Svalbard / Spitsbergen, Arctic Sea, Norway
8 or 11 Day Boat Based Ski Touring Expedition in the Remote West Coast of Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen / Svalbard Ski and Sail Highlights
- Magnificent, remote mountain wilderness
- Comfortable sailing yacht with double cabins
- Spectacular glaciated terrain
- Skiing in the midnight sun
- Amazing wildlife with photo ops
- Reliable snow conditions well into June
This is a truly exploratory ski touring expedition in the rugged mountains of Spitsbergen, the only (sparsely) populated Island in the Svalbard Island group of about 60 islands in the Arctic Ocean north of Norway at a Latitude of 79º. Few spots in this world are as remote and wild as Spitsbergen, not to mention all the wildlife and glaciated peaks that offer world class skiing. We will be basing from a comfortable and relatively spacious sailing yacht (depending on group size we have access to a 10 or 20 passengers boat), which enables us to sample the best ski touring spots along the west coast of Spitsbergen. Given the long days in spring, there will not be any rush as we never loose daylight and the midnight sun provides an amazing light that is unique to ski touring this far north. We strive to ski tour every day after lifting anchors in Longyearbyen. Our skiing days usually last from 5 – 9 hrs. Due to the presence of polar bears, the guides will be carrying bear deterrents and firearms during the ski touring days. All in all an amazing adventure – a trip of a lifetime!
For our guests who want to spend more time in this amazing area, we offer a 4 day pre-trip extension to do ski tours and / or a snow mobile tour based in the town of Longyearbyen, the main town of Spitsbergen and at 870 km distance to the North Pole it is the northern most town in the world. With about 2000 inhabitants Longyearbyen has several nice hotels and a small town center with bars, restaurants and shops.
Pre-Sailing Trip Extension
Day 1 (May 15): Arrival at the airport in Longyearbyen from Oslo via Tromso in the early afternoon (usually one overnight required in Oslo). Transfer to our Hotel and time to check out the town including a visit to the Polar Museum.
Day 2: Ski touring day trip close to town and return to our Hotel
Day 3: Ski touring day trip close to town or alternative a snowmobile tour to the town of Barensburg, as small Russian mining town.
Day 4 (May 18): Potentially another shorter ski touring trip from town or a visit to an ice cave (4 hrs). Arrival day for those participants who chose to participate in the boat trip only. Embarkation around 4 pm at the earliest, safety briefing, departure from pier usually around 6 pm.
Day 5 – 10:
We usually only sail one hour to our first ski tour in the Isfjord. From there, we continue to sail along the West Coast of Spitzbergen to sample the best ski touring and peak ascent the island has to offer. In May the sun will be with us for 24 hours on Spitsbergen, which leaves a lot of flexibility for our departures. After each day of skiing we return from the shoreline by Zodiak motor boat back to our Yacht, where the smell of dinner will usually welcome us. We usually finish the day on deck with a glass of wine, enjoying the contrast of the sea and the magnificent mountainscape with the everlasting sun above the horizon.
Arrival back in Longyearbyen usually around 4 PM. Farewell dinner on the boat.
We bid farewell to our Yacht and crew in the morning after breakfast and head back to the airport. Via Tromso we will fly to Oslo from where we can catch our international connections, which may require an overnight.
Detail and Logistics
Air Travel and Logistics
Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen is reached by scheduled daily flights from Oslo via Tromso. The flight usually arrive in the early morning hours and depart mid day. Cost from the major European hubs are usually around Euro 550 / person return.
Participants need to be seasoned ski tourers, able to hold a steady uphill pace up to 1500 meters vertical rise every day. Our day packs will be relatively heavy, as we have to carry glacier equipment, lunch & beverages, group emergency gear, bear deterrents and at least one heavy rifle for the group. Participants also need to be confident skiers able to negotiate turns in challenging snow conditions and / or bad visibility without falling frequently.
Given that you will be spending a week together on a boat in the sparsely traveled waters of the arctic sea, you need to be comfortable sleeping in confined quarters under deck and sharing limited space on board with your fellow travellers. If you are easily susceptible to motion sickness, you may also be better off with one of our land based trips. If in doubt weather you have the required skills and fitness level, feel free give us a call to discuss your options!
We definitely do not recommend this trip for backcountry ski touring beginners!
Client / Guides
6 – 20 participants
- Day trips boat-based
- Peaks between 700m – 1000m asl
- Up to 1500 m climbs / descents / day
- Glaciated terrain
- Often variable snow conditions
25 May – 01 June
7 nights on board, 8 days with 6 prospective ski touring days
22 May – 24 May
3 day pre-trip extension for additional ski tours town-based in Longyearbyen
- US $5640
- CA $7289
- € 4910
- £ 4415
€ 4910 for the entire 11 day trip including 3 days ski and snow mobile touring based in Longyearbyen € 4200 for the 8 day boat-based trip only
7 nights yacht rental with crew, harbour fees, permit fees, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides, multi-course dinners and breakfast on board. Pre-trip extension: 3 additional days of town based ski touring and excursions, 3 x Hotel B&B in Longyearbyen.
Not included: Air travel, alcoholic beverages, dinners in Longyearbyen, hotel in Oslo en route