NEW Ski & Sail-trip: Discover West Finnmark’s untouched archipelago!

Ski & Sail Western Finnmark
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Spring in the far north is a wonderful time. The sun is high in the sky almost around the clock, the mountains sparkle with their snow-covered peaks and the sea shines in its deep blue! Have you been to all the usual ski destinations, gone Haute Routes to the point of boredom and think there are no more ski destinations left to discover in this world? Then you’ve come to the right place! We are embarking on even more desolate and spectacular Ski & Sail adventures, and our novelty of the year goes to the archipelago in Western Finnmark! We start skiing at the beach and go touring in world-class alpine mountains. With a sea view you hardly find anywhere else in the world. And most of the time we are all by ourselves!

From Alta, to the mountains and back

This trip is dedicated to the alpine and deserted islands in Western Finnmark, the bramble-clad peaks, the quiet anchorages, national parks, animal and bird life and, not least, untouched spring snow. The trip starts and ends in Alta, and is among our more advanced Ski & Sail tours. Here we sail between alpine peaks towering over 1000 meters, steep gullies, large mountain sides and deep valleys. Seiland, Stjernøya, Sørøya, Øksfjordhalvøya and Altafjorden are the areas we will explore. These are some of the northernmost mountains in Norway and Europe and we meet few other people. On this trip, we will sail many nautical miles and ski many meters of altitude. We can think about being tired and tired when we get home!

Untouched snow in wild Finnmark

On this trip, we want to get challenged! In this area we have so many mountains around us that we don’t know where to start… We take advantage of the long, bright evenings here in the north, and Ski & Sail in the mornings and evenings. In April and May, the snow can often be more stable and we can find dry snow towards the peaks. Though this part of the season often offers more spring snow. Timed right with the sun, we can ski down on perfect slush! And if conditions permit, we can challenge ourselves on steeper terrain.

Life on board at Ski & Sail

We arrange all our Ski & Sail trips with a skipper and a ski guide per boat. We plan to go skiing every day, but of course according to weather and conditions. If it’s windy and snowing one day, and the mountains are not tempting, we hoist sails and leave behind some of the nautical miles we’re going to cover. If someone wants a break day during the trip, that is completely allowed! After ski touring and summit climbs during the day, we spend the afternoon sailing to the next port or anchorage and prepare for a new peak for the next day.

With open groups onboard

On most of our Ski & Sail trips, we sail two or more boats in tandem, depending on the number of people registered. With several boats, we try to divide into boat teams and ski groups according to skill level, wishes and prior experience. We also often set up two different trips of different lengths per skiing day. So you can choose whether you want to go on the long or short trip that day. With open groups onboard, there will of course be different experience levels in each group, but we quickly become a good team onboard and we are all flexible!

 

A little less ambitious?

This trip is one of our more advanced Ski & Sail trips. If you are less experienced with summit hiking and skiing, we recommend that you check out our tours in Lyngen or Lofoten:

  1. Ski & Sail Lyngen, 5 days
  2. Ski & Sail Lyngen, 7 days
  3. Ski & Sail Lofoten, 5 days

 

Blog articles

Check our blog articles from Ski & Sail trips.

Ski & Sail from Alta to Tromsø was a raw experience in every way. The combination of sailing and summit tour gave us the opportunity to experience places we would not have had access to otherwise, and it is a very special feeling to go from fjord to mountain in deserted places without other people nearby.

Trond T, Ski & Sail Lyngen and Finnmark

Itinerary

Day 1: Ship o'hoi - we meet and cast off

Welcome on board! We meet at the dock in Alta at 16:00, get settled into the boat and get to know each other. Before we hoist sails, we familiarize ourselves with the boat and go through safety routines onboard. Before it gets too late in the evening, we cast off and sail a short distance to find a nice secluded anchorage for the night.

Day 2-3: Touring in the fjords around Øksfjordjøkelen

The large peninsula around the Øksfjord glacier is a rather inaccessible eldorado for summit ski tours, and by boat we can actually access this terrain. This and the next day we will enjoy the fjords and mountains here, maybe we will also get up on the glacier. If the skipper is in a good mood, she might as well drop you off in one fjord and pick you up in the next!

Day 4-5: Seiland National Park and Stjernøya

Seiland is a fantastically exciting adventure island. Here, high peaks, deep valleys and precipitous peaks prevail. There are almost no buildings on the entire island, only reindeer grazing in the summer. This is also a national park with the distinctive nature and landscape of the Finnmark coast well preserved. We play around Seiland and Stjernøya these days, before returning to Alta for the last evening.

Day 6: Thank you for this time in Alta!

The adventure is over for this time. We pack, wash and clean our way out of the boat by 10:00 this last morning at the latest. Thank you for a wonderful experience, and welcome again next time!

Changes to the program

The program is an indication of what the days will look like. Though it might change according to weather and snow conditions. We start each day with a good breakfast and pack lunch before we go out ski touring. Some days we eat dinner straight after skiing. Other days we just eat a little when we get down to the boat again, and sail further before we cook a later dinner. Some days we put in time to fish, or time to look around. Should the weather be really bad for skiing in the mountains, we do a sailing day or something else fun instead!

What is included?

  • A trip experience with sailboat – experienced skipper and guide with local knowledge on board
  • Guided backcountry skiing trips every day
  • Small groups – 6 participants per ski guide
  • All food you eat on board during the trip
  • Our Comfort Package which consists of accommodation onboard in a shared double cabin (bunk or double bed) with a ready-made bed (warm and nice duvets and pillows!)
  • An environmentally friendly, local, sustainable, unique, exotic and exclusive Norwegian adventure holiday
  • A shared experience and friendship with like-minded adventurers from around the world
  • A lot of time outdoors – raw and honest nature experiences
  • Use of our shared equipment: dinghies, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc. when possible
  • All boat-related costs such as diesel, propane and harbor fees
  • Personal safety equipment; Helly Hansen inflatable lifejacket
  • Instruction, advice, guidance and practical training in boating and sailing

What is not included?

  • Travel to and from the start/end location
  • Ski and avalanche equipment (beacon, shovel, probe)
  • Personal goodies for the evening and hiking snacks for excursions on land
  • Optional meals at a cafes/restaurants during the trip
  • Entrance to galleries, museums, or other alternative activities that you/we may come up with
  • Rental of equipment, transport or activities from external operators if you want to do things outside the program
  • Drinks such as wine, beer or exclusive apple juice and other luxuries (yes, we drink beer and wine on board, bring your own)
  • Travel insurance and/or cancellation insurance – (up to you, but recommended!)

Important info

Departure and arrival

This trip start and ends in Alta.

You find more information on travel, equipment and other tips under Practical info.

Deposit and payment

You only pay a deposit (NOK 6000) upon registration, the remainder of the payment is due 60 days prior to departure.

Safety and risk onboard

We are all about people, and so we also take safety very seriously. On our trips we practice sail- and boat handling also for safety, and we spend time going through various situations that can arise at sea, how to handle them and how to avoid them.

Onboard a boat everyone must know what to do in critical situations and in the event of an emergency. Our philosophy is that partaking and participation builds safety. It is important for the safety of the whole boat that you are a participant onboard, not just a passenger.

Therefore all our trips are to be considered sailing courses in addition to being great  holidays and adventures: You are trained to make up the crew onboard and so we build a capable team onboard.

Feel free to contact us for a chat about safety and risk on our adventures.

Level of the trip

No sailing experience? No problem! Our sailing adventures welcome both novices and seasoned sailors for an inclusive and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re new to sailing or a salty sea dog, our trips cater to all levels.

We aim to transform beginners into sailors quickly while offering experienced participants greater responsibilities and challenges. Our mainland sailing journeys involve 44-50 feet boats navigating coastal and protected waters, occasionally crossing open stretches for excitement. Route adjustments based on weather and conditions ensure a safe and adaptable voyage.

Trips are not overly strenuous; with rotating positions, participants can balance sailing and relaxation. Active engagement minimizes seasickness, and if it occurs, it passes swiftly. Weather, however, is unpredictable, with the potential for stronger winds and various conditions in northern Norway and the Arctic, making each trip a true sailing adventure. Be prepared for calm winds and rough weather—embracing the elements for an unforgettable experience.

What we expect from you

Our trips require a little effort from you who are joining – everyone on board must be ready to contribute and to give of themselves also socially; the more you open up, share and interest yourself in the others onboard, the more enjoyable it gets. 

When you’re sailing with us you are invited to take part in the running of the ship and all that comes with it. You will be sailing, docking, navigating, looking out for whales and icebergs, but also making food, serving others, doing dishes and helping clean the boat during the trip, and contributing in other ways when needed. Onboard we are all in the same boat and when all help out, the ship is most happy. 

Our experience is that doing things together with others out in nature, and not least cooperating and doing activities with new people and different personalities than you might have around you normally, is what creates the best, most interesting and memorable moments and stories:)

Equipment and packing

As with all activities, there is plenty of special equipment and clothing for sailing. If you don’t have any of this, you will get very far with normal hiking/outdoor equipment. You do not need to buy a lot of new equipment to join our trips. Use what you have, borrow what you need from a friend, purchase used equipment, and if you have to invest in new equipment – buy quality items that will last! What you need is something waterproof and windproof on the outside, and layered warm clothing underneath.

Some jackets may not be waterproof “enough”, or might not perform too well in salt water, so you can consider a set of oilskin for the wettest days (available for rent or purchase onboard). A pair of higher rubber boots for disembarking from the dinghy is very good to have, as well as indoor shoes below deck. Out at sea and in the Arctic it can be cold even in summer, so bring both swimwear and plenty of warm clothes. Well before departure, we will send you a detailed recommended packing list.

Read more and see our packing tips here:

PS: In a sailboat, you pack in a bag or sack, not in a rigid suitcase. 🙂

Food & cooking onboard

On our trips, you will be part of the crew onboard and get the chance to participate in all tasks for the operation of the boat. This includes cooking and preparing food – everyone take turns in the galley! Skippers and crew assist as much as they can along the way.

We have great menus with tasty, healthy and “boat-friendly” food, and for each trip we order provisions for all meals onboard. If you have allergies or preferences, let us know in the registration form and we will take that into account as best as we can. You are also most welcome to bring any special food or drink with you. Why not bring some specialities from your country or region for the boat to enjoy? 

During a weeklong trip we often sail by a good restaurant or two where we can have dinner on land. Some places we need to pre-book and we will then need to choose a menu before we arrive. More about all of this when you come onboard!

Life onboard & accommodation

Life on a sailboat is super social and fun, but it might feel a bit intimate at first. No worries though, that vibe usually fades after the first hour. Everyone chips in to run the boat, and we’re all part of the crew, which means quick bonding.

We’re keen to get to know you and hope you’ll connect with the rest of the crew. It takes some patience, generosity, and an open mind to thrive, but soon you’ll be focused on making new friends and enjoying raw nature experiences once sea life feels like home.

Sleeping arrangements in shared cabins with double or bunk beds can be a bit of a puzzle, but we’re pretty good at figuring it out. Let us know if you have preferences. You’re on your own for land accommodations before or after the trip.

The boat provides heating and good food, but fresh water isn’t always abundant. Water conservation means not showering every day, but when near freshwater sources, we make the most of it. But nothing beats a morning sea swim for that fresh feeling.

Safety and risk on Ski & Sail trips

For ski touring on land, we keep the same high focus on safety. On the first skiing day, we go through avalanche awareness, use of our avalanche equipment and the necessary search and rescue techniques. Many factors determine the safety of a ski touring trip, where us, the human factor, is the triggering factor in most accidents in the mountains. Good planning, awareness of the weather and avalanche risk, and a coherent group are important. In addition, it is crucial that you listen to the guide and follow his instructions in the mountains.

Backcountry skiing in the mountains involves a certain amount of risk, as does sailing. However, as an operator, with our highly skilled and trained skippers and ski guides, we do everything we can to minimize the risk in a professional manner. We all benefit from that, as we have nobody to lose.

Level of our Ski & Sail trips

On all of our Ski & Sail trips you must have some previous experience with ski touring and skiing in general. You must have done some ski touring before and you need to bring your own touring equipment. Having said that, we mostly have open groups on our Ski & Sail trips, with participants at different levels. We usually sail several boats together and divide into boat teams and ski groups based on previous experience, skill level and individual expectation, as best we can.

Our various Ski & Sail concepts are on a slightly different level. The shorter trips in Lofoten and Lyngen are less advanced, while the longer departures as in Lyngen and Finnmark and the Ski & Sail expeditions on Svalbard, are more advanced.
Read more about our various Ski & Sail concepts here.

On some selected departures, we set up a specific beginner’s boat. Feel free to ask us about availability for this and which tour might suit you!

Snow conditions

We have locally known guides onboard, that is experts in finding the best snow for us to ski at any condition throughout the season. What is certain about the snow conditions here in northern Norway, is that it’s usually very varied. Often with several types of snow on each single mountain, from fluffy powder or hard packed slabs to spring crust or slush. Depending on the season, how far into the fjords we sail, and of course exposition and height above sea level. We plan the skiing trips along the way based on the latest updated knowledge of the snow conditions and local forecasts.

If we are somewhere without less good snow, we sail to where the better snow is! With the sailboat, we are flexible in finding the best snow, and this can mean that we can go to places that are not on the program or that we ourselves may not have tested beforehand. Then it’s extra exciting and a true adventure for all of us!

Equipment and packing - Ski & Sail

Normal ski touring equipment is required for this trip: Skis with touring bindings and skins (alternatively split board), touring boots and poles. Ski crampons are highly recommended, and mandatory for split board, as this is always needed at some point during a week in our coastal Norwegian mountains. Furthermore standard avalanche equipment is mandatory for everyone to bring: beacon, shovel and probe (this can be rented from us if needed).

On our open Ski & Sail trips, boot crampons and ice axe (or further mountaineering equipment) is usually not needed, except on our Ski & Sail expeditions in Svalbard. More about this in the info-letters you receive after booking.

Avalanche equipment can be rented through us and ski equipment can be rented through our partners, but our best experience is that you bring your own equipment from home. Without too short transfers, flying with a ski bag these days is often as easy as with any other checked in luggage with most airlines.

Read more and see our packing tips here:

Sjekk SAS, Norwegian eller widerøe for fly til og fra Alta. Skal du reise fra en by i nord eller ønsker å utvide reisen med en dag eller flere, så har Hurtigruta avgang nord- og sørover hver dag. Man kan også absolutt ta tog til Bodø og båt videre, eller kjøre bil hele veien. Å reise langsomt gir en annen dimensjon til ferien enn å fly over alle de vakre stedene landet vårt har å by på, og sparer miljøet.

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