Come on the adventure of a lifetime with Tom, an IFMGA-certified guide, to the remote Svalbard Islands and spend seven days ski mountaineering by way of a yacht around the western coast of Spitsbergen and experience some of the most isolated and undiscovered terrain in the world.
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Enjoy a wild and woolly ski mountaineering trip in the delightful wilderness of Svalbard! This week-long extravaganza features incredible remote skiing from the comfort of a yacht, allowing us to reach every nook and cranny of Spitsbergen!
The archipelago of Svalbard is in the Arctic Ocean, nearly halfway between mainland Norway (1,000 kilometers away) and the North Pole (1,200 kilometers away). This group of over 60 islands is one of the furthest reaches for immaculate snow conditions. It is sparsely populated, with Longyearbyen as its largest settlement with just over 2,000 inhabitants.
Spitsbergen is its largest island, with a multitude of terrain to explore and discover. Wildlife includes the polar bear, a symbol of the region. The rare nature is a definition of remote terrain and a particularly interesting aspect of a Svalbard expedition.
Your program includes the best parts of this amazing wilderness. For easy access to the many runs and routes, we will be staying on a yacht and sailing around the coast of Spitsbergen. For seven days, we will tour the shores and seamlessly transition into unforgettable runs and routes. This is the land of the midnight sun, which means five to nine hours dedicated each day to finding the best spots to ski.
The terrain includes untouched corn snow of the highest quality, stunning fjords protected by the island of Prins Karls Vorland, and incomparable panoramas from the peaks that stretch out of the water up to 1,000 kilometers. Light and dry Arctic powder can also be found in the area for unparalleled skiing conditions.
The yacht provides us unencumbered access to the best features of the landscape. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest ski mountaineering trips you could ever imagine, taking advantage of the unique sea and mountain geography in the unexplored beauty of the Arctic.
You can expect day after day of phenomenal skiing. You will be touring from shore to 800 meters and higher each day. The glaciated terrain presents exciting challenges that are particular to Svalbard and Spitsbergen. Our adventure will cover anywhere from 10 to 20 kilometers a day in distance, and a vertical distance of 1,100 meters to 1,500 meters, possibly even more.
The yacht perfectly blends luxury and necessity, all without compromising the integrity of this rugged once-in-a-lifetime experience. The 50-meter boat is stable and comfortable, a fitting homage to the traditional whaling boats that toured the region over 200 years ago. Heliskiing is forbidden in Svalbard, making our yacht trip the best way to reach the terrain of Spitsbergen.
You should have a high proficiency in ski mountaineering for this trip, both for the isolated region and the terrain. A high level of physical fitness is also necessary for the sustained trip. Five to nine hours of daily skiing can be demanding, so you should come equipped with the mental fortitude to take on the challenges associated with it.
For those adventurers interested in extending the trip and making the most out of their experience in Svalbard, there is an optional three-day pre-trip extension! Come with me to the Basecamp Svalbard Hotel in Longyearbyen, where we can ski tour with or without snowmobile access to the pristine backcountry.
The area contains captivating peaks and glaciers. You will have the rare chance to experience skiing based out of the northernmost town in the world, ending each day in its unique culture and nightlife.
Set off on the adventure of a lifetime NOW and book this seven-day ski mountaineering program in a Norwegian archipelago, exploring the western coast of Spitsbergen in Svalbard!
- Accommodation included
- Guiding fee
- Permit and entrance fees
7 nights sailboat charter (s/v Noorderlicht) with crew, harbour fees, permit fees, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides, multi-course dinners, breakfast on board as well as lunch supplies. See description for full details.
Air travel, alcoholic beverages, hotel in Oslo en route, gratuities.
Secure your spot with just 25% payment
48-hour free cancellation with 30-day advance booking
Meeting at the pier at 4 pm, on board the Noorderlicht in the Alta harbour.
Welcome aperitif with the Captain and the crew. Safety briefing, logistic briefing, then sailing! Dinner and night on board.
Every day ski touring and sailing.
We will navigate the maze of islands and fjords between Alta and Tromsø following the best route depending on the sea and the mountain conditions. The course will be decided by the Captain with the suggestions and the requests of the Mountain Guides in order to have the best ski days possible.
Disembark in the morning (according to the clients flights) in Tromsø and travel to the airport.
Polar bears present hazards, so I will carry deterrents and firearms as a safety measure.
If you would like to participate in the pre-trip skiing portion based out of Longyearbyen, please let me know so I can plan accordingly.
The necessary items include, but are not limited to: • Backpack (30-40 liters) • Wool or synthetic socks, bottoms, and tops • Base-layer tops and bottoms • Waterproof shell (top and bottom) • Insulated tops and bottoms (including warm hat) • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.) • Two pair of gloves (light and insulated) • Avalanche safety gear (beacon, shovel, and probe) • Ski equipment (boots, skins, poles, skis, etc.) • Mountaineering equipment (crampons, harness, helmet, ice axe, carabiners, slings, etc.) • Goggles • First aid kid • Lunch container • Headlamp • Personal clothes for the boat • Personal toiletries and medications (as necessary) • Duffle bag for personal items The guide / boat will provide: • Duvet • Pillows • Ropes for glaciers • Emergency tarp and toboggan • Altimeter • Map, compass, and GPS • Radio and satellite phone
Please contact me for a complete list of necessary equipment.
Wool or synthetic socks and liner socks Long underwear top – synthetic or wool Light fleece or wool sweater Wind shell – nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type jacket Waterproof breathable jacket Warm insulated jacket – down or synthetic Long underwear bottoms – synthetic or wool Multipurpose stretch nylon or ‘Schoeller’ type pants Waterproof breathable pants Warm hat – wool or synthetic Brimmed cap for sun protection Face warmer – scarf, neck tube or balaclava (optional) Light gloves – wool, synthetic or leather Insulated gloves or mitts with waterproof outer shell Spare gloves or mitts Handkerchief for blocking the sun (optional) Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares) Shovel Probe (2.4m or longer preferred) Skis or split board Ski strap Ski or snowboard boots Poles Climbing skins Skin wax (or a simple wax candle) — pre-treat your skins ahead of time and bring extra skin wax. Spray-on or liquid wax is a great idea too for field treatments. Ski crampons (mandatory) Boot crampons and lightweight ice axe (optional; don’t bring these if you don’t have them or don’t like steep skiing) Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup Ski helmet Ski scraper Ski pack (30-40 litres) Sunglasses (both orange and dark lenses help a lot for travel in all conditions) Goggles (orange lenses) Sunscreen and lip cream (SPF 30+) Head lamp with good batteries Insulated water bottle or thermos (1-2 L) Lunch bag or container Personal blister kit (i.e: Leukotape-P and Compeed, blister pads). Be sure to pre-tape problem spots on your feet with Leukotape, prevention is the best medicine! Tincture of Benzoin (see this how-to for an explanation) or a medical product by 3M called Cavilon — these products help the Leukotape stick for the whole week if necessary. Pocket knife (optional) Camera (optional) Binoculars (optional) Utility cord for hanging stuff to dry (helps if you want to hang personal items in your cabin) Harness – fitted for over your ski clothing Locking carabiners (x2) Non-locking carabiners (x2) Prussik cord – 5m x 6mm (optional) Sewn sling – 120cm (optional) Small soft-sided duffle bag (30-50 L) to contain your clothes in your berth Shoes Winter boots for wearing around town Micro-spikes — especially the early season (late April / early May) trips as melt-freeze cycles can create very slippery conditions in the town Slippers or Crocs, etc. Comfortable clothing Personal medications and toiletries (including small-sized soap and shampoo) Ear plugs Reading material Chargers & adapters for electronic devices (normal AC power is available as 220V Euro plug) Norwegian cash in NOK or Euros to pay for your beer tab, souvenirs, and tips/gratuities (for both guiding staff and boat crew) Altimeter Map and compass GPS Snow study kit Snow and/or bush saw First aid kit Emergency tarp Emergency toboggan Group repair kit Radio & satellite phone Ropes for glacier travel
Guiding has been my lifelong passion. I have lived in the Rocky Mountains for most of my life, guiding since 1995.
My main focus these days is on running winter ski touring trips at the best heli-accessed ski lodges in British Columbia. This winter I'll be at Selkirk Lodge, Burnie Glacier Chalet, Mount Carlyle Lodge, and Sunrise Lodge -- each lodge providing a very different experience for my guests. While I do like to return, year after year, to my favourite lodges (like Burnie Glacier) I also like to provide new and interesting options for my clients.
When ski season ends here in Western Canada and the rest of my colleagues are putting away their skis for the summer, I will be once again heading to Svalbard in the Arctic for another Ski and Sail trip in May. This is the only trip I still have openings for now -- maybe you would like to join me there?
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ACMG | UIAGM | IFMGA
The Bow-Yoho Traverse April 1 to April 7, 2019. Tom, the guides (Mel and Ken) and an assistant (John) led this trip with care, kindness, humour and expertise. When conditions required it, we were able to form 2 or 3 groups according to abilities and motivation. That was fabulous. Staying the first night in Field with supper and breakfast provided is a great way to begin the trip. The shuttle at the start and at the end was well-planned. When I signed up for the trip I had concerns about the quality of the food. Tom reassured me. He was right. Michelle Heerchop's 'Touch of Love" provided the food. It was varied, tasty and nutritious. I am very very pleased that I was able to be part of this trip. I highly recommend Tom's Sawback Alpine Adventures.
Went to Burnie Chalet near Smithers BC with Sawback Alpine Adventures in April 2019. Had an amazing ski week in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape. The logistics, the accommodations, the food, the people and the skiing were all outstanding. One of my best touring trips ever. I highly recommend Sawback and Tom Wolfe.
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