juni 1 - 9. juni 2023
Welcome to one of our most advanced trips so far. When the skiing season is about to end in mainland Norway, it’s at it’s best in the arctic archipelago of Svalbard! The sun is back and shining 24 hours a day, animals are back and thriving and the snow-conditions are perfect, so May’s a fantastic time in Svalbard.
Svalbard can offer fjords, mountains and vast wilderness areas that are still untouched by human activity even now in our time. The traces we find in the nature here are not from people, but from the polar fox, seals, birds, reindeer or the queen of these lands, the polar bear! On this trip we’ll be accompanied by the wild animals and the elements; air, ocean and ice in every way - from sea ice, to glaciers and snow we can ski in all forms.
With 9 days at hand we have time to get to know the Isfjord. And if the weather forecast allows us we have the time to navigating out of the Isfjord basin and up along the north-west coast of the island Spitsbergen to the really majestic fjords. How far we sail each day to ski will of course be due to weather and snow-conditions along the way.
We will experience and explore raw nature, ski-tour and get tired and pumped, and eat and drink well. We use the dinghy to shore, put on our skis and skins at the beach, hike up and ski down a mountainside probably nobody have skied before us. Everything is set for an awesome trip!
The ski touring we do during this week will be planned with everyone the day before. After a day’s hike and ski we relax in the boat with warm and good food, before we sail to the next fjord, harbour or anchorage.
The best part of this trip however is what boat we are sailing! The latest addition to our fleet; Alma, is an almost-new replica of a traditional sailing vessel called a Hardangerjakt. She’s built by the boat builders at Karmøy in Western Norway and was completed in 2012. Alma is sturdy and weighs 45 tons, and is equipped for expeditions to the world’s most remote waters. This is a real outdoors adventure vessel, and a ship where we can really experience some of the feelings that Amundsen and his crew onboard Gjøa had when they were on their 3-year expedition through the Northwest Passage more than a 100 years ago. Alma is a replica of Amundsen’s ship Gjøa, just 20 feet shorter.
With us onboard on this trip we bring a certified ski-guide with several years of experience with this type of ski-touring in Svalbard.
This trip starts and ends in Longyearbyen, the main city of Svalbard. See the day-to-day program for more information.
On our trips we travel as sustainable as possible, we will use our sails as much as possible without using engine, and we try to not leave any lasting traces at sea or land. In SailNorway we are engaged in taking care of the environment as much as we can and we think that smaller sailing boats with fewer people and little pollution and waste, are way less harmful to the environment, the climate and local wildlife, compared to bigger vessels and cruise ships. We do also try to clean up plastic in the places we visit instead of leaving any trash. At Svalbard we follow AECOs regulations for encountering with wildlife, beach cleaning, cultural heritage sites and for visitors and tourist operators in the Arctic. You can read more about AECO’s guidelines here.
Epic. Epic. Epic. As a skier and a outdoors-man it is impossible not to dream of Svalbard. There is also a very special light and skiing opportunities long into the summer.
Day 1: Ship o’hoi - let’s meet and set sails!
Welcome on board! We will meet in Longyearbyen harbour at 14:00, get settled in to the boat and get to know each other. Before we set sails, we’ll take you through safety routines on board, and familiarize you with the boat. We eat dinner on our way out of the fjord and we will try to get a ski hike during the day.
Day 2: Skitouring in outer Isfjorden
The most famous and visited fjord in Svalbard is Isfjorden. In their respective side fjords in this fjord system, lies the cities of Longyearbyen, Barentsburg and Pyramiden as well as smaller abandoned places. The fjord is surrounded by great mountains for skiing, so before we sail north, we go for a hike or two around Isfjorden.
Day 3 - 6: St.Johnsfjorden, Forlandssundet and Kongsfjorden (Kings Bay)
These days we use in the Isfjord, and if the weather forecast allows us we will explore the magnificent fjords on the north-west coast of the Spitsbergen island. With ski touring and sailing, nice meals and spectacular wilderness!
Day 7 - 8: Sailing back home towards Longyearbyen
We start thinking about the return, whether it'll be from the Isfjord or the southwards travel back home and stop for a skitour along the way if we see that there's time for it. We aim for a visit in Barentsburg and finish the day with dinner in Longyearbyen this last night!
Day 9: Thanks for a great trip!
After breakfast we clean ourselves out of the boat and we wish each other a good travel back home. Thanks for a great trip in these beautiful surroundings! If you have the time, we recommend spending an extra day or two in Longyearbyen to relax after the week’s impressions and get to know more of this little multicultural Arctic hub.
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.
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 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.
Very few row to Svalbard, a few more sail, but most fly. Norwegian and SAS fly to Longyearbyen, check out www.norwegian.no or www.sas.no.
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 level
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. On our Ski & Sail adventures in Svalbard we do often travel across snowcoverd glaciers on the trips on land. This means that the guides will ask you also to bring personal glacier equipment (harness, slings, prutzics, carabiners) in addition to the touring equipment. 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 well in advance before departure.
Food and cooking
Even though we have a chef on board on this trip, you will still be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all aspects of the running of the sailboat. This might include helping clean up, setting the table for meals, etc. 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, 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 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. Accommodation is in separate single berths in two large cabins / common rooms, with several shared bathrooms. 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.
We have plenty of heat and good food on the boat, but not always an abundance of fresh water. This means it will not be possible to shower too much during the trip; as we say “we sail together we smell together”. And a morning swim in the sea is free and is always available every day all year round!
What kind of people join this trip?
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.
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.