Fjords of Northern Norway Ski and Sail

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Our Fjords of Northern Norway is a two part adventure. The first week will be spent skiing along the coastal mountains of the Lyngen Alps, staying in quaint mountain huts and hotels in small towns. On day 6 we will board the Rembrandt van Rijn and continue along the rugged coastline of Northern Norway, exploring the fjords and glaciated peaks that makes this region so famous.

s/v Rembrandt van Rijn
s/v Rembrandt van Rijn

Ski and Sail trips of course feature fantastic skiing accessible only by boat. But our Fjords of Northern Norway trip also offers an opportunity to experience Norwegian culture and traditions. Unlike Svalbard, which had no indigenous population or for that matter no history at all until the whaling expeditions a few hundred years ago, Northern Norway has been home to the Norse and indigenous Samí people for thousands of years. Archaeological records indicate that Tromso has been inhabited for over 9,000 years! And whereas Svalbard is home to less than 3,000 inhabitants, Northern Norway has a population of close to 500,000. Most of the population lives in major towns such as Tromsø (capital of Troms County), Bodø (the capital of Nordland) and Vadsø (the capital of Finnmark), but there are many other small towns and villages especially along the coastline.

And of course there is the wildlife. There is no better way to experience the rich wildlife of Northern Norway than by sailboat. We'll keep a sharp eye out for puffins, sea eagles, walrus, arctic foxes, and even muskoxen. And it's not uncommon to share a ski run with a herd of galloping miniature reindeer!

Dates: Sunday, April 4 to Saturday, April 17, 2021

  • Twin Berth Inside: $8800 CAD (Currently $6,822 USD / €6,165 / £4,955)
  • Twin Berth Portholes Upgrade:  add $500 CAD (Currently $379 USD / €343 / £295).

Payment schedule: 30% payment secures your booking; 60% due Dec 15, 2020; 100% due February 1, 2021

Northern Lyngen Alps Traverse

To begin this trip we will spend a few days skiing along the Lyngen coast, staying in a mix of small mountain huts as well as quaint hotels in the coastal towns. A great way to get the legs going as well as get a taste of the local Norwegian culture.

Backcountry skiing - from a Sailboat!

We will based from a luxurious and spacious triple masted sailing yacht, the s/v Rembrandt van Rijn. This enables us to sample the best ski touring and ski mountaineering spots along the north coast of Norway. Given the long days in spring, there will not be any rush: our trip is scheduled just a few weeks before the Arctic midnight sun, and there is an amazing soft light around-the-clock that is unique to ski touring this far north. Our goal is to ski tour every day after lifting anchors in Tromso. Our skiing days usually last from 5 – 9 hrs.

Photos, Resources and an Online Topo Map!

Planning the next day
Planning the next day from the comfort of the saloon

Do you want a better idea of what to expect from our 2021 Fjords of Northern Norway Ski and Sail trip? To start with, here's our 2020 Rembrandt van Rijn photo album. A great resource made available by the Norwegian Government is this topo map of Norway that lets you explore Norway's extensive attractions and amenities online. Finally, our 360° Virtual Tour is a great way to get a feel for what to expect when you step on board the s/v Rembrandt van Rijn.

Guiding staff

Tom Wolfe, Mountain Guide IFMGA/UIAGM

Tom Wolfe (Mountain Guide ACMG/IFMGA) – Based in Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies since 1994 Tom guides year around, with winters being a mix of ski guiding at lodges, heli-ski operations, and remote backcountry destinations throughout western Canada. He speaks English, German, and enough French and Spanish to get by.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1 (April 4): Arrival at the airport in Tromso from Oslo (with SAS or Norwegian Airlines). Transfer to our Hotel and time to check out the town.

Days 2-6 (April 5-9): Ski touring along the coast between Lyngseidet and Koppanen, staying in mountain huts and village inns.

Day 7 (April 10): Board the Rembrandt van Rijn

Days 8-13 (April 11-16): Sail to Alta enjoying the ski touring and wildlife viewing opportunities along the way. Overnighting in fjords as well as the occasional harbour town.

Day 14 (April 17): We bid farewell to the s/v Rembrandt van Rijn and her crew in the morning after breakfast and head back to the airport. Then we will fly back to Oslo to catch our international connections, which may require an overnight.

Logistics

Booking your flights & Oslo hotel

There are several flights daily from Oslo to Tromso.

For your flight to Oslo, look for flights with shorter durations and the fewest connections. Direct flights to Oslo from North America are only available from New York City.

I recommend you use one of the big airlines like KLM, Lufthansa, United or Air Canada all the way to Oslo, aiming to arrive in Oslo in the early afternoon. Remember to account for baggage costs. Iceland Air offers a slightly different schedule and is worth checking out — not to mention they allow a free “stopover” option for those thinking of checking out Iceland as part of this trip!

From Oslo you may need to overnight and catch the next morning’s flight to Tromso (with SAS or Norwegian airlines).

In Oslo, the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel Hotel is a quick walk from the airport and very comfortable. The airport Best Western is a bit cheaper and has a great breakfast buffet but requires a $10 each way shuttle as it’s 3 km from the airport.

If you arrive a few days early, Oslo is a great world class city to visit.

On the way back, if you want to return as soon as possible book a flight on the afternoon of April 17 to Oslo. If you are heading to a European city as your final destination you should be able to continue on same day. If you are heading across the Atlantic, you may need to stay in Oslo again that night and catch an early flight back home, again with one of the big airlines.

Airline websites

Norwegian Airlines

SAS Airlines

Iceland Air

Equipment List

Packing Notes

You need to bring all of the following personal equipment. Please don’t bring extra equipment. If you have any questions at all about gear please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ski crampons are a must for spring ski touring. If you have any difficulty obtaining these please let me know. We have some spares and can likely set you up with a pair. If you have telemark bindings, G3 crampons have an attachment system that works well for most tele bindings.

Svalbard Ski & Sail – Equipment List

Packing Notes

You need to bring all of the following personal equipment. Please don’t bring extra equipment. If you have any questions at all about gear please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ski crampons are a must for spring ski touring on Svalbard. If you have any difficulty obtaining these please let me know. We have some spares and can likely set you up with a pair. If you have telemark bindings, G3 crampons have an attachment system that works well for most tele bindings.

Clothing

  • Wool or synthetic socks and liner socks
  • Long underwear top – synthetic or wool
  • Light fleece or wool sweater
  • Wind shell – nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type jacket
  • Waterproof breathable jacket
  • Warm insulated jacket – down or synthetic
  • Long underwear bottoms – synthetic or wool
  • Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants
  • Waterproof breathable pants
  • Warm hat – wool or synthetic
  • Brimmed cap for sun protection
  • Face warmer – scarf, neck tube or balaclava (optional)
  • Light gloves – wool, synthetic or leather
  • Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell
  • Spare gloves or mitts
  • Handkerchief for blocking the sun (optional)

Snow Safety Equipment

  • Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares)
  • Shovel
  • Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)

Travel Equipment

  • Skis or split board
  • Ski strap
  • Ski or snowboard boots
  • Poles
  • Climbing skins
  • Skin wax (or a candle)
  • Ski crampons (mandatory)
  • Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
  • Ski helmet (optional)

Personal Equipment

  • Pack (30-40 litres)
  • Sunglasses (both orange and dark lenses help a lot for travel in all conditions)
  • Goggles (orange lenses)
  • Sunscreen and lip cream (SPF 30+)
  • Head lamp with good batteries
  • Insulated water bottle or thermos (1-2 L)
  • Lunch bag or container
  • Personal blister kit (i.e: Leukotape-P and Compeed/Second Skin blister pads)
  • Pocket knife (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)

Glacier Gear

  • Harness – fitted for over your ski clothing
  • Locking carabiners (x2)
  • Non-locking carabiners (x2)
  • Prussik cord – 5m x 6mm (optional)
  • Sewn sling – 120cm (optional)
  • Lightweight ice axe (optional, don’t bring if you don’t have one or don’t like steep skiing)

On the Sailing Boat & at the Hotel

  • Duffle bag to contain your clothes in your berth
  • Shoes
  • Slippers
  • High rubber boots for entering/exiting the dinghy
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Personal medications and toiletries
  • Ear plugs
  • Reading material
  • Chargers & adapters for electronic devices (normal AC power is available as 220V Euro plug)
  • Norwegian cash in NOK or Euros to pay for your beer tab, souvenirs, and tips/gratuities (for both guiding staff and boat crew)

Note the following are provided:

  • Beer and wine are available to purchase on the boat at a reasonable price — but the selection may be limited. The local grocery store is well stocked with a good selection of local micro brewery beers as well as liquor and wine.
  • Pillows, duvets, bed linen and towels supplied on the boat (& hotel)

Group Gear (supplied by the guides)

  • Altimeter
  • Map and compass
  • GPS
  • Snow study kit
  • Snow and/or bush saw
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency tarp
  • Emergency toboggan
  • Group repair kit
  • Radio & satellite phone
  • Ropes for glacier travel
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Booking & Payment

Booking & Payment

Our Fjords of Northern Norway Ski and Sail trip has a special payment schedule: 30% deposit secures your booking; an additional 30% payment December 1, 2020 and the balance paid Feb 1, 2021. The exact details will be confirmed upon registration.

Book Now to hold your spot!

The Book Now form takes about 60 seconds to complete. We will hold your spot until we contact you to answer any questions you might have. This is your opportunity to figure out for sure if this trip is for you, without obligation. Then we’ll get you to complete our Online Waiver and Application Forms before paying your deposit.

Before signing through these documents read through them carefully and make sure you are comfortable with what you’re signing up for, and have a look through the booking “fine print” below. If you have any questions at any time do not hesitate to contact us.

Payment and booking conditions fine print

A deposit (typically 50%; see the trip description for the exact amount) to secure your place is  due upon booking. Final payment of balance is due 3 months in advance of your trip start date unless specified otherwise on the trip information page and/or your invoice. You will be invoiced for your payments after you have confirmed your interest in the trip. Please note that deposits are absolutely non-refundable, and final payments (the remainder) are non-refundable after the final payment date.

Credit Card payments are encouraged, especially if you have a card with trip cancellation insurance!  You have a couple of options:

  1. Pay in CAD. Charges are made in CAD (foreign payments are converted to your local currency at your card company’s rate). We charge an additional 3.5% fee for card transactions. If your credit card provides you with cancellation insurance for this trip indicate this on your registration form and we will lower the convenience fee to 2%.  Cancelled trips that have cancellation insurance are much less of a headache for everyone. Please consider this option. It could be a very affordable way to protect yourself. But look carefully into your credit card’s fine print to make sure this trip is covered.
  2. Pay in your local currency. We advertise EUR, USD and GBP rates on our trip information pages. You can choose to be invoiced in one of these currencies, locking in at the rate advertised.

Non Credit Card Payments from Canadian clients: If you do not wish to pay by credit card we ask that you pay by E-transfer, sent to twolfe@sawback.com. There is no additional fee for Canadian E-transfers.

Non Credit Card Payments from outside Canada (US, Europe, other countries): Again, you can choose to pay either in CAD or in the GBP, EUR or USD rate listed on the trip informatoin page. Here are your options:

  1. Third party electronic transfer: You will need to fill out an agreement with our currency broker, Ken Fukami from Payline in Canmore, that includes your banking information to coordinate an electronic transfer (SEPA, EFT, Direct Debit, etc.). It’s easy and it’s handled personally by a real human being whom I know and who lives in my home town. There is no charge for this service and it is significantly cheaper than all other methods of payment from foreign clients with the possible exception of the new online payment services (see point 4. below). Contact us, or visit Payline’s website for details.
  2. Wire draft (bank to bank): Your bank wires our bank the money in CAD. Normally there’s no fee for this, but we reserve the right to charge a $20 CAD fee for receiving these payments in the event of surprise bank fees or other complications.
  3. Cheque: in either CAD or in your local currency (e.g. EUR, GBP, USD) at the rate listed on the trip information page on our website on the date of your booking.
  4. Transferwise, Revolut, XE.com and other online payment services: If you wish to use one of these “new” payment services please contact us for details. They work and they are a great bargain. But while these services might save you a few dollars on a $10,000 transfer ($15?) vs Payline (see point 1. above) I think the advantages of using Ken are worth it.

PayPal: we no longer accept PayPal transfers due to the complexities of the bookkeeping and the very high fees involved. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Mailing address: Please send cheques in CAD to Thomas Wolfe, 234 Grizzly Cr, Canmore, AB T1W1B5, Canada

All fees paid are 100% non-refundable. We cannot be held liable for cancellations of any kind. Therefore we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation and evacuation insurance to protect you in the event that you need to cancel or there is an emergency during your trip. The Alpine Club of Canada and Lifetstyle Financial (BCLBC Plan) both offer plans for trips like this that might interest you although we can’t personally vouch for them. Note that many credit cards carry this insurance for trips paid with the credit card — contact your credit card company to be sure.

Many of our trips are in remote locations. If you are injured or develop an emergency medical condition that requires evacuation, significant costs may be involved. We cannot be liable for the costs of emergency evacuation and so you are therefore encouraged to sign up for third party rescue insurance. The most robust plan we know if is through Global Rescue Services which services all areas we run trips to including Svalbard. You may choose to go with another but be warned that there are often exclusions that will render your insurance worthless when you need it. Global Rescue membership is $119 USD for a one-week trip — and it will cover you.

You must sign our Waiver of Liability in order to register for participation in our trips. You can view a printable copy the waiver here: English Waiver and translated into several other languages (German, French and Japanese) here: Translated Waivers.  If you have any questions about the waiver please talk to your lawyer and/or let me know prior to registration so I can help you.

The application form collects personal information which I use to make sure that I provide you with the best possible trip experience. If you do not want to answer any of the questions or you are unsure about anything leave it blank and/or contact me for clarification.

READ CAREFULLY – BOOKING, RESERVATION, DEPOSIT: A deposit of 50% of the total price or private guiding fee is due with your booking unless otherwise indicated. Please provide us with your credit card details, do a bank transfer (account information on demand), send an E-transfer to twolfe@sawback.com or mail me a personal cheque payable to Thomas Wolfe. Final payments are due 90 days before your trip starts. If you wish to pay in a currency other than what our trips are quoted in, please inquire with us for a quote in your preferred denomination. Euro payments are only accepted by bank transfers in Euro denomination. We also accept bookings from minors; however we do require the signature of BOTH parents or ALL legal guardians on both, reservation form and liability waiver. CONFIRMATION / TRIP INFORMATION: Upon receipt of the booking form with your check or credit card details we confirm your booking. Each Backountry Ski Trip we offer has a detailed Information Package (available on our website) with the trip details, equipment list, proposed itinerary and logistics, etc. Read through this carefully before completing your registration. TRIP (CANCELLATION / MEDICAL / EVACUATION / THEFT) INSURANCE: Once we confirm your booking, we enter into financial obligations on our side and we cannot refund payments or release you from your contractual obligations. Therefore, we highly recommend buying cancellation insurance to cover your losses for the case that you can’t participate or have to interrupt your trip “for any reason”. Also, all participants need to have internationally accepted health insurance for all activities pertaining to the trip, including coverage for emergency rescue and evacuation. If you already have insurance, please make sure that you will be covered for “roped travel” booking a technical trip including “Via Ferrata” trips. We gladly refer you to a travel insurance provider who offers “adventure travel insurance packages” and with whom our clients have had positive claims experiences in the past. Generally, you will receive the best benefits if you buy your insurance within 10 days of our booking confirmation. CANCELLATIONS: If you need to cancel a reservation, please do so in writing (best by e-mail). Please see the trip information package for details on your trip’s Cancellation Policy. CANCELLED PROGRAMS: Once we confirm your booking, we guarantee your trip departure. However, we do reserve the right to change guides, particular lodging or the itinerary should unforeseen circumstances (guide sickness, hut or route closing etc.) force us to do so or should the physical condition of the participants (see below), weather or mountain conditions make a continuation as planned too risky. PERSONAL FITNESS and GROUP TRAVEL: Our programs rely heavily on the integrity of each individual to assess his or her skill level and physical condition accurately. It is the responsibility of each participant to be aware of the necessary skill and fitness level for a particular trip. When in doubt, please call and discuss this with us! For the protection of yourself and other group members, we reserve the right to deny participation to any unprepared participant at any time of the trip, in which case we cannot offer a refund! In order to accommodate diverse levels of ability and ambition as well as diverse personalities, the decision making of the guide has to be geared towards safety and finding a consensus within the whole group, which may not please each individual participant at all times.

FAQs

How difficult is this trip?

  • Hut and inn-based ski traverse between Lyngseidet and Koppanen with overnight packs and up to 2 days of food; remainder based out of the sailing boat.
  • Tours range from sea level to 800+ m ASL,
  • Tour lengths are 1100-1500+ m and 10-20 km travel/day.
  • Glaciated terrain
  • Ski mountaineering

What is included with the trip fee?

Included: 7 nights yacht rental with crew, harbour fees, permit fees, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides, multi-course dinners and breakfast on board. All hut and inn fees and meals during the ski traverse.
Not included: Air travel, alcoholic beverages, hotel in Oslo en route

What will the snow and weather be like?

April is the month for Northern Norway Ski and Sail trips. The temperatures are mild and stable, with lows typically around -5°C and highs around +2°C. The snowpack is typically stable and skiing of the spring corn variety for the most part, although often Arctic Pow can be found on the steep norths.

“Will we get a chance to take photos of Polar Bears?” / or: “Will we be attacked by Polar Bears?”

The short answer to both questions is “No”. We will be far from the polar bear’s habitat which is on the pack ice far to the north. However, with the reduction of the polar bear’s habitat they are being pushed farther and farther south so seeing a bear is within the realm of possibility, if not likely.

The yacht

We have chartered the s/v Rembrandt van Rijn through Oceanwide Adventures. The Rembrandt is the ideal vessel for a ski and sail trip. It is 50 m (150 ft) long and has a capacity for 33 passengers and 12 crew. Not too big but also not too small either. Spending a week on a boat it’s nice to have lots of room to move around and a variety of friends to mingle with throughout the week.

A captain, second mate, third mate, cook and expedition coordinator as well as a variety of housekeeping staff are Oceanwide’s staff who will ensure a successful and safe voyage.

A very interesting resource is our Virtual Tour of the s/v Rembrandt van Rijn. It provides 360-views of the decks, lounge and dining areas, and three of the berths. Definitely check it out — it gives a really good feel for what it’s like on board the yacht.

We also have a detailed floor plan of the boat as well as ship information sheet.