FAQ about Ski & Sail
For most people, the concept of ski and sail is something they haven’t heard of before, and very few have been on a sailing trip in winter. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many have lots of questions when considering joining a Ski & Sail trip instead of the annual trips to the Alps and Hemsedal.
Written by Linda Øverli Nilsen, Jack-of-All-Trades
What is Ski & Sail, really?
For us, Ski & Sail is primarily the key to ultimate freedom to optimize the time we have for skiing. Here you can read more about the concept and why we love Ski & Sail.
Ski & Sail is a trip concept where we sail to the foot of the mountain and start the ski tour at the water’s edge. With the boat, we can move from place to place, choosing slopes and areas based on weather and snow conditions.
Ski & Sail is something Italian and French skiers have done in Norway since the 90s, and Norwegians have started to discover the joys of it. At SeilNorge, we’ve been organizing Ski & Sail trips in Helgeland, Steigen, Lofoten, Lyngen, and Finnmark for many years, and we dare say we know the best places.
FAQ Ski & Sail
What is the skill level of skiing and the people who sign up for Ski & Sail trips?
We have participants at all levels. From professional skiers to those with less experience. Some of our trips require a higher skill level in skiing than others. You can read more about this on each trip’s details. But on trips like Ski & Sail during Easter, where we sail several boats together, we have a good mix of skill levels among participants, and we can group participants according to their levels and preferences.
How is sailing in winter?
If it wasn’t cool, we wouldn’t do it! It sounds more extreme than it often is. Sailing under the Northern Lights, waking up to powder on the deck, and using the sea in this way is something we’d love to share with more people. Sailing-wise, we need to be prepared for both calm winds and sailing in harsh weather, but we also experience a lot of good weather with nice sailing winds.
Do I need to know how to sail?
No, many of our participants have little or no sailing experience before. Since we consider our trips as sailing courses or at least a good introduction to sailing, we don’t require any prior knowledge.
If you’re a beginner in sailing, we aim to make you a sailor as quickly as possible, and if you’re experienced, you’ll quickly get responsibilities and bigger challenges. All participants actively engage in sailing, cooking, and managing the boat. This way, you learn a lot about sailing on a trip with us.
Can I join even if I snowboard?
Yes, but we recommend using a splitboard with skins. Snowshoes can also work fine, especially in the Lofoten area, where there’s a short distance before the ascent starts.
How much sailing and skiing do we do?
In our ski and sail trips, skiing is the focus. We use the sailboat as our mobile base and sail between each mountain. The amount of sailing depends on how we plan the route. But on average, we sail a few hours each day, mainly after the day’s ski tour. On trips that go back and forth between Lyngen and Finnmark, there’s a bit more sailing due to greater distances.
Do we have a ski guide?
On all our trips, we have an experienced ski guide on each boat. We collaborate with various guides and guiding companies in Norway and abroad. The common factor is that they are excellent people with experience, education, and certification in guiding and avalanche safety. We use guides who are familiar with the area, and some even live in the heart of the mountains.
Will I get seasick?
This varies greatly from person to person. Have you been seasick before? Do you get seasick easily? From our experience through many years of ski and sail trips, our general idea is that this is rarely a problem. And if someone feels a bit queasy, it often passes quickly. We also have good experience in preventing seasickness. If you’re unsure, you can also bring ‘seabands’ or seasickness tablets.
How should I dress for winter sailing on Ski & Sail trips?
If you’re already a skier, having thermal underwear, slightly thicker wool or fleece layers, shell clothing, and a down jacket will get you far. Additionally, you’ll need an outer waterproof layer that can withstand some spray, like the oilskin, which you can rent from us. Check prices and rent oilskin from SeilNorge here.
Moreover, it’s a good idea to have a pair of good boots that should be 2-3 sizes larger than your regular size to accommodate good woolen insoles and socks inside. We use many different types, but we have a fondness for Rappala boots that are light and sturdy.
Our principle is to use what you already have and not buy new equipment the first time you participate. However, if this is something you plan to do multiple times, we recommend investing in more specialized gear. Our crew often uses sailing gear from Helly Hansen.
Can I rent sailing equipment from you?
With us, you can rent our most commonly used winter sailing clothing, the oilskin. It’s robust rain gear originally made for fishermen 100 years ago, and they still actively use it. So do we. Oilskin keeps us warm and dry, suitable for the rough weather of Northern Norway. Check prices and rent oilskin here.
Can I rent ski and touring equipment from you?
We don’t rent out ski equipment, but we can refer you to places where you can rent ski equipment in Lofoten and Tromsø.
Are the boats cold?
We have good diesel heaters and dehumidifiers on board. The perception of what’s cold is a bit relative. But if you’re a true landlubber, you’ll quickly get used to slightly higher humidity than what you’d find in a wood-heated cabin.
How cold is it outside?
Cold is subjective, and what feels cold varies from person to person. Most people probably won’t find the season we have for Ski & Sail trips as cold since it’s approaching spring, and temperatures hover around freezing. However, we recommend good sailing gear, like oilskins.
Will my clothes dry on board?
There’s obviously more moisture at sea than on land, and equipment is often damp after a long day out skiing. We have facilities for drying boots and clothes on our boats.
Can I book a private boat for me and my friends?
Yes, you can. We also arrange friend trips, trips for companies and more. You can choose to rent just the boat or the boat with a skipper. We can also create a program for you and provide guidance in planning if desired. We even have ski guides and a chef available if you wish.
Will we see the Northern Lights?
There’s a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights on our winter voyages, especially early in the season. To catch the Northern Lights, the skies must be clear, cold, and crisp.