april 6 - 10. april 2022
This long weekend Ski and Sail is a trip for those of you who like the idea of alpine/backcountry skiing in the untouched Lofoten-mountains of northern Norway. It is a trip for travellers wanting a more challenging holiday - who would like to experience something unique, wild, breathtaking and beautiful - no matter if you are experienced or a beginner we welcome you to our Ski & Sail adventure.
The Lofoten isles make out some of the rawest nature Norway has to offer. The area is famous for its alpine mountains and peaks, there are great numbers of natural pistes, offering possibilities and options for a wide range of skiers. Most of the trips offer 700 - 1000 meters of altitude and descents, and the skiing most often ends down on the beach. Many of the most spectacular places are available by boat only. That is why we sail.
During these 5 days we will explore and reach many of the most beautiful mountains in Lofoten, and in between we will get many nice sail trips on our way from the one place to the other.
The trip starts and ends in Svolvær.
For our Ski and Sail trips we use ski guides with local experience and knowledge, who also works as a teacher and a coach. Having a ski guide available onboard makes it possible for us to do more challenging skiing and summits. Of the different places we will pass or visit along the way, we can mention Svolvær, Austnesfjorden, Geitgaljertind, the Trollfjord and Raftsundet.
The ascensions we complete will be planned in plenary, according to the skill level of the group, weather, and conditions in general. After our daily ascensions we set sail for the next port or anchorage and prepare ourselves for the following day. This is an active trip with full focus on the experiences this wild nature has to offer, whether it’s behind the boat wheel or with skis strapped on your feet.The luxury of having a ski guide onboard also means we want to maximize our time in the mountains and ascend new hills every day. The mussel pain and tiredness can wait until we get back home:)
For most of our Ski and Sail trips we sail two boats together, with each boat having their own ski guide. The number of boats during our trip depends on the number of participants. If we have enough participants for two boats we also have more flexibility to divide the group in two according to skill level and experience amongst the participants.
The boats we will be using for Ski and Sail Lofoten are “Humla” and “Nirvana”, a 50 ft. and 44 ft. boat, respectively. These boats have good comfort and enough space for 6-7 participants + ski guide and skipper. Read more about our boats here.
For more articles and information about Ski and Sail, check out our blog here.
I went all alone on the Ski and Sail in Lofoten, and met a lovely bunch of mountaineers and sailing people. Skilled tour leaders guided us to the finest peaks, always with a strong focus on safety. I learned a lot about sailing as we went along, got to experience the most beautiful scenery Norway has to offer and got to know new people. SailNorway has put together a dream trip!
Ebba Boye (29)
Day 1: Meeting on the dock in Svolvær
We meet in the harbor by the restaurant “Bacalao” at 16:00 and get settled in to the boat and get to know each other. Before we set sails, we will walk you through safety routines while on board, and get familiar with the boat. Before it is too late in the evening we cast off towards a natural harbor where we spend the night at anchor. We eat supper on our way, but probably quite late, so we recommend you to eat dinner before meeting, if possible. If you arrive early this day we can recommend ascending one of the summits close to Svolvær.
Day 2: Austnesfjorden
After early breakfast we go ashore with the dinghy. Together with the ski guide we will make a final decision on where to ski depending on weather, snow conditions and wind. There are many opportunities in Austnesfjorden, such as Higravtindan and Geitgaljertind, which are also the most known and demanding summits. This being our first day of skiing we start off more easily. In the afternoon we have no need to sail far as this fjord has ample possibilities and many very nice phases and peaks.
Day 3: Austnesfjorden
We stay in the Austnesfjord with its varied terrain and possibilities for fun under different conditions. Here we find both easy and more challenging routes, and if the weather gods are on our side we might try to ascend Geitgaljen, one of the most spectacular summits in Lofoten! If the snow conditions are good, this hill offers a magical descend all the way to shore. In the evening we relax for a while and sail out the fjord towards Trollfjorden were we will spend the evening.
Day 4: Trollheimen
This morning we wake up in the magnificent Trollfjorden, a bay available to sailors and boaters only. If the conditions allow we head upwards early before the sun starts warming up the hills, reaching for peaks of 1000 meters. After coming back we hope to enjoy some time together around the bonfire and maybe there will be a surprise.
Day 5: Raftsundet
Early skiing this last day in Raftsundet, then we sail back to the dock and call it a rap! We will be back 16:00 at the latest, and for those of you who have scheduled the speed ferry back to Bodø will make this in time. The bus and speed ferry depart by the harbour, and distance to the airport is not far, but please add some wiggle room when booking your return transport. Lunch this day is the last meal onboard.
The program may change according to weather and conditions, but it gives an indication of how we spend the days. We start every day with a good breakfast and make a packed lunch before we go ashore. Some of the days we eat dinner right away after skiing, other days we just eat a little when we come back to the boat, and then sail on before we make a later dinner. Some days, we spend time fishing, and time to look around. If the weather should be really not in favour of skiing, then we spend the day sailing or do something else fun.
Travel - in general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also gives another start to a holiday. Cycling, taking the train or driving a car together are good alternatives! Feel free to add some extra time before and after, since up in the north weather that can sometimes change your plans
Travel to and from Svolvær
So, if you have time then take the “Nordlandsbanen” train line to Bodø and the express boat (catamaran) or Hurtigruta (coastal express ferry) from Bodø to Lofoten. But Lofoten is far away for many, and most people end up flying. Then Svolvær is the nearest airport, or you can also fly to Leknes. Flights to Svolvær or Leknes are mostly with a connection in Bodø, and are possible to book through Widerøe, SAS and Norwegian. You can also fly directly from Oslo to and from Harstad/Evenes airport, and then take a bus from there to Lofoten and Henningsvær/Svolvær.
What exactly is Ski & Sail?
Ski & Sail is a trip concept where we sail into the foothills of the mountains and start the ski trip by the edge of the water. By boat we can move from place to place, and choose mountain sides and areas based on weather and conditions. Ski & Sail is something Italian and French skiers have done in Norway since the 90s, and something Norwegians so far have only started to discovered the joys of. SailNorway has arranged Ski & Sail trips on Helgeland, in Steigen, in the Lofoten Islands, in Lyngen, Finnmark and on Svalbard for many years, and we dare say that we know many of the very best places along the coast. Skiing & Sailing is really cool!
Level of this trip - medium level
On this trip we require some experience with randonee/alpine touring/backcountry skiing. If you have a lot of experience it is great, and you will get to work on your skills and techniques. Those with a lot of experience often ski steeper slopes than the others, and may take on several runs during one day. But we try to keep the level as even as possible, so we can choose the destination from the participants' level. If you are in doubt as to whether this is the trip for you, please feel free to contact us, and we can look at the level of the other participants and find a trip that suits you perfectly - whether you are a beginner or experienced.
On most of our Ski & Sail trips, we sail two boats together, with a ski guide on each boat. This depends on the number of participants, but it gives us a good opportunity to split the group into boat teams based on experience and level among the participants.
Safety and risk - in general
Sailing wise, our trips are not difficult, and you are always welcome to join us! We have with us both people who have never sailed before and experienced sailors. However, you must be prepared for everything from no wind to sailing in harsh weather. If you are a beginner, we will try to make you a seaman/woman as soon as possible. If you are experienced you will be given responsibility and greater challenges. We take safety seriously and on our trips we train on handling different situations that can occur at sea. Man-over-board, fire, abandon vessel, dismasting and grounding are some of these. Building the participants' skills on how to handle critical situations are important elements for better safety on board. On board a boat and on trips, everyone must know what to do in potentially dangerous situations. For us it is important that you as a guest and participant is trained quickly enough to be a participant not a passenger. It contributes to learning, sense of achievement and increased safety for all. It's also why our trips are considered to be sailing courses, you are trained to be one of the crewmembers on board.
We have the same mindset when it comes to skiing and alpine/backcountry trips. The first day of skiing we train and repeat search and rescue techniques, and the use of avalanche equipment. Many elements determine the safety of an alpine/backcountry trip. Good planning, humbleness in relation to weather and avalanche risk, and a dynamic group are important.
Mountain hikes and alpine/backcountry trips involves a certain risk, as does sailing. However, we as an operator, and our skippers and ski guides, do everything we can to minimize the risk in a professional manner. Everyone gains on this and we have no one to lose. Feel free to contact us to discuss risk.
If we are in a place without snow, we sail to where the snow is! With the sailboat we are flexible with regards to finding the best snow, but that means we may go somewhere that is not mentioned in the program or a place that we have not tested in advance. Then it's extra exciting.
Ordinary alpine/backcountry equipment is required for this trip, that is avalanche-/ski backpack with beacon, probe and shovel, and alpine/backcountry skis with skins and ski crampons. Avalanche backpacks can possibly be hired through us and ski equipment can be rented through our partners. In good time before departure we will send you a detailed recommended packing list for this trip.
Food and cooking
On our trips everyone contributes to the operation of the boat, so as long as you have not booked one of our trips with a designated chef, all take their turns in the galley during the trip. Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. In advance of the trip, we set up a menu and shop what is needed. We offer good menus with healthy and medium-advanced food. If you have allergies or preferences let us know in the registration form, and we take that into account. During the trip, we also often sail by a good restaurant or two where we stop and eat.
What we expect from you
We want you to take part in the routines onboard the sailboat, whether it is sailing, docking, navigating, looking for whales and icebergs, washing up, cooking, clean the boat or contribute in other ways when required. Our trips require a little work of the participants - and you must be open to contribute and open up a bit socially. We have many different people with us on our trips, and most people go very well together. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least do things with new people with different personalities than one might be used to, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable stories :)
Life on board and accommodation
Life aboard a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate, which is important to be prepared for. On our trips everyone participates in the operation of the sailboat and everyone is considered crew. We would like to get to know you well and hope that you will get to know everyone else on the sailboat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences are quickly what will take your focus as soon as you become comfortable with life at sea.
Accommodation on the boat is part of the fun. The accommodation is in double cabins, some of which have a double bed and some have a bunk bed solution. We try to put girls in a cabin with girls and vice versa, but the puzzle is not always easy so you might as well prepare yourself to share the cabin with one of the opposite sex and rather tell us if it is important for you to share with one of the same sex.
If you want to stay a night on shore under the starry sky or in your own tent, then of course you do it! Any accommodation before and after the trip must be arranged on its own. If you have any doubts about where to stay, we are happy to give you some recommendations.
On the boat we have a lot of heat and a lot of good food, but not always abundance of fresh water. It will not always be possible to shower every day, but mostly every other day we are either in a harbor with enough fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or even better, take a sauna.
What kind of people join this trip - and how many are we on board?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, some travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and committed people you become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but that is not so important to us. It doesn't matter if you are young or old as long as you want to go on a trip and intend to do your part so that you and the rest of the crew will have a good trip together. The number of participants varies from trip to trip. If we get many participants, we will expand with more boats and skippers. For Ski & Seil we are mostly 1-2 boats with 7-9 people onboard each boat.
Environment and sustainability
Both sailing and alpine/backcountry trips are environmentally friendly activities and we sail as much as we can and use the engine as little as possible. We encourage crew and participants to travel as environmentally-friendly as possible, and we use local ingredients and resources as far as possible. We also have our own trips where we collect litter and clean ocean trash from beaches.
Philosophically we often say that sailing is an exercise in sustainability; we move with the wind and we have limitations on things like water, diesel, electricity and food. In order to run sustainable - knowledge, patience, agility and hard work are required. The same can be said about many other things that one tries to do in a sustainable way.
Minimum number of registered participants
We need a minimum of 5 registered participants to complete this trip. We can see pretty early whether a trip will be confirmed or not. If we have to cancel, you will get the money back and/or offered to join another trip. Since we need a certain number of registered participants to confirm a trip, please do not book your travel (flights, ferry, train, bus etc.) before we have confirmed that we run it.
Changes to the program
The program should be seen as a starting point that we adapt to weather and conditions. We also reserve the right to constantly improve our itinerearies. Onboard with us we always have a dinghy for beach landings and small expeditions, we have fishing gear for the cod, and gear to hike or make a bonfires on the beach - we are ready for adventure! Are you?