Ski touring in Norway is an epic lifetime experience. The vast, almost infinite landscape of steep fjords rising above the Arctic Sea, majestic glaciers and rugged snowy peaks, are the perfect backdrop for an adventurous journey in pure nature.
Hailed for its surreal sights of the Northern Lights, Norway is also known for being one of the few places on Earth where you can ski from summit to sea. Due to its landscape packed with meandering fjords and islands, some trips combine sailing and skiing, to make it easier to access to the best slopes.
If you are seeking remote locations far away from the crowds and the bustle of ski resorts, you should look no further: skiing in Norway is just as good as you imagine it to be!
Going on a ski trip to Norway with an experienced mountain guide is a huge advantage. Besides sorting out all the travel logistics & safety issues, a guide can provide access to the most outstanding and remote locations.
Even though Norway’s best ski touring areas are well-connected, the distances are often quite long, so you need to plan your trip carefully if you want to make the best of your time in the country. Besides, it’s important to pick the right location according to your itinerary and wishes. To help you with this, we’ve come up with a complete guide of the best spots for ski touring in Norway. Keep reading and start dreaming of your next ski touring trip!
Extending for over 90 km in the northeast of Troms county and dominating the Lyngen Peninsula, the Lyngen Alps are one of the most stunning ski touring destinations in Norway.
Not only they provide jaw-dropping views of the Norwegian fjords, but also couloirs and steep slopes that draw intermediate to advanced skiers. This, combined with its proximity to the Arctic Circle ―which means amazing conditions to witness the Northern Lights― have put the Lyngen Alps in the map of world-class ski touring venues.
Guided ski touring trips in the Lyngen Alps usually take 1-week and can be adapted to your ski level. For an off-the-beaten-path option in Lyngen, ski touring in the incredible and remote Uløya Island while staying at a comfortable lodge sounds like a great option! Uløya is a fascinating island on the east side of the Lyngen Fjord, featuring incredible 1000 m long slopes to ski all the way down to the sea.
Check out his short video of a group of Explore-Share users ski touring in the Lyngen Alps with local guide Pawel:
Starting point: most trips in the Lyngen Alps start from Tromsø, a lively and modern city regarded as ‘gateway of the Arctic’. Tromsø makes for a fascinating jumping-off point for all kinds of outdoor activities in the Lyngen Alps, mixing cultural attractions, a vibrant night scene and fresh local cuisine.
How to get to the Lyngen Alps (Tromsø): There are daily all-year-round flights connecting Tromsø with Oslo, the capital city, and other Norwegian cities. Depending on the season, there are direct flights to Tromsø from European cities like London, Copenhagen, Oulu and Stockholm.
The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago in the county of Nordland, lying on the Norwegian Sea, 100 km above the Arctic Circle. Home to unspoiled natural landscapes of staggering beauty, this place provides a one-of-a-kind ski touring experience. Besides, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream, the Lofoten boasts an incredibly mild weather, making skiing much more enjoyable!
Starting point: Svolvær is the main town in the Lofoten Islands and the main departure point for most ski touring trips in the area.
How to get to Lofoten (Svolvær): the best option is to take a flight from Oslo to Svolvær, with a stopover in the nearby coastal city of Bodø. You can also fly to Narvik and rent a car. There are also several options to travel by ferry (or car ferry) fromBodø to Moskenes or Svolvær in the islands. The train and bus take you to Bodø and Narvik.
Finnmark is the northernmost region of Norway and the top of mainland Europe, bordering with Finland, Russia and the Barents Sea. Due to its extreme location, is also the least populated part of Norway.
Not as nearly popular as the Lyngen Alps among ski tourers (but lying at a 3-hour drive from them), Finnmark still remains a well-kept secret, a land of wilderness, solitude and pure powder snow awaiting to be explored.
For those who enjoy venturing far away from the crowds, the possibilities are endless. Some of the options for ski touring in Finnmark include a ski & kayak trip to reach the best slopes, a more conventional (but yet incredible) 6-day ski touring trip from a lodge or an off-the-grid alternative: a surreal Arctic night ski touring trip. You can also combine your trip with other outdoor activities like fishing, biking or dog-sledding.
Halfway between continental Norway and the North Pole, the Svalbard Archipelago caters a true Arctic experience. The landscape in this otherworldly land ―the northernmost inhabited place on Earth― consists of a vast tundra, dramatic mountains, glaciers and an array of wildlife (whales, seals, arctic foxes and yes, polar bears!).
Ski touring in Svalbard is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Most itineraries take you for a week or more of exploration, combining sailing & skiing for a deeper into the wild experience. Spitsbergen, the largest island of this archipelago, boasts some of the best ski areas. This kind of trips require to have previous ski touring experience, as well as (at least) intermediate downhill skiing level. Do you want to know more about what makes this Arctic experience so unique? Don’t miss our blog post about ski touring in Spitsbergen!
Starting point: trips around Svalbard begin at Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in this Polar archipelago.
How to get Spitsbergen (Longyearbyen): you can fly from Oslo or Tromsø to Longyearbyen. The frequency of flights usually increases in peak season (March-August). The only way to arrive by boat is to be on an expedition cruise.
Tamok Valley (Tamokdalen). This isolated valley loved by local freeriders lies at only 1.30 hour drive from Tromsø and it’s one of Norway’s best kept secrets! Although it lacks the sea view of the Lyngen Alps, these mountains boast steep slopes, great tree runs and lots of powder! Join a 4-day ski touring program or visit this hidden paradise for an entire ski touring week.
Narvik. Very close to the Lofoten, but in mainland Norway, this town is another exciting ski touring destination. Here you’ll find amazing runs down to the sea, ranging from large open slopes to steep couloirs. You can book a guide for one or several days of ski touring.
CENTRAL, SOUTHERN AND WESTERN NORWAY
The Sunnmøre Alps are a group of mountain ranges in the county of Møre og Romsdal. Surrounded by fjords and with breathtaking views of the Norwegian Sea, these jagged mountains can not make a more scenic setting for a ski touring trip! Here you’ll find slopes for all ski levels, from beginners to advanced skiers. Venture on a 1-week ski touring trip in the Sunnmøre Alps, departing from Zurich!
Starting point: the main hub for outdoor adventures in the Sunnmøre Alps is Alesund, a city famous for its Art-Nouveau architecture, which is at only 1-hour drive from the mountains.
How to get to the Sunnmøre Alps: Alesund has a local airport and there are regular flights from Oslo, Bergen and other Norwegian cities. International flights also connect the town with European cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. You can reach the town by bus from Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
Jotunheimen National Park
This protected area in Southern Norway ―known as ‘the home of the giants’― boasts the highest mountains in the country and it’s a haven for outdoor lovers. With peaks over 2,000 meters, big lakes and glaciers, the place is an immense playground of alpine beauty that is better explored on skis!
Winters are harsh in the mountains and sometimes the access roads are closed, so many people prefer to go ski touring in spring. One of the most famous routes is Jotunheimen Haute Route, which takes you for 5 days of ski touring on different glaciers.
Starting point: Beitostølen is a mountain village very close to Jotunheimen and the most popular place to stay if you are coming from Oslo.
How to get to Jotunheimen National Park:Located halfway between Bergen and Oslo, there are daily buses going to Jotunheimen NP from both cities.
Other places to go ski touring in Central, Southern and Western Norway
Sogndal. The mountains rising high above the fjords in Sogndal, in the Sogn og Fjordane county, are a stunning destination for those who want to ski in Norway without going too much up North. Bergen ―the second-largest city in the country― is the gateway for exploring the fjords and peaks of Western Norway and can be easily reached by plane, train or bus from Oslo and many other European cities. Go for an amazing ski touring week in Sogndal with a mountain guide!
Jostedal Glacier. Also known as Jostedalsbreen, it’s the largest glacier in continental Europe, spanning almost 490 square kilometers. This massive glacier provides a spectacular terrain for ski touring adventures, like this 4-day glacier ski traverse or this 3-day guided ski tour.
When is the best time for ski touring in Norway?
Well, it depends! Spring (March to May) provides the best snow conditions, friendlier temperatures and longer days, allowing more hours of skiing. In northern Norway (Lyngen Alps, Lofoten Island, Finnmark and Svalbard) May is the month of the Midnight Sun, a natural phenomenon that takes place in locations above the Arctic Circle. For a few weeks, the sun never sets and a different light covers everything. In Svalbard this lasts for almost four entire months! Check out this ski touring week under the midnight sun in the Lyngen Alps and get ready for an out-of-this-world experience!
As for the winter season (December to February), even though it has less hours of daylight, there’s one major attraction —at least for Northern Norway destinations— that can tilt the balance on its favor: the chance of enjoying the majestic (but elusive) Northern Lights. The long dark winter nights provide the best conditions to see them. And you can even have the incredible experience of skiing under them!