For 2019 we will be returning to the Lofoten Islands, within the Arctic Circle of Norway. This destination has been on our radar for some time now, and should be on any discerning skiers tick list. Northern Norway harbours two of the most famous ski destinations; the Lofoten Islands (or Magic Isles), and the Lyngen Peninsula.
The Lofoten Islands
The mountains here rise up to 1100m directly from the sea, with highest peak being Higravstinden 1146m. Although slightly lower than the mainland peaks, there is much to interest the skier with open slopes, broad couloirs, narrow chutes and open birch forest, all in some interesting rock architecture. The area is also a popular rock climbing area in the spring and early summer, where many of the jagged peaks can be reached by rock climbing.
Here in the Arctic Circle the snow conditions are reliable, allowing you to ski from the summit to the sea in many cases. The weather can be unsettled with storm cycles resulting in plenty of fresh snow. Combine this with varied terrain and you have the ideal location for an interesting trip to suit most levels of ski tourer. In April there is often the opportunity to ski powder if the conditions dictate.
Ski Touring on the Lofoten Islands
Skiing in the Lofoten Islands is a unique experience. The area is most famous for it's dramatic scenery, the vibrant fishing industry and the northern lights. We travel by road capitalising on the excellent road network and bridges linking the islands and fjords of the region. This allows great flexibility to make best use of the prevailing weather or simply to make ascents on the different islands that make up the Lofoten Islands.
This trip is based from apartments to the west of Svolvær, in Hopen. These modern and spacious apartments are in a secluded spot on the banks of a sheltered fjord, with mountains immediately behind. More importantly the ski touring starts close to the house with the excellent summits within easy reach.
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 small variations.
The Lofoten Team
In order to provide a unique experience and make the best of you time in the Arctic Circle, we have created the Lofoten Team. The trip will be led by Alison Culshaw (BASI Level 4) and James Thacker (IFMGA Mountain Guide) along with George Reid (IFMGA Mountain Guide) giving the benefits of both high quality guiding and ski instruction, not to mention enthusiasm for skiing in Arctic Norway.
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. To help us we also have enlisted the services of Rupert Hutchinson as cook and catering manager who has previously joined us on Lyngen - Oldervik and Kvaløya - Senja trips. 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!
£1850 per person
Maximum 6 people . The minimum number for this trip to run is 1.
We have 12 places available on this trip and will divide into 2 or 3 groups on a daily basis.
- 6 days ski guiding with IFMGA Mountain Guides, with additional input from BASI Ski Instructors.*
- Transfer to and from Svolvær Airport.
- Accommodation (double, twin or triple rooms) and food on full board basis (inc. packed lunch) at Lofoten Apartments.**
- All transport during the trip.
What’s not included?
- Travel to and from Svolvær.
- 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 Svolvær we won’t have extra equipment available. If you have any equipment requirements then please contact us in the first instance. Please read the kit list here.
- Insurance for cancellation, rescue, repatriation and medical expenses.
- Entrance to museums (bad weather day option, see below)
Our trip to the Lofoten Islands would suit most levels of intermediate ski tourers. With the flexibility to divide into small groups, it is ideal for those that have skied with us in Oldervik, or on Kvaløya.
The ability to ski off piste is essential for this area, being comfortable skiing slopes of up 30 degrees. You will need to be able to cope in a variety of conditions i.e. poor visibility and crust. You need to be able to kick turn when skinning, even if you are not fluid in doing so. You need to have the fitness to cope with a full mountain day, skinning uphill at a rate of approximately 300m per hour for 3 - 4 hours. The majority of days will involve 700m -1000m of skinning.
To get the most from this trip, you will have some experience of using crampons, and boot packing up a slope.
The terrain is varied with open slopes, well spaced trees, couloirs and steeper slopes to suit most tastes. The days are also shorter than the european alps allowing us to take a steadier pace and enjoy at least one traditional 'fika' break. 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.
* We aim to have 6 days skiing during this trip. Due to the variable nature of the weather and snow conditions on Lofoten, we may replace one of the skiing days with a sight seeing trip if this is deemed to be in the group's best interests. Visits to Henningsvær and the Viking Museum are good bad weather options.
** 4 of the beds are in the loft of the main apartment, on 2 separate sleeping platforms. These are accessed by a ladder from the living room and do not have a door. These are offered at a reduced rate of £1775. Photos available on Lofoten Apartments.
Alison Thacker runs ‘Off-Piste Performance Ltd’ and holds the BASI International Ski Teacher Diploma (ISTD). 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.
George Reid is an IFMGA Mountain Guide based in Scotland. He is also a BASI Level 3 (ISIA) Ski Instructor. He has skied with Off Piste Performance in Norway in 2016 and 2017 on Lyngen, Kvaløya and Senja.
Rupert Hutchinson joined Off Piste Performance in 2015 as catering manager for the Lyngen-Oldervik and Kvaløya-Senja ski touring trips. He holds the International Mountain Leader Award, and when not cooking can be found out making fresh tracks somewhere.
Between them, Alison, James, George and Rupert have spent over 25 weeks skiing inside the Arctic Circle. There is a good reason why they keep on going back.
- Off-Piste Ski Ability
- Ski Touring
- Ski Instructor & Mountain Guide