Fjords of Northern Norway Ski and Sail
Exploring the fjords and glaciers of Northern Norway
Fjords of Northern Norway is a two part adventure. Week 1 is our “Ski and Sail” program on board the Rembrandt van Rijn, when we explore the rugged coastline of Northern Norway, exploring the fjords and glaciated peaks that makes this region so famous. Week 2 is a “land-based” program, skiing the coastal mountains of the Lyngen Alps while staying in quaint mountain huts and/or hotels along the coast. Join us for either Week 1 or Week 2, or combine both for a true Nordic adventure of a lifetime!
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 Tromsø 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!
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 Tromsø. Our skiing days usually last from 5 – 9 hrs.
Northern Lyngen Alps Traverse
After getting our feet wet, so to speak, on our Ski & Sail adventure we will shift gears to our land based program. We’ll spend the week skiing along the Lyngen coast, staying in a mix of small mountain huts as well as quaint hotels in the coastal towns. A great opportunity to experience the local Norwegian culture as well as see what spectacular glaciated tours are available from the road!
Photos, Resources and an Online Topo Map!
Do you want a better idea of what to expect from our 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.
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.
Joel McBurney (Ski Guide ACMG) – Residing in Nelson, BC with his wife and two boys, Joel spends the winter as a Lead Guide for Baldface Lodge in addition to Big Country Guiding trips. With over thirty years of backcountry experience, including two decades of guiding, he never tires of grabbing his skis or splitboard and heading out of a day in the mountains.
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): If you are joining us for our “Week 2: Ski and Sail” only program, this is when you meet up with us. Board the Rembrandt van Rijn in the afternoon in Tromso.
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 to the airport in Alta. Then we will fly back to Oslo to catch our international connections, which may require an overnight.
BOOKING YOUR FLIGHTS & OSLO HOTEL
There are several flights daily from Oslo to Tromsø.
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 Tromsø (with SAS or Norwegian airlines).
In Oslo, the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel Hotel is a quick walk from the airport, very comfortable, and my recommendation for efficiency. If you want something a bit cheaper there’s the Sandic Gardermoen. But it’s a 7-min cab ride away — which closes the price gap significantly.
Oslo is a great world class city to visit. There are also great hotels in downtown Oslo if you want to spend a night or a few days there before or after the trip. I recommend storing your bulky gear at the Gardermoen airport (See Avinor Baggage Check for details & pricing) and taking the train into town with a light overnight bag. Here are a few to consider:
Hotel Continental Oslo – Owned by the same family for four generations, Continental is the only Norwegian member of “Leading Hotels of the World”. The hotel is home to the renowned restaurants Eik Annen Etage and Theatercafeen, and BAR BOMAN, a lobby bar with Munch’s art on the walls. $$$
Scandic Victoria – Central hotel in Oslo, only a short walk from Karl Johans gate, Stortinget parliament and Spikersuppa ice skating rink. Vibrant Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen are only a 5 minute walk from the hotel, with many trendy bars and restaurants right on the waterfront of Oslo. Akershus Fortress is also within walking distance. $$
Comfort Hotel Grand Central – The Comfort Hotel Grand Central is one of Oslo’s most centrally-located hotels and is found in the main train station, just a 30-minute transfer from Oslo airport.
Hotel Rosencrantz – Design hotel in the centre of Oslo, just around the corner from Karl Johans gate, public transport and many of the city’s biggest attractions.
OSL – cheap eats
If you need a fast bite to eat before heading to your hotel, “cheap” pizza is the way to go, located at airport arrivals level. Peppes Pizza, grab it before you leave! Large pizza about 300 NOK ($42 CAD)
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.
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. They are specific to your binding type. Order well in advance as this is something that’s often not available at the last minute. If you can’t find a crampon to fit your binding, G3 crampons have an attachment system that works for many bindings. Again, do this well in advance of the trip.
There are currently no ski rentals on Svalbard for equipment that will meet the requirements for this trip. This could change; contact Sportcenteret to see if they have updated their dilapadated fleet. We do rent ski gear. If you need to rent from us the fee is $550 CAD for this trip, and you must sign a rental waiver. In any event it is highly recommended you bring your own equipment and that you make sure it is in top condition. The Greenland sea is not a great place to go shopping for new gear after breaking your ski in half!
- 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)
- Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)
- Skis or split board
- Ski strap
- Ski or snowboard boots
- Climbing skins
- Skin wax (or a candle)
- Ski crampons (mandatory)
- Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
- Ski helmet (optional)
- 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)
- 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
- 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. If you choose to bring your own you must declare it to the crew when you board. A corkage fee will apply (approx. 15 EUR per bottle of wine for reference). Please do not bring any hard alcohol and be modest with quantities — this is an expedition, not a party, with crew who work hard and keep long hours.
- Pillows, duvets, bed linen and towels supplied on the boat (& hotel)
Group Gear (supplied by the guides)
- Map and compass
- 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
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.
This is categorized as a Classic Pace trip.
- Day trips boat-based
- Peaks between 700m – 1200m asl
- Up to 1500 m climbs / descents / day
- Glaciated terrain
- Often variable snow conditions
Our Trip Ratings Page outlines more specifically how we rate our trips.
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.
DATES AND PRICING:
Week 1: Fjords of Northern Norway Ski and Sail program: Saturday, April 8 to Saturday, April 15, 2023 $7290 CAD p.p. (About $5,703 USD / €5,421 / £4,506)
Week 2: Fjords of Northern Norway Land-based program: Saturday, April 15 to Saturday, April 22, 2023. $2600 CAD p.p. (About $2,096 USD / €1,993 / £1,702)
Weeks 1 and 2 combined trip: Twin Berth Inside: $8800 CAD p.p. (About $7,040 USD / €6,692 / £5,716)
Twin Berth Portholes Upgrade: add $950 CAD p.p. (About $821 USD / €781 / £667).
PAYMENT SCHEDULE: 30% payment secures your booking; 60% due Oct 15, 2022; 100% due February 1, 2023
INCLUDED: Week 1: 7 nights three mast sailboat charter with crew, harbour fees, permit fees, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides, multi-course dinners, breakfast on board as well as lunch supplies. Week 2: Hut & hotel fees, all meals, ground transport, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides.
NOT INCLUDED: Air travel, alcoholic beverages, hotel in Oslo en route, gratuities.