Ski touring in Svalbard

Ski touring in Svalbard

An adventure out of the ordinary

Ski touring in Svalbard, Norway’s most awesome skiing adventure?

Are you dreaming about going on a skiing adventure that is out of the ordinary, in an area where few off-piste skiers have been before you?
Here are five reasons why ski touring in Svalbard is even more awesome than other places:

Have the mountains completely to yourself

If you divide Svalbard’s total land area by the local population, you end up with 22 km² per inhabitant. In other words, there are vast expanses of land and very few people. You can have the mountains and wilderness completely to yourself. Most skiers stick to the mountains around the settlements but, if you want a ski touring expedition well off the beaten track, you could consider a multi-day expedition to Atomfjella. If you choose this option, you will get a magnificent snowmobile trip through Svalbard’s awe-inspiring wilderness as an added bonus.

Dagmara Wojtanowicz

Forget “tree huggers”!

If you love doing freeride turns or simply cruising downhill on your randonnée skis without fear of catching your ski in a crooked mountain birch or low hanging pine branch, then Svalbard is the place for you. With not a single tree in sight, Svalbard is an optimal ski touring destination for ski tourers who feel offended by the term “tree huggers”.

Ski & Sail in the Midnight Sun

Ski & Sail in Svalbard must be one of the most exotic activities possible. Travelling by boat allows you to reach the most out-of-the-way mountains, which are well off the beaten track. Perhaps you will be the first to reach these isolated summits. The Ski & Sail expeditions are held in April, May and June when Svalbard bathes in the golden rays of the Midnight Sun. The Midnight Sun (which arrives around 20 April) enables long days on your skis and summit ski climbs around the clock. Several of the tour operators in Longyearbyen run such expeditions for small and large groups.

Dagmara Wojtanowicz

Skiing under the Northern Lights, anyone? (during the daytime, too!)

If you visit early in the ski season (December and January), you can ski during the Polar Night. It’s completely dark here until the end of January – in other words, there is no difference between day and night. Svalbard is the only place on earth where you can see the Northern Lights in the daytime as well as at night. Ski touring under aurora borealis in the middle of the day must rank as pretty exotic!

Armed ski guides

Humans are not the only ones who climb mountains in Svalbard. Polar bears can also decide to head up into the mountains. Consequently, it’s important to carry equipment to scare off polar bears, such as a rifle/shotgun or signal pistol/flare gun. It’s strongly recommended for visitors to hire a local ski guide who can handle polar bear safety as well as guide you to where the snow conditions are best. Remember that the conditions control everything. You have the option of joining an organised summit ski climb. Several of Longyearbyen’s activity providers specialize in ski touring and can offer you the best advice.

Benjamin Hardman

Important information:

Svalbard’s nature is strikingly beautiful, but it’s also unpredictable and challenging. The weather changes quickly. You should always be accompanied by a local guide or a person who knows the local area well – and never set off without firearms. The guide will attend to your safety when it comes to polar bears, avalanche risk, sea ice, weather and other potential dangers in the Svalbard nature. The Svalbard guides have expertise of sustainable tourism, safety, environmental protection and conveying this knowledge, and they will enrich your experience.

We recommend you read Visit Norway’s “Randonnée safety for beginners” regardless of where in Norway you are planning a ski touring excursion.

The following companies:
Offer pre-organised guided ski-tours: Svalbard Wildlife ExpeditionsPoli Arctici, Backyard Svalbard
Offer custom-made guided ski-tours (Contact by email for an offer): Svalbard Wildlife ExpeditionsHurtigruten Svalbard, Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen, Svalbardguidene, Backyard Svalbard
Offer ski and equipment rental: Sportscenteret, Svalbard Wildlife Expeditions

Svalbard Unplugged - Board & Sail

Board & Sail is of course possible in Svalbard as well, as showcased by Antti Autti and Enni Rukajärvi in the film "Svalbard Unplugged" where they tested the spring-snow in Svalbard.
Check out their film here!

Svalbard Unplugged from Antti Autti on Vimeo.

Visit Svalbard Eco-Lighthouse

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