April to July
Your adventure begins in Longyearbyen, Norway
Intermediate to advanced
Backcountry skiing at the edge of the Arctic Circle!
Get ready for wandering polar bears, untracked summits jutting into the cobalt sky, and 1000 m corn runs that end in the deep-blue sea — Svalbard rewards the adventure skier with a surprise every day. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime destination, especially on a ski and sail expedition. Guests will arrive in the village of Longyearbyen via a short flight from Oslo. Even sitting at 79 degrees north at the edge of the Arctic Circle, Longyearbyen offers excellent restaurants, beautiful shops, and hidden nightlife. Just outside of town, dog teams take intrepid tourists onto the ice, where Arctic fox hunt mice and polar bears try to surprise the sleeping seals. Committed ski-tourers will find beautiful runs within sight of town, under 24 hours of daylight. Ski and ride in confidence with fully-certified IFMGA mountain guides Tom Wolfe and Rob Coppolillo.
Book This Adventure
Ski and Sail Under the Midnight Sun in Svalbard
After some touring and rest in Longyearbyen, join Rob, Tom, the boat crew and chef, and board the 150-foot Noorderlicht, a two-masted gaff-rigged sailing yacht. Captain Floriss and his crew know which fjords offer sensational skiing, how to get there, where to anchor, and how to show the gang a good time. You will be ski touring every day after lifting anchors in Longyearbyen. Skiing days last from 5 – 9 hours. All in all, an amazing adventure and a trip of a lifetime!
Pre-Trip 3-Day Extension:
- After your arrival at the airport in Longyearbyen from Oslo, your guides will transfer you to the hotel. Spend the day exploring the town and Polarmuseum, and learn about the history of Svalbard.
- Spend your second day ski touring close to town and return to the hotel.
- Your third day will be spent discovering the area around Longyearbyen on skis or try out a snowmobile tour to the town of Barensburg, a small Russian mining town!
Svalbard Ski and Sail 8-Day Adventure:
- If this is your fourth day in Longyearbyen, take another shorter ski touring trip from town or a visit to an ice cave. If not, after arrival at the airport in Longyearbyen from Oslo, your guides will transfer you to the hotel. Around 4 pm, board the yacht and go through the safety briefing with your group and guides. The departure is usually around 6 pm.
Days 2 to 7:
- It usually takes only one hour to sail in the Isfjord to the first ski tour. From there, you will be sailing along the West Coast of Spitzbergen to sample the best ski touring and peak ascent the group of islands. In May and June the sun shines for 24 hours in Svalbard, which leaves a lot of flexibility for departures. Discover harbours like Ymerbukta or visit the small pubs nestled in industrial arctic harbour towns north of 79°.
- Gradual, scenic climbs give way to long, beautiful runs back to the water. And best of all, the warm, comfortable boat awaits tired skiers at the end of the day. After each day of skiing, return from the shoreline by a Zodiac motor boat back to the yacht, with the smell of delicious dinner welcoming you.
- Finish off your day on the deck with a glass of wine, enjoying the contrast of the sea and the magnificent mountainscape with the everlasting sun above the horizon. Arrival back in Longyearbyen is usually around 4 pm. Enjoy your last evening and join your group for a farewell dinner on the boat.
- Bid farewell to the yacht and crew in the morning after breakfast and head back to the airport.
Guides we recommend
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide
Rob is a AMGA/IFMGA guide who runs ski and climbing trips all over the world — from the Rockies to the Dolomites. We tour at least once a year with him because he always brings out the best in us wherever we go and whatever the objective. Rob is the owner of Vetta Mountain Guides, based out of Boulder, Colorado.
IFMGA/ACMG Certified Guide
IFMGA/ACMG Certified Guide · 26 years of experience
Vetta Mountain GuidesVetta Mountain Guides
Vetta Mountain Guides
Sawback Alpine AdventuresSawback Alpine Adventures
Sawback Alpine Adventures
Tom Wolfe coordinated a fabulous ski and sail trip to Svalbard. It was an amazing trip that took into consideration the goals and capabilities of each of the guests, while keeping safety top of mind. Tom is not only a professional guide, he’s a really nice guy too. I look forward to skiing with him (and the other guides) again in the future.
Tom Wolfe and Svalbard, Norwegian Arctic on the Noorderlicht. I’ve done a few great trips with Tom over the years so when he emailed a year ago and asked if I wanted to go to the Arctic and ski from a steel hulled yacht I said yes without thinking… Good call. Svalbard was mind-boggling. I had expectations but it beat them. Getting into the zodiac everyday and skiing was amazing. Sea ice, glaciers, seals, walruses, beluga whales and polar bears. Huge huge glaciers, peaks as far as the eye can see. Just amazing scenery. We always enjoy skiing with Tom, classic Canadian mountain guide, mellow but fully on top of snow safety and daily plans for good skiing and tours. One of the best….. As an aside Phil Wickens who was the expedition leader from the boat was also fantastic and a wealth of knowledge – Arctic history, geology, flora and fauna and a very humble but extremely capable mountaineer and skier. Save your pennies and sign up for 2020 – you won’t regret it…..
I went on two trips with Tom last winter: to Carlyle Lodge in the interior of BC and to Svalbard. The skiing and snow conditions at Carlyle were great and Svalbard was definitely the experience of a lifetime in terms of the terrain, scenery and wildlife. It totally exceeded my expectations. Tom has a knack for picking great destinations and putting together fun, well organized trips.
My family and I had the adventure of a lifetime. It was an incredible experience and Sawback did an excellent job. We would highly recommend the trip and Tom to everyone.
Things you need to know
Covid measures in Svalbard
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Svalbard, please refer to Visit Svalbard.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- Experienced, certified ski guides with extensive knowledge of the area
- Eight days of backcountry ski touring and sailing
- Seven-night yacht rental with crew (harbour fees and permit fees)
- Breakfast and multi-course dinners on board, lunch supplies
For 2022 dates, book before Sept 2021 and enjoy the pre-trip extension at no additional cost. The three-day extension includes:
- 3 additional days of town based ski touring and excursions
- 2x hotel B&B in Longyearbyen
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Trip insurance
- Air travel
- Alcoholic beverages
- Dinners in Longyearbyen
- Hotel in Oslo en route
How fit do I need to be?
This adventure is ideal for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers. Every day, you will travel 10-20km, with tour lengths ranging from 1100-1500m+. All participants should feel comfortable on black level resort runs as you will be skiing on glaciated terrain with variable snow conditions.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
Due to the terrain, location and length of tour, this adventure is for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers. If you’re just starting out, we recommend heading out for some intro touring with a guide and gaining some backcountry experience.
What equipment do I need to bring?
- 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)
Snow Safety Equipment
- Avalanche beacon with good batteries (and spares)
- Probe (2.4m or longer preferred)
- Skis or split board
- Ski strap
- Ski or snowboard boots
- Climbing skins
- Skin wax (or a candle)
- Ski crampons — mandatory
- Binding repair kit to fix your personal travel setup
- Ski helmet — optional
- 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/Second Skin blister pads)
- Pocket knife — optional
- Camera — optional
- Binoculars — optional
Glacier Gear list
- Harness — fitted for over your ski clothing
- Locking carabiners (x2)
- Non-locking carabiners (x2)
- Prussik cord (5m x 6mm) —optional
- Sewn sling (120cm) — optional
- Lightweight ice axe — optional, don’t bring if you don’t have one or don’t like steep skiing
If you have any questions regarding the equipment list, feel free to contact us prior to booking.
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe can be rented from Sport Centeret Svalbard
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Sport Centeret Svalbard
Ski rental locations are in Longyearbyen and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
What can I expect from skiing with a guide?
A certified ski guide will take all of the guesswork out of your time in the backcountry. From tour planning to route selection, terrain management, avalanche safety, and gear knowledge, your guide’s expertise and backcountry experience will ensure you have an unforgettable ski touring adventure.
It doesn’t matter your skill level, whether you’ve never backcountry skied or you’re seasoned on the slopes, skiing with a guide has its advantages. Your techniques will sharpen, you’ll learn how to navigate terrain safely, make smart decisions, and most of all, you’ll remain safe in unfamiliar terrain.
Why should I book with 57hours?
With us, it’s all play and no work for you! 57hours is an open platform that connects you with trained and certified outdoor adventure professionals all over the world. Using our tech-savvy, we make it super easy to find and book adventures worth tackling, with guides worth booking, all gathered from the first-hand experiences of the locals who adventure in these amazing locations.
What about group sizes and pricing?
For this adventure, the max number of participants is 17. You can join this adventure on your own or in bigger groups until all the spots are taken.
All pricing is per person. A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The balance of payment is due February 1, 2022.
What is the minimum age requirement?
- Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this ski tour adventure.
- Minors may be permitted to join the tour on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
What about bad weather?
Mitigating avalanche risk is paramount for any excursion in the backcountry — that’s why it’s best to tour with a guide! Rest assured, your guide will set objectives that are attainable for the weather conditions on that particular day. Of course, inclement weather can always get in the way of backcountry skiing, but your guide will know the best course of action to take if the weather takes a turn.
On the rare occasion of truly bad weather, your guide will present you with suitable, safe alternatives. The most common practice is to move to a nearby location if it exists, or to reschedule your backcountry ski tour to a more favorable day.
If backcountry skiing is not possible on your scheduled day and no options presented are viable, you will be issued a full refund.
Do I need an insurance policy?
We highly recommended that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more.
As we’ve recently seen, travel plans can be abruptly halted, so it’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance that covers cancelled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans. For peace of mind, we suggest you consider both options of insurance.
If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!
With 57hours, you benefit from both our own cancellation policy as well as that of the individual guiding service that delivers your adventure. All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure, but rest assured that our own cancellation policy will work on top of what is provided by your guide.
For this adventure, 57hours offers a Expedition Cancellation Policy, which states:
If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to one hundred twenty (120) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund. For cancellations ninety (90) to one hundred nineteen(119) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking. For cancellations seventy five (75) to eighty nine (89) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount paid when Booking. After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
Note: Please note that all payments are absolutely non-refundable. Therefore we strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance.
For more information on terms and conditions, please visit our Terms of Service page.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Svalbard, most people fly into Longyearbyen, the largest city on the Norwegian archipelago where your adventure begins. There are daily flights to Longyearbyen from Oslo, Norway, but we encourage you to book early. Norwegian Air flies from Oslo, while SAS arrives from Stockholm.
Your guide will transfer you from the airport to your accommodation. During the evening you will have a briefing with your guides and find out the rest of the details.