Kvaløya - Senja
For 2018 we will again be offering a trip to the Island of Kvaløya in Arctic Norway. This has been one of our favourite destinations for personal skiing for a number of years and we are keen to share this varied area with our clients.
A ski touring trip to the island of Kvaløya, visiting a unique set of mountains in the Arctic Circle, close to Norway’s northern city of Tromsø. Lying just to the west of the Lyngen Peninsula the mountains are a popular destination with the locals giving fantastic skiing and scenery high above the sea. There is no need to fear the crowds here however, as there are plenty of descents to choose from. The neighbouring island of Senja is also just a short ferry trip away.
The mountains here rise up to a maximum of ~1000m and are in many cases surrounded by the sea, with some of the most popular being the likes of Storeteinnestinden, Skittentinden, Hollendaren, to name a few.
Some 300km into the Arctic Circle the snow conditions are reliable here, allowing you to ski from the summit to the sea in many cases. The sheer variety of the skiing makes Kvaløya an ideal location for an interesting trip to suit intermediate to advanced skiers and tourers. Kattfjorddalen alone sports open slopes, well spaced trees, and steeper couloirs explaining why the residents of Tromsø describe the area as one of their favourites too.
Ski Touring on the island of Kvaløya
Skiing in the Tromsø area and Kvaløya in particular is a unique experience. Being based on the island a short distance from Tromsø allows us to travel by car capitalising on the excellent road network around the fjords, with short distances between ski tours. This allows much greater flexibility to make best use of the prevailing weather or simply to visit the neighbouring island of Senja.
This trip is based from Ersfjordbotn, with stunning down Ersfjorden. Here we make use of traditional Norwegian houses or ‘hytte’, both of which are well appointed, close to the sea front.
Many of the days are shorter it terms of vertical distance than we are used to in the alps, giving plenty of time for another lap or descents of many variations or couloirs etc. Later in the season ascents will often be timed to get the best 'spring snow' on sunny aspects, but rarely is there the need for a 5am start in the Arctic Circle.
Check out this video from last year shot and edited by John Lewis with some days on Kvaløya:
The Kvaløya - Senja Team…
In order to provide a unique experience and make the best of you time in the Arctic Circle, we have created a small team. The trip will be led by Alison and James giving the benefits of both high quality guiding and ski instruction, not to mention enthusiasm for Arctic Norway and the magical skiing the area offers.
Having an informal but dual discipline team brings a lot of flexibility to cater for groups of different ability or aspirations as well as ensuring plenty of ski coaching or guiding time as appropriate. Of course a big part of experience in Arctic Norway is allowing yourself to take a steadier pace while soaking up the surroundings and relaxing in front of a warm fire. To help us we also have enlisted the services of Rupert Hutchinson as cook and catering manager. As a former Head Chef at Glenmore Lodge he is used to ensuring that tea and cake is available following a hard day on the hill followed by a hearty meal..!
£1750 per person
Maximum 6 people
- 6 days dual guiding and ski instruction with IFMGA Mountain Guide and ISTD.
- Transfer to and from Tromsø Airport.
- Accommodation (double or twin rooms) and food on full board basis (inc. packed lunch).
- All transport during the trip ( including additional costs such as ferries).
What’s not included?
- Flights to and from Tromsø.
- Alcohol (please note alcohol is expensive in Norway. This is best purchased at duty free).
- Avalanche safety equipment, and ski touring equipment. Due to this being a specialist trip joining in Tromsø we won’t have extra equipment available. If you have any equipment requirements then please contact us in the first instance. Please read kit list here.
- Lift expenses. Although this is a wilderness skiing trip, and it’s use is unlikely there is one lift in Tromsø!
- Insurance for cancellation, rescue, repatriation and medical expenses.
A trip to the Island of Kvaløya would suit intermediate to advanced ski tourers. The ability to ski off piste is essential for this area with ascents of 800m-1200m per day being fairly typical, with a similarly large descent. Some variations might require steeper skinning and descents of 40 deg. We ask that you are comfortable skinning uphill at a rate of 300m per hour and are comfortable doing kick turns. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of your ski ability or for advice on your preparation.
Alison Culshaw runs ‘Off-Piste Performance Ltd’ and holds the BASI International Ski Teacher Diploma (ISTD). She has delivered Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to the British Mountain Guides and works as a trainer on the BASI Mountain Safety Courses training aspiring instructors. When not teaching skiing she'll be off ski touring somewhere.
James Thacker is an IFMGA Mountain Guide, based in Chamonix but with a particular passion for skiing in the Arctic Circle and the Troms Region in particular.
Together, James and Alison, have spent over 20 weeks skiing inside the Arctic Circle. It's that good, they just keep going back!
Additional information can be found in the links below:
- Off-Piste Ski Ability
- Effective but not efficient, Experienced
- Ski Touring, Instruction and Ski Touring
- Ski Instructor & Mountain Guide