer and winter expeditions in Norway, some as long as 450kms through some of Norway’s most well-known mountain areas. Brian is well recognized for his expertise, an example being asked to work as a special consultant for the Norwegian army to organize and teach Dutch special forces in arctic warfare and X-country skiing. In 2009 Brian was co responsible for organizing and carrying out a highly successful selection course for the Dutch Defence Academy receiving a commendation in the form of the Dutch Defence minister’s personal medal.
Brian has contributed to the local community by sitting on the local Borough Council and various other Commitees for three periods where he lives in the Setesdal Valley. The Battle for Heavy water and Hitler’s attempt to produce an Atomic bomb, and the occupation of Norway during WW2 are central themes that are of particular interest. Brian’s intimate knowledge of this action, of the Hardanger Vidda where much of this story unfolded and his close relationship with some of the surviving saboteurs led Brian to be heavily involved in Ray Mears acclaimed documentary, “The Real Heroes of Telemark”. Since then Brian has also been sought out to work on several other film projects associated with this particular action. One of these was the documentary “Hitler’s Sunken Secret”. This film won the best documentary in the world in its own category at the Chicago film Festival, a fitting tribute to all who worked on the project and to its outstanding director/producer Duncan Copp.
Matt Larsson-Clifford leads the Heroes of Telemark expedition in Norway under the guidance of Brian Desmond. Matt served with the British military for over 16 years, specializing in physical and outdoor education.
Prior to his career in the military, Matt worked in the outdoor industry and gained a Diploma in Outdoor Activities, a BEd Hons in Outdoor Education and many high level qualifications in mountaineering, skiing, kayaking, sea-kayaking and open canoeing.
Matt retired from the Royal Air Force (RAF) as one of the leading specialists in Adventurous Training (AT) and as a Fellow of the Institute in Leadership and Management. His final position was as the Commanding Officer of the largest Force Development Training Centre in the RAF. During his time in this position, Matt set up and led a variety of overseas annual expeditions which still today exposes more than 1000 RAF personnel a year, to the benefits of AT; including Ski Touring and Mountaineering in the Alps, Wilderness Open Canoeing in Sweden, Sea Kayaking in Norway and Nordic Ski Touring in Sweden. He was also privileged to have led expeditions throughout Europe, Africa, USA and Canada.
On leaving the RAF in 2013, Matt retired to Sweden where he and his family built their own house and are currently developing their own small-holding and forest. Matt also set up ‘Sweden Outdoors Coaching’ where he has worked as an AT consultant for the RAF, the United Arab Emirates Military, Human Behavioral Performance Training (HBP Trg), Charitable Trusts, The Swedish Canoe Federation and private customers. Matt continues to use his high-level qualifications to develop individuals and teams in the outdoors, both in the mountains, forests and on the rivers and sea, and since 2013 has worked all over Sweden and Norway, the Alps, Scotland, UK and North Africa.
Matt ran the first RAF ‘Heroes of Telemark’ expedition with Brian Desmond in 2011, and since then has spent many weeks developing his knowledge and experience of this amazing story whilst leading various groups on the Hardangervidda. He is now excited to be involved with Destination Setesdal here in Norway leading and guiding our Heroes of Telemark expeditions and High level Telemark courses.
Olav Kjetil Bang, Guide and Musher.
Olav Kjetil Bang grew up/spent his childhood in Morgedal (http://www.morgedal.com/no ), West Telemark, Norway, known as the cradle of modern skiing. He has been( involved in) devoted to outdoor activities and dogmushing since the eighties and is (an experienced)a highly skilled skier.
By education he is a teacher in science and mathematics and has grades in family therapy and abuse treatment.
His work background is a few years as a teacher in secondary school and outdoor teacher at an akadamy of outdooractivities. He has also during several years been teaching youth playing the guitar.
At present time, he and his wife Eli run their business “Gull og Grønne Skoger” *) , (http://gulloggronneskoger.no/cms /), which coveres/contains Eli’goldsmith workshop, a flexible proposition within social services, and Olav Kjetil’s guiding and supervising services.
Olav Kjetil has done courses in avoiding avalanche risks and teaches students in those matters. He supervises students of outdoor recreation in collaboration with Telemark University Collage.
Olav Kjetil has more than 400 tent overnights in the Winter-mountains. He has skied from Femund to the North Cape ( 2000 km along the East Norwegian border) with his dogteam.
In 2006 Olav Kjetil, his wife and a friend, accomplished a 500 km polarexpedition at Spitsbergen, using skis and a small dogteam.
Olav Kjetil is an all-rounder, thus in addition to dogmushing and skiing he is into canoing, kayaking, sailing, hunting and fishing. He also has experience doing rockclimbing and glacier walking.
Olav Kjetil has been working with Destination Setesdal, Brian Desmond since 2004.
“Gull og Grønne Skoger” directly translated: Gold and green woods.
The name points directly to the fact that the company is located in the forest and offers goldproducts. But the name is also a Norwegian adage used as a promise; I promise you”…..” which means; I promise you something fantastic, but not neccesary with an accomplishment warranty.