mars 29 - 2. april 2023
This long weekend Ski & Sail is a trip for those who like the idea of alpine skiing and randonné in the untouched Lofoten-mountains of Northern Norway. It is a trip for travelers wanting a more challenging and rewarding holiday - for those 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 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. In between we will get some very nice shorter sailing legs, on our way from one fjord and mountain to the next.
The trip starts and ends in Svolvær.
For our Ski & Sail trips we use ski guides with local experience and knowledge, who also function as instructors and coaches for us. Having a ski guide available onboard each boat makes us more certain we'll find the best snow available, and it can make it possible for us to do more challenging skiing and summits. Of the different places we will pass and hope to visit along the way, we can mention Austnesfjorden, Geitgaljertind, the Trollfjord, Raftsundet, and some other secret spots.
The skiing will be planned in plenary, according to the skill level of the group, snow, weather, and conditions in general. After our daily ascents 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 is behind the wheel or with skis strapped on your feet. The mussel pain and tiredness can wait until we get back home:)
For most of our Ski & 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 according to skill level and experience amongst the participants.
The boats we will be using for Ski & Sail Lofoten are Humla/Bien and Nirvana, 50 ft. and 44 ft. boats, 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 & 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 harbour in the center of Svolvær at 16:00, get settled into 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.
Day 2: Skiing in 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 the most demanding summits, but Rundfjellet and Kvittind are also great options. 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 the towering peaks here of above 1000 masl. After coming back we hope to enjoy some time together around the bonfire after the mandatory swim in the fjord!
Day 5: Raftsundet
Early skiing on this last day in Raftsundet. Then we sail back towards Svolvær, packing our stuff together and tidying up the boat. We will be back at the dock in Svolvær at 16:00 latest. The bus and speed ferry depart by the harbor, and distance to the airport is not far, but please add some wiggle room when booking your return transport.
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. On some days we will eat dinner right away after skiing, while on other days we will have a light meal when we come back to the boat, and then sail on before having a late dinner. Some days, we spend time fishing, or exploring the area. If the weather is really not in favor of skiing, we can spend the day sailing or doing something else fun.
Deposit and payment
You pay a 6000NOK deposit when you book the trip, and the rest of the payment is due 60 days before the trip begins.
Travel - in general
Sometimes we have to fly, but not always. If you have the luxury of time, we always encourage you to travel as environmentally friendly as possible. Traveling slowly also allows you to start your holiday in a special way. Cycling, taking the train, or driving a car together can be good options! Feel free to add some extra time before and after your trip, since up north the weather can be unpredictable and might affect your plans!
Travel - Svolvær
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 to the feet 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 discover the joys of. SailNorway has arranged Ski & Sail trips in Helgeland, Steigen, Lofoten Islands, 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
On this trip we require some experience with randonnee/alpine touring/backcountry skiing. You should have skied or snowboarded before, and been on backcountry/touring trips. Regardless, we will set up the trip based on the experience of the group, so that everyone has a great experience. On most of our Ski & Sail trips, we sail two or more boats in tandem, with one ski guide per boat. This depends on the number of participants we have signed up, but it allows us to split up into groups based on the participants’ prior experience. If you have a lot of experience and on skis, you will still find the opportunity to challenge and enjoy yourself on the trip.
If you are wondering if this trip is a good fit for you, feel free to contact us so that we can help you find the tour that best fits your wishes and needs - whether you are a beginner or are very experienced.
Safety and risk - in general
We take safety seriously and on our trips we train on handling different situations that can occur at sea. 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 are trained quickly enough to be a participant - not a passenger. It contributes to learning, a 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 crew members on board. Feel free to contact us to discuss risk.
Safety and risk - Ski & Sail
We have the same mindset when it comes to skiing and alpine/backcountry trips. The first day of skiing we train on 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 good group dynamic are important. It is also crucial that you follow the guide's instructions in the mountains to ensure safety. Skitouring and alpine/backcountry skiing involve a certain risk, as does sailing. However, we at SailNorway, and our skippers and ski guides, do everything we can to minimize the risk in a professional manner.
We work with locally knowledgeable ski guides and plan the trips based on the latest available local reports and forecasts. 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, meaning that we may sometimes go somewhere that is not mentioned in the program or a place that we might not have tested in advance ourselves. This adds to the excitement!
Equipment for ski touring and backcountry skiing is required for this trip, that means avalanche/ski backpack with beacon, probe and shovel, and touring skis (or splitboard) with skins and ski crampons. We have a few sets of avalanche equipment that can be hired through us if you let us know beforehand, and ski equipment can be rented through our partners. Crampons, climbing axes and harnesses / ropes are not required on our trips. We do not expect you to buy lots of new equipment to join any of our trips, so, use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, try to purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment - buy quality items that will last. We will send you a detailed recommended packing list in good time before departure.
Food and cooking
On our trips you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all aspects of the running of the sailboat. This includes the cooking, where everyone is taking turns in the galley! Skippers and guides assist as much as they can along the way. Before the trip we set up a menu and purchase what is needed. We offer good menus with healthy “boat friendly” food. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account. During the trip, we 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, cleaning the boat, or contributing in other ways when required. Our trips require a little work from 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 get along very well. Our experience is that doing things with others out in nature, and not least doing 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 on board a sailboat is social and pleasant, but for some it can be perceived as quite intimate and crowded, which one should 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 boat as soon as possible. It requires some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but the new acquaintances and completely raw nature experiences 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 generally in shared cabins, some of which have a double bed and some of which have bunk beds. Figuring out who sleeps where can be a bit of a puzzle, but we do believe we’ve gotten quite good at it. Let us know if you have any special needs or reservations. You must arrange any accommodation before and after the trip on your own. If you have any doubts about where to stay, we’re happy to give you some recommendations.
We have plenty of heating and good food on the boat, but not always abundance of fresh water. This means it will not be possible to shower every day, but more or less every other day we are either in a harbor with fresh water or we sail through a place where we can borrow showers or enjoy a sauna. And a morning swim in the sea is always available all year round!
What kind of people join this trip - and how many will we be on board?
Many come alone, some travel as couples, and others travel as a group of friends. The common denominator for everyone is that these are fun and interesting people you will become friends with almost no matter what. Sharing grand experiences creates strong ties! Many people wonder about the age composition of our trips, but this isn’t 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 in making this a great trip for everyone. The number of participants varies from trip to trip. If we have many participants, we will expand with more boats and skippers. For Ski & Sail we are usually 1-2 boats with 7-9 people onboard each boat.
Environment and sustainbility
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 much as we can. We also run 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 sustainably, knowledge, patience, flexibility, 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 run this trip. We are able to tell pretty early on whether a trip will be confirmed or not. If we have to cancel, you will get reimbursed 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 your trip.