Lyngen Alps, Norway
Every year in March-April we spend a few weeks ski touring in the Lyngen Alps in northern Norway. We love the calm solitude and unexploated nature where you climb peaks surrounded by the sea on all sides. There are no lifts, we reach all the summits we want to ski by skinning or climbing on foot. With the number of peaks to ski and the very few mountain guides operating there, crowds are nonexistent. The late winter and early spring in northern Norway usually offers excellent snow conditions, variable weather, and frequent chance to admire the mystic beauty of Northern Lights at night. It is a very unique location for ski mountaineering.
The Lyngen Alps and its islands offers an amazing ski terrain, typically 1000 – 1400m vertical of skiing from the summits back down to the sea. The peaks are perfectly shaped for skiing; some look like hand made ski slopes on smooth glaciers, and others offer more technical skiing down winding gullies and steep couloirs. The Lyngen area is an enormous playground for all levels of off-piste skiers and ski mountaineers. Our daily decisions of ski descents and which summits to climb are based on group ability, avalanche safety and snow conditions.
Living for 6 days on a sail boat, docking in to a new harbour every night after skiing, we travel to a new island or peninsula every day. The Lyngen Alps – Ski and Sail week is a full-time adventure. See the photo gallery from our Ski & Sail expedition, Lyngen Alps 2008. Traveling by boat, we also have the chance to spot various species of whales and catch our own fish for dinner.
The cheaper and more spacious option for accommodation is to stay in the seaside house in Lyngsided. There is a great system of roads along all coastlines, including the islands, from where we can start our ski mountaineering days.
For ski touring, the Lyngen Alps are most pleasant to visit from mid March to 1st week of May, when the days are long and the snow cover is good.
Thanks to the Gulf stream the fjords never freezes and temperatures stays mild at sea level (zero to -5 degree Celsius wintertime), but it can be considerably colder on the mountains. Precipitation is plentiful along the cost line throughout the winter. In the end of March the snow is typically powdery and later on, in late April, you get good chances to ski creamy corn snow. In early April the Northern Lights are still regularly vibrant at night. By mid-May Lyngen gets the midnight sun, but then the skiing season is really coming to an end.
If you plan a trip to Lyngen, we recommend you to plan ahead. We usually fix our dates for these trips already during the summer in order to get the best accommodation available.
This year we combined our stay in Lyngen with a trip inland to northern Sweden.
Abisko town is located close to the Riksgränsen and Björkliden ski resorts, 400km north of the arctic circle. Skiers are hearty welcomed at the local lodge Abisko Mountainlodge, which serves as our base for ski touring and heli skiing adventures.
This high alpine environment greets you with barking of dogs, nature-loving people, and also here the Northern Lights shines at night. In the vast area of skiable peaks (including Kebnekaise Swedens highest summit) many are reached by helicopter, some on skins from the road or mountain huts. On a day of ski touring you might cross the paths of reindeers and encounter elks and grouse. This week we even spotted a wolverine!
If a day does not allow the heli to fly, alternative activities are tours with snowmobiles or dog sleighs.
Abisko is a remote, genuine place that offers a very different skiing experience from what we are used to in the European Alps.