Fjords of Norway Ski and Sail

Ski the fjords and glaciers of Northern Norway

Find fresh tracks in the lyngen alps

NOW BOOKING April 2023

Fjords of Northern Norway is one-week “Ski and Sail” adventure on board a modern sailing yacht, exploring the rugged coastline of Northern Norway, among the fjords and glaciated peaks that makes this region so famous. We will explore the coastal mountains of the Lyngen Alps, dropping anchor in the fjords that fringe this spectacular coastline. Join us for for a true Nordic trip 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!

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The Lyngen Alps in northern Norway have become very popular in recent years. The traditional routes are very busy and sometimes the crowding and tracked-out snow make it seem like you’re skiing in the Alps!

Travelling by sailing boat, however, changes everything! Mooring close to the ideal departure points for excursions, ascents and descents on virgin terrain and free from crowding, a northern, arctic environment. To this we add the magic of travelling aboard the Qilak, and possibly Arctic Whisper (depending on group size): classic arctic sailing boats mastered by an experienced Norwegian captain and crew.

SKI TOURING DAYS

Our excursions all set off from the sea and reach the peaks of a spectacular landscape of fjords and islands with the taste of the North, often with excellent snow cover.

A typical ski mountaineering excursion sets off in the morning from Qilak, landing by Zodiac dinghy. We usually cover altitude differences of 800-1200m (3-5 hours in ascent) and normally descend along a different route, sometimes even crossing to a different return point.

The peaks we may climb have names that recall the Vikings: Trolltinden (the only famous and popular mountain), Arnoyhogda, Stoltindn, Øksfordjøkelen, Nordmannsfjellet and more. 

The elevation gain corresponds exactly to the height of the summit, as we always set off from sea level!

THE YACHT: QILAK

A beautiful 20 m (66 ft) aluminum hulled sailing vessel with plenty of space for 8 guests plus 4 crew, including guiding staff, at a very high standard. Designed and built specifically for commercial charter, expeditions for scientists, as well as a ‘go anywhere’ explorer yacht for groups and private use especially in the high latitudes of the Arctic and Antarctic.On the outside she is all-business, designed for high arctic expedition sailing. Qilak’s interior provides a lot of comfort including a sauna, hot showers, and comfortable lounge area. We may add a second boat, the Arctic Whisper, depending on the group size which will hold up to 4 more guests plus guides.

This trip is being offered in partnership with Massimo Candolini / inMONT who has decades of experience with ski and sail trips in arctic environments in both Northern Norway and Svalbard. I have worked with Massimo and inMONT on numerous trips and he and his guiding partners are fantastic – classic Italian humour, grace and professionalism.

A TYPICAL DAY

The days on board slip by following a pleasant routine, starting with breakfast served in the dining room, with a wide choice of sweet and savoury food. We then get ready for the day’s activities with boots, backpack, skis in hand and, for landing in the Zodiac, a life jacket too.

Upon return from the excursion, we are welcomed aboard with hot soup, after which we can shower and rest. But there is also plenty of time to chat with our new friends from all over the world, to stand on the deck and perhaps to help the crew with the sails and, of course, to take photographs. The yacht will move on to the next destination in the afternoon, sometimes sailing without the engine, to reach a bay or a sheltered and calm place and where she can stop to offer guests a quiet dinner and an enjoyable evening.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

The season of the aurora borealis at the latitude of Tromsø draws to an end precisely in mid-April. There’s nothing to say that we won’t get the chance to see this amazing sight, though it does take a bit of luck…

Online Topo Map

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.

Guides

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.

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Massimo Candolini (Mountain Guide / UIAGM) – I’ve been mountaineering since I was a child and I have scaled many peaks in the Alps, with a preference for winter, especially for skiing. I’ve been a Mountain Guide since 2003 and, from the beginning, I have devoted myself to traditional guide work, teaching and sharing, seeking to transmit my passion for mountaineering to others. My love of snow and ice now takes me to the polar regions, in the never-ending search for the perfect excursion!

Itinerary subject to change. 2023 Dates shown.

Pre-sailing touring option (April 5-8)

Exact details TBD. Town-based ski touring based out of a hotel in the Lyngen Alps. This optional add-on includes guiding, hotel accommodation (breakfast and lunch included), and transportation. Contact us for details.

Day 01 (April 8)

Meeting at the pier at 4 pm, on board the Qilak (and possiblye Arctic Whisper) in the Tromsø harbour.

Welcome aperitif with the Captain and the crew. Safety briefing, logistic briefing, then sailing! Dinner and night on board

Day 02-07 (April 9-14)

Every day ski touring and sailing.

We will navigate the maze of islands and fjords north and east of Tromsø following the best route depending on the sea and the mountain conditions. The course will be decided by the Captain with the suggestions and the requests of the Mountain Guides in order to have the best ski days possible.

Day 08 (April 15)

Disembark in the morning (according to the clients flights) in Tromsø and travel to the airport.

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)

Return

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

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. 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!

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 simple wax candle) — pre-treat your skins ahead of time and bring extra skin wax. Spray-on wax (e.g. mountainFLOW eco-Wax Skin Wax) is a great idea too for field treatments.
  • Ski crampons (mandatory)
  • Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
  • Ski helmet
  • Ski scraper

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, blister pads). Be sure to pre-tape problem spots on your feet with Leukotape, prevention is the best medicine!
  • Tincture of Benzoin (see this how-to for an explanation) or a medical product by 3M called Cavilon — these products help the Leukotape stick for the whole week if necessary.
  • Pocket knife (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Utility cord for hanging stuff to dry (helps if you want to hang personal items in your cabin)

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
  • Micro-spikes — especially the early season (late April / early May) trips as melt-freeze cycles can create very slippery conditions in the town
  • Slippers
  • High rubber boots for entering/exiting the dinghy (optional; the vast majority of exits/entries do not require this and we can always get by without)
  • 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)

  • 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
Print it

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.

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.

What is included with the trip fee?

Included: Full board on the yacht, a berth in a shared inside cabin, 8 days/7 nights. On excursion days, lunch will be replaced by sandwiches and snacks that can be collected at breakfast. Cabins are equipped with either bunks or a double berth. Two shower / toilet facilities are shared; Zodiac (tender) transfers from/to boat/shore; Mountain guide and crew services and cost; Free coffee and tea on board

Not included: Flights to Norway;  alcoholic beverages; Lunch and/or dinner and/or night not on board of the vessel; Ski touring and mountaineering equipment; Personal insurance for accidents, medical, cancellation and baggage; and everything not written in “what’s included”

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

The answer to both questions is “No”. Our itinerary is far from the polar bear’s classic habitat, which is on the pack ice far to the north, e.g. Svalbard.

Will we see the Aurora Borealis?

Mid April is the end of northern lights season, so it’s possible but not as likely as during the winter months.

What is the yacht like?

We have chartered a smaller expedition-style sailboat for our 2023 trip, the Arctic Whisper. It is comfortable and spacious for a group of up to 6 guests. We may add a second similar boat, the Aleiga, depending on the group size.

Our standard booking conditions apply. Please read our Payment and Booking Conditions page carefully.

DATES AND PRICING:

Fjords of Northern Norway Ski and Sail program: Saturday, April 8 to Saturday, April 15, 2023 $7295 CAD p.p. (About $5,463 USD / €5,251 / £4,528)

PAYMENT SCHEDULE: 60% payment secures your booking; 100% due February 1, 2023

INCLUDED: 7 nights sailboat charter (Qilak or Arctic Whisper) with crew, harbour fees, permit fees, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides, multi-course dinners, breakfast on board as well as lunch supplies. See description for full details.

NOT INCLUDED: Air travel, alcoholic beverages, hotel in Oslo en route, gratuities.

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