Ski and Sail in Svalbard, Norway in 2019!
An unparalleled skiing expedition is yours to be had in May of 2019. Don’t believe us? Ski the rugged mountains of Spitsbergen, Norway, an inhabited (barely) island in the Svalbard archipelago. At a latitude of 79-80º, amidst sixty other islands in the archipelago, there’s not much between you and the North Pole. And the skiing is out of this world. There are few places to ski so remote and wild. Oh, yeah, check out the wildlife too while enjoying world class skiing. Where else can you ski in the midnight sun?
Ski from a sailboat!
Our expedition’s base is a comfortable and spacious two-masted, gaff-rigged sailing yacht. Yup, it’s a mouthful. She’s a hale ship, she’s the S/V Noorderlicht (Dutch for Northern Lights). On the S/V Noorderlicht we can sail to and sample the best ski spots on the west coast of Spitsbergen. Given the long days in spring, there’s no rush: the midnight sun provides amazingly soft light that makes ski touring so unique this far north.
Every day after lifting anchor, our goal is to ski. Days on the backcountry usually last from 5 – 9 hours. With abundant nature, there is plenty to beware. Because we’ll be amongst polar bears, guides carry bear-deterrents and firearms during touring days.
For our guests who want to spend more time exploring the archipelago, we’ve included an optional three day, pre-trip extension to accommodate ski tours and/or snowmobile tours based in Longyearbyen, the main town of Spitsbergen. At 870 km to the North Pole, Longyearbyen is the northernmost town in the world, with about 2000 inhabitants. There several hotels, a town center with bars, restaurants, shops and a great arctic history museum. We can put on our skis at the hotel and explore nearby peaks and glaciers. It’s all right there.
Svalbard Ski and Sail Logistics
This year’s Ski & Sail – Svalbard trip starts in Longyearbyen on Svalbard. There are at least 3 flights daily to Longyearbyen from Oslo, Norway.
If you choose to participate in the sailing portion of this trip, you must arrive in Longyearbyen on Wednesday, May 22nd, at the latest. We’ll be boarding the boat at 4:00pm.
There’s also an option of three additional days of skiing from May 20-22. If you arrive in Longyearbyen on May 19th, you can participate in all three pre-sail ski tours, but you feel free to arrive later,if you like. Please let us know your intentions so we can take care of hotel bookings and any other arrangements needed.
When you book your return flight, it’s best to fly a morning or mid-day flight from Longyearbyen on Wednesday, May 29th.
- Included: 7 night yacht rental with crew, harbour fees, and permit fees; breakfast and multi-course dinners on board; UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides.
- Pre-trip extension includes: 3 additional days of town based ski touring and excursions, 3x Hotel B&B in Longyearbyen. Please note there is no cost for the extension--just come ski with us and acclimate!
- Not included: Air travel, alcoholic beverages, lunches and dinners in Longyearbyen, and the hotel in Oslo en route.
We’re an adventure loving, rock climbing, tech company that loves all things outdoors-y. Why spend days looking for the right guide and adrenaline rush, when we can (and already did) do it for you? Want a serious guide for a challenging backcountry tour? We know a bunch. How about a guide to show you around the Alps? Check. Maybe your kids want to ski and won’t stop going on about it until you book them a trip. Yes, we know guides who are great for beginners, too. Oh, yeah, every guide we know prioritizes SAFETY and FUN. Book with 57hours, we’ve done your work for you, you’re welcome.
Rob and his family moved to Colorado in 1976, when Denver was sleepy and the term "skier traffic" didn't exist. He and his twin brother, Pete, learned to ski by following the fast guys on the hill and luckily their high school offered an outdoor-ed class which taught them the basics of rock climbing. Despite the protestations of their parents, the pair climbed throughout Colorado in high school and college (CU-Boulder, where Rob earned a BA in environmental conservation).
Rob blew his 20s racing bicycles, but then began apprenticing as a guide with Markus Beck's guide service, Alpine World Ascents, in 2004. Markus shepherded Rob through his beginning courses at the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and all three courses of the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) curriculum. In September 2014, after a decade of courses, an intense apprenticeship, and a bunch of fun, Rob passed his final AMGA exam, having bunched all three (ski, rock, and alpine) into a chaotic seven-month period -- phew! Rob is the 97th American to have earned his international certification with the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA).
He speaks French and Italian and is a freelance writer and the author of Holy Spokes: a Biking Bible for Everyone. Rob lives in Boulder with his ever-understanding wife, Rebecca, and their identical twin boys, Luca and Dominic.
Originally from Ontario, Tom found his way to the Canadian Rockies in the late 80s and has been climbing and skiing hard there ever since. His passion for the mountains also lured him into the guiding profession and he passed his last exam in 2010 to become a fully certified Mountain Guide (ACMG / IFMGA). Tom, however, is more resourceful than that: He works part of his time as a computer consultant and network administrator, which only remotely has anything to do with his academic training as a school teacher.
Aside from OnTop, Tom also works for Last Frontier Heliskiing and Outward Bound, where he has countless years of experience leading wilderness youth courses in the Rockies.
Tom speaks also German and lives with his wife and two children in Canmore AB.