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By the time April creeps around, the leaves are beginning to grow back on the trees and snow is steadily melting from the mountain slopes of the Northern Hemisphere.
While the end of the ski touring season is in March for most of Europe, North America, and Asia’s top resorts, it is never too early to begin looking into that last ski touring trip of the year – a late season adventure to a more remote and oftentimes northerly destination.
As the days grow longer and the sun becomes stronger, it is necessary to look away from the usual haunts of ski touring enthusiasts and head to some of the lesser traveled regions of the world.
From Greenland to Russia, there are a plethora of great spots to break out the skiing gear and head to for one last ski touring hurrah. Below, we’ve listed five of the top late season ski touring spots that you should not miss this spring!
It is a happy coincidence that many late season ski touring destinations also happen to be incredibly beautiful corners of the world. Whether it is on the slopes of Asia’s tallest volcano or the fjords off the coast of Norway, a thick coating of snow makes everything more beautiful.
Enjoy incredible views of glaciers, rugged mountain peaks, fjords and even more stunning scenery on your next late season ski touring expedition.
In order to enjoy late season snow, you have to head above the Arctic Circle or to higher elevations in places with continental climates. This generally means going where few other tourists manage to venture and reaping the rewards.
Enjoy empty slopes and unspoiled powder well into May in these out-of-the-way destinations. Escape the crowds that throng more traditional ski touring destinations and take some time to unwind far away from civilization.
Heading out on a late season ski touring trip is a great excuse to go and traverse somewhere new. Leave all of the familiar spots behind and go explore an unfamiliar corner of the world.
Whether that is in the upper reaches of Iran’s Alborz Mountains or the volcanic slopes of Kamchatka, become enveloped once again by that feeling of striking out and experiencing the unknown.
Situated on the eastern side of the Lyngen fjord, off the coast of northern Norway, Uloya Island is a perfect late season ski touring destination.
As the end of March comes around, the island still boasts plenty of incredibly high-quality powder and is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery.
Composed mostly of mountains and fjords, ski tourers on Uloya Island have the privilege of skinning up to the summits of these coastal mountains before careening back down to the sea.
Uloya is among the few places on earth where it is possible to find 1,000-meter (3,280-foot) slopes inclined at just about every angle, leading from these snow-capped mountain tops back down to the sea below.
Hiring a local guiding service, such as the Lyngen Outdoor Center, is the best way to make the most of your limited time in Norway.
Away from Uloya Island, there are also plenty of other incredible places to explore in this Scandinavian ski touring paradise this spring!
Best time to visit: late March to early May
Difficulty level: Intermediate
How to get to Uloya: Fly into Tromsø Airport (TOS) and make the roughly three hour transfer to Uloya Island via car and ferry. Many guides opt to meet you at TOS and provide transport to the start of the trip.
Jutting south from the Russian mainland and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east and Sea of Okhotsk to the west, the Kamchatka Peninsula is home to some of Russia’s most unique and interesting terrain.
The 1,250-kilometer (780-mile) long peninsula is composed of two separate volcanic mountain ranges, a central one, the Sredinny, that runs through the heart of the peninsula and a southeastern one, the Vostochny, that runs along the coast.
The latter of these two ranges combines stunning views out over the ocean with the thrill of skiing on active volcanos as well as the challenge of traversing steep slopes and varied terrains.
Home to high ridges, steep bowls, and thrilling couloirs, the Vostochny mountains reach about 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) in elevation and dominate the coastal skyline.
The best way to explore as much of the volcanic range as you can is to head on a late season sailing and skiing expedition. This provides you with the mobility to visit multiple parts of the mountain range, skinning up various mountains before skiing back down to the seashore.
Best time to visit: March to May
Difficulty level: Sustained
How to get to Kamchatka: Fly into the airport in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski (PKC). Many guides will opt to meet you here or at another point in the city. For the latter, it is easiest to take taxis within the city.
The world’s largest and northernmost island is also home to some of the best late season ski touring opportunities around.
In spite of its name, Greenland is home to the largest glaciers outside of Antarctica and some of the most stunningly beautiful coastlines found anywhere on earth.
Its remote location and decentralized nature – Greenland has no road system and few international airports – means that country is truly wild.
Its position at the very top of the globe ensures that there is high-quality powder well into the summer months, making it the perfect spot for a Northern Hemisphere summer skiing holiday!
Again, sailing and skiing is the best way to see and experience Greenland’s incredible landscapes and ecosystems. The east coast of the island is home to some of the largest fjords and glaciers that can be found anywhere on earth.
Skinning up to the top of the fjords and nearby coastal mountains allows for long and uninterrupted runs all the way back down to the sailboat. Only a few places on earth allow for this convenient form of ski touring.
Best time to visit: April to July
Difficulty level: Sustained
How to get to Greenland: Fly into either Svalbard Airport (LYR) in Norway or Keflavík International Airport (KEF) in Iceland. Most guides will opt to meet you there and arrange transport to the start of the trip.
Stretching for more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the border between the United States and Canada up through Alberta and British Columbia, the Canadian Rockies boast some of North America’s top late season ski touring spots.
Among the favored destinations in the Canadian Rockies is Banff National Park. Home to plenty of snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes and thick evergreen forests, there are few more scenic places to head in April or May for a ski touring adventure.
Boasting a diverse array of different mountain terrain and slope gradients, the Canadian Rockies are also the perfect place for a first-time ski touring experience.
Whitehorn-Mount Robson is among the top spots for those looking to try out the sport for the first time. Rising to 3,399 meters (11,152 feet) in elevation, the peak is among the most prominent in British Columbia and offers a wide variety of slopes that are perfect for practicing necessary off-piste skiing techniques.
For more advanced ski tourers, there are plenty of other great options as well, including the hut-to-hut Wapta Traverse and Bow Yoho Traverse.
Best time to visit: March to April
Difficulty level: Intermediate
How to get to the Canadian Rockies: Fly into Calgary International Airport (YCC). From here, it is easiest to rent a car and drive into the mountains.
Sitting at the heart of the Alborz Mountains, just north of the Iranian capital of Tehran, Mount Damavand is the perfect spot for an unorthodox late season ski touring adventure.
Rising to 5,609 meters (18,403 feet) in elevation, Mount Damavand is the highest peak in Iran and the second most prominent mountain in Asia.
Heading to the peak for a late season ski touring adventure means it is possible to hike to the top of one of the world’s Seven Volcanic Summits before plunging back down is snow-covered flanks on your skis.
The ascent begins with a scenic approach through the forested valleys of the Alborz Mountains. As you gain elevation and pass above the trees, the landscape becomes more rugged and arid. Finally, you will reach the snow line and ascend up to the summit with crampons and an ice axe.
After enjoying some time at the top of Iran, it will be time to break out the skiing gear and careen back down the side of Damavand until you reach the more rugged and rocky terrain once again.
While climbing the peak generally takes between two and four days, many ski tourers will stick around for a few extra days to head to some of the other peaks in the Alborz range as well.
Best time to visit: April to May
Difficulty level: Sustained
How to get to Mount Damavand: Fly into Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA), in Tehran. Guides will generally meet you there and provide transport to the start of the trip.
Keep in mind: You will need to know how to climb with crampons and an ice axe on this trip.
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