At three successive days at the end of January 2000 the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) airborne lidar Ozone Lidar Experiment explored mountain-wave-induced polar stratospheric clouds above the Scandinavian mountain ridge. Global analyses and mesoscale modeling are applied to explain their complex internal structure and their day-to-day variability. Depending on the synoptical-scale meteorological conditions, stratospheric temperature anomalies of different amplitude and horizontal extent are generated by the upward propagating mountain waves. Short-term excitation of about 6 hours resulted in localized stratospheric temperature anomalies directly above the mountain ridge as for 25 January 2000. In this case, the elevation of the observed clouds differed not much from the synoptic-scale clouds upstream above the Norwegian Sea. On the other hand, long-lasting flow past the Scandinavian mountain ridge formed huge 400-km horizontally extending stratospheric ice clouds in altitudes as much as 5 km above the elevation of the upstream clouds just 1 day later. Inertia gravity waves with horizontal wavelengths of about 350 km are responsible for their formation. For the first time a predicted temperature minimum far downstream of the mountains could be proofed by the observation of an isolated stratospheric ice cloud above Finland. The observed particles are classified in terms of their measured optical properties such as backscatter ratio and depolarization. In all cases, mountain waves generated ice clouds. In contrast to the nitric acid trihydrate tail of the ice cloud on 25 January the same classification results in a tail of liquid supercooled ternary solutions droplets 1 day later. The particle structure downstream of the mountains is very complex and needs detailed microphyical modeling and interpretation.