Ski & Sail in Lyngen

The best of two worlds – sailing and skiing Norway’s wild northern coast

The rugged coast of Northern Norway

Exploring the rugged coast of Northern Norway by sailboat is a unique experience, and when you combine it with skiing, it becomes a true adventure! Let ski & sail in Lyngen! Here are some highlights from a journey when four Helly Hansen colleagues joined a trip from Alta to Tromsø to learn the ropes of sailing and ski mountains reached by sea. Helly Hansen are our preferred partner for sailing clothing and life wests. Thanks for a great week on board Helly Hansen! Text and photos by Trond Tjelta, Helly Hansen.

An insider’s guide on how to pack successfully for a ski & sail trip.

You should be prepared for all types of conditions when embarking on a ski & sail trip in Northern Norway. Welcome on board!

Day 1 – Alta 

Far in the distance, we can see a range of snow-covered mountains rises from the calm fjord. We are eager and ready to embark on Havblikk, which will be our home for the upcoming week. The Skipper Helena Laursen and guide Jordi Tosas will lead the way.

We are wrapped in our warmest gear, gazing at the winter-hibernating landscape gliding by. The light winds and calm seas are a blessing when skipper Helena throws a surprise man overboard drill and reminds us that we’re a team and must act accordingly. 

The first night is spent at anchor in Indre Lokkarfjorden, a tiny fjord on the southern side of Stjernesundet. There’s no one else around, no houses and no other skiers. We’ve heard that the mountains of West Finnmark offer a less crowded alternative to the more famous Lyngen further southwest, and so far, it looks very promising.

Day 2 – First day of skiing!

We are gradually getting accustomed to the tight living quarters. We enjoy a quick breakfast and a cup of coffee on deck in the early morning sun. It is late in the season, and this is SeilNorge’s last trip of the winter season. However, that doesn’t dampen our expectations. There will be skiing! Today’s goal is to ski up towards Njalirášša to assess conditions, and to let guide Jordi get a feel of the group’s ski touring experience.

Before jumping in the dinghy that will bring us to the beach, we get our first lesson on the importance of gear control on a trip like this. You don’t have much space, so you can’t leave your stuff floating around the boat, and you don’t want to be the person who suddenly realizes that you forgot your skins back in the city when the dinghy leaves for shore in a few minutes. But this seems to be a well-organized bunch, and we all get to shore according to plan.  

The first day in the mountains was a success. There’s still plenty of snow and a unique sense of being part of something special as you prepare skis and skins on a secluded beach, ascend through majestic surroundings for a few hours, and then get to ski down some of the most isolated mountains in Norway.

Packing for Ski & Sail can be challenging. You must be ready for a sailing trip, skiing trip, sun, rain, snow and wind. The trick is to not make it more complicated than necessary!

Johannes S. Bolstad, Skipper and operational coordinator, SeilNorge

Day 3 to day 8 – a lot of skiing & good sailing in Lyngen

Throughout the rest of the journey, we continuously learn more about each other while experiencing the wild and beautiful Arctic landscape. We get to see it all, from Øksfjord to Sandland, to Spildra and the raw Kvænangstindan, and onwards to Northern Lyngen for two final days of ski touring before embarking on the last leg of the journey towards Tromsø.

Along the way, we dive into the technicalities of sailing and how to maneuver through conditions that range from the quiet sanctuary of a fjord arm to the uproar of a peninsula’s northern tip.

We learn about the human connection, how it’s all about the dynamics on board, and that the journey’s success hinges on the chemistry among the crew and the skills of the skipper and guide. 

And we learn that to get the most out of a trip like this, you should come prepared, not just physically and mentally, but also by bringing the right clothing and gear. 

To help along, the experienced sailors of SeilNorge have put together the following guide on how to pack successfully for a ski & sail trip.

17th of May

On May 17th 1814, the Norwegian constitution was signed, we got our own Norwegian king and detached ourselves from Denmark. The day is celebrated all over the country with parades, traditional costumes, concerts, ice cream – lots of ice cream, and games. A memorable day for any visitor and local alike! 

How to pack for a Ski & Sail trip

In Northern Norway, you need to prepare for all different types of weather (in any season), as they may all appear, often on the same day. This is part of the charm. It is wild and raw in all manners, especially with regards to the weather. The temperature mostly depends on the direction of the wind: Northerly winds from the polar regions are usually cold and semi-humid, the easterly winds are dry and cold, while the westerly and southwesterly winds from the ocean are warmer but can carry more humidity, often as rain.

A rule of thumb when packing for Ski & Sail is to try to pack items that you can use for both activities: sailing and skiing. You can wear the ski jacket when you sail, and the same goes for midlayers, base layers, gloves and mittens.

Gear for sailing & life on board

Many items in this list will serve you well both when sailing and skiing:

  • Wool base layer – top and bottom (bring two pairs so you have a spare)
  • Wool socks and wool soles
  • Wool scarf/buff/high neck and hat, preferably warm and windproof
  • Mittens or gloves, preferably wind or water-resistant
  • Wool sweater, preferably a turtle-neck
  • Warm pants, preferably multi-layered with warmer materials (for use on deck or while sailing)
  • Warm winter jacket – down jacket or preferably Primaloft/Lifaloft (as they are synthetic and can handle water)
  • Sea/sailing/rain/rubber boots, preferably “winter” style. Bring some big enough so that they breathe even with wool socks and wool soles
  • Light shoes/sandals that breathe well (for use indoors and on deck in nice weather)
  • Sailwear – jacket and pants. You can also use your ski jacket and pants when sailing
  • Sailing gloves. You can also use ski gloves
  • Casual/party/restaurant clothing (who knows what an evening in a local harbor might bring)
  • Headlamp (preferably one with dimming-function/red night light) + extra batteries
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Water bottle(s), minimum 0,75 – 1 liter, Hydration reservoir (Camelbak) 
  • Small wash cloth and soap
  • Towel and swimming gear
  • Lifevest. If you bring your own, remember to unscrew the gas cylinder before checking in your bag at the airport

Gear for skiing

A lot of the clothing you’ve already lined up for sailing/life on board works for skiing too, so what’s left is mostly hardwear:

  • Skis or splitboard with fitted climbing skins 
  • Boots and poles
  • Avalanche safety kit: Shovel, probe, and transceiver/beacon (with extra batteries) 
  • Ski jacket and pants (as mentioned above, these can be used for sailing too)
  • Helmet and goggles (the goggles are also handy when sailing in a snowstorm)
  • Ski tour backpack, 30–50 liter capacity
  • Ski or splitboard crampons for icy/hard conditions (they make the trip up the mountain both easier and more comfortable)
  • Boot ice crampons and ice axe 
  • Map over the area
  • Compass
  • A thermos for hot drinks to take on a ski trip is worth its weight in gold

What distinguishes an experienced Ski & Sail guest from a first-timer, is that you bring waterproof rubber boots. Without these, you will quickly struggle to get ashore at the most spectacular places, or the skipper will have to carry you from the dinghy to the beach 🙂

Johannes S. Bolstad, Skipper and operational coordinator, SeilNorge

Tips & Tricks

Pack skis in a ski bag, boots in a boot bag/bag for storage on board, and easy and safe transportation to the shore in the dinghy. When you go in the dinghy between the mother vessel and land, you use rubber boots to avoid getting wet. You then change to ski boots on the beach. So, bring waterproof boots (as tall as possible). 

  • Pack like a sailor: in a bag or backpack, not in a rigid suitcase
  • Pack as little as possible, but bring what you need
  • The fewer items you bring, the faster you sail and the less time you spend fooling around with your gear.
  • SeilNorge’s packing lists.

Bon voyage!

Thanks to the experienced crew of our partner and host SeilNorge! You can also read this blog on Helly Hansen’s webpage.

We're here to answer your questions!

Feel free to contact us +47 412 97 900 if you have any questions or want to book a trip.