Surf, Ski & Sail – Best of Lofoten in winter

Surf, Ski & Sail Lofoten
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Wind, water and snow

Are you ready for a very special mix of a winter adventures in Lofoten? A combination of wind, water and snow, on our three favourite activities in Lofoten in winter? Surf, Ski & Sail is not for everyone, and the point is to bring together those who want these activities when visiting Lofoten! And those who value the flexibility and atmosphere on board the sailboat en route to new adventures. This trip is for you who like challenges and being part of the adventure, and wants to experience something unique, wet, wild and beautiful!

From Svolvær to our playgrounds and back to Svolvær

This trip starts and ends in Svolvær, the capital of Lofoten, which offers a sea of ​​opportunities for various activities – and winter is the wildest season! On the outside of the Lofoten Wall, the ocean-swell roll in and create incredible Arctic surf. The mountains east in Lofoten are known for their alpine peaks and are some of the roughest Norway has to offer. For summit climbs and skiing, right down to the shore! It’s all framed by the northern lights fluttering across the sky and the migrating cod (Skrei) that make the sea boil below us. On top of all this, we use the sailboat as our home and base throughout the week.

Surf, Ski & Sail, all in the same trip!

We start with two full days of skiing, aiming for some of the most beautiful mountains in Lofoten. With us on board we have our own ski guide with local knowledge for the days in the mountains. We plan the ski touring together, according to weather and conditions. Between full days of skiing we spend the afternoons with shorter sails in the fjords to the next port or anchorage. Meanwhile we scout for the northern lights in the sky and prepare for tomorrow’s summit with good food and conversations.

After a couple of days skiing, we sail west towards the beaches at Unstad and Flakstad, where we find some of Norway’s best surf. We spend two days playing in the waves with the surfboards. With good instructors from Unstad Arctic Surf, we quickly get the hang of the waves, and with thick wetsuits we stay warm all day. We use the sauna to properly warm up again after the session. A surf instructor and the rental of surf equipment is included in the price of this trip.

An intense experience

This is an active trip where the experiences out in nature get full focus; whether it’s behind the helm, with surfboards in the waves, or skis on our feet. With open groups on tour, there will of course be a difference in experience level in each group, but we quickly become a good team on board and we are all flexible! This is nevertheless one of our more advanced Ski & Sail tours, which also includes surfing! So we can think about the fact that we are tired and sore after a week packed with activity, when we get home…

Blog articles

Check our blog articles about Ski & Sail here.

Ski & Sail video

Here is a video clip from one of our Surf, Ski & Sail trips. The film is produced by Maxime Messier.

This trip was absolutely the best - the sailing, the skiing, the food, the life on board, and most importantly, the special place. The crew were all so competent, and so fun.

David, Ski & Sail Lofoten


Day 1: Welcome on board in Svolvær

We meet at the harbor in the center of Svolvær at 16:00. Here we check in at our boat and get to know each other. We go through the plan for the trip, safety information, boat and equipment. Before it gets too late in the evening we cast off and sail a short distance, to where we find a suitable anchorage for the night. We prepare supper on board, but recommend that you have eaten dinner before arriving. In order to use the time to go through the boat and equipment and be ready to set sails into the fjords already this first evening.

Day 2: Skiing in the Austnesfjord

After an early breakfast, we land with our dinghy in Austnesfjord. Together with our ski guide, we assess route choices for the day based on weather, snow conditions and wind. Austnesfjorden has lots of possible summits: Pilan, Rundfjellet, Higravtind and Geitgaljartind. We start a bit quietly on the first day. Back in the boat, we sail further towards the best possible starting point for tomorrow’s skiing. When darkness falls, we fix our eyes on the stars and hope the northern lights pay us a visit!

Day 3: Trollheimen

Today our aim is Trollfjord and Raftsundet! With it’s steep mountain sides and remote location, Trollfjorden is accessible only to us, who arrive by boat. Early in the morning, before the sun starts to warm the snow, we find a suitable mountain that is not among the steepest. We assess the conditions and spend the day ski touring in the mountains after a good breakfast. It’s still early in the season so we have to be careful about the avalanche danger. In the afternoon we hoist sails for a sailing leg out towards Vestfjorden.

Day 4: Henningsvær and Lofoten fishing

This time of year is not only great for good waves and snow here in Lofoten. This is also the time of year when thousands of fishing boats from all over the coast gather to fish for the migrating cod in in the traditional Lofoten fishery. We are sailing towards Henningsvær, which is the focal point of the Lofoten fishery, and hopefully we will get some proper sized fish on the hook ourselves. This will also be a full day of sailing, where we aim for Tangstad for the evening and cook ourselves a wonderful feast of our own fish!

Day 5-6: Surfing at Unstad/Flakstad

We wake up in West Lofoten, and get ready for a couple of eventful days surfing. The swells from the big North Atlantic roll onto the coast here, which together with perfect sandy beaches ensure great surf! We dock the sailboat in Tangstad, a short drive/walk from Unstad. We are taken out into the water by the skilled surf instructors at Unstad Arctic Surf. One of these days we could also go to Flakstad to check out the waves there. We plan this based on weather, wind and wave conditions.

Day 7: Sail to Svolvær and thank you for now!

We spend the last day of the trip sailing back to Svolvær. Maybe the weather allows us to sail on the north side of Lofoten, around Gimsøya? We eat lunch along the way, before we pack, wash and tidy ourselves out of the boat for the end of the trip in Svolvær no later than 16:00. Thanks for the ride!

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 – 6-7 participants per ski guide
  • All food you eat on board during the trip
  • Our Comfort Package which consists of accommodation on board 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 if available: dinghies, kayaks, fishing equipment, etc. 
  • 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
  • Surfing – Equipment rental and instructions

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 cafes/restaurants during the trip
  • Entrance to galleries, museums, or other alternative activities that you/we may want to do
  • 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

Avreise og ankomst

This trip starts and ends in Svolvær.

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 on board

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.

On board 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 on board, 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 on board and so we build a capable team on board.

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 on board, 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. On board 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 on board). 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 on board

On our trips, you will be part of the crew on board 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 on board. 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 on board!

Life on board & 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 on board, 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:

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