At the end of this week I’m going on the most expensive ski week I’ve ever booked (bear in mind I’m a cheapskate, so this may not be saying much), and also probably the least luxurious (though a university week 18 years ago at Tignes Les Brevieres may come close).
The destination? Arctic Norway, in a winter version of ocean-cruise meets bareboat charter meets Swimtrek – staying on a sailing boat and skinning up mountains from sea level each day, to be met by the boat after each descent.
Since Graham Austick of Piste to Powder opened Lyngen Lodge in northern Norway a few years ago people have started to cotton on to this part of the world as a ski-touring destination. Our group of friends is going with Zuba Ski, and the Ski Club of GB is running a group trip to the Lyngen Alps the same week. But it’s still what I’d call very well off the beaten track.
Our little group (five, plus an Italian guide) is flying to Bodo, in Nordland, rather than Tromso, which is where you’d make for if you were heading to Lyngen. Bodo is an hour and a half’s flight from Oslo, and well within the Arctic Circle – here are the co-ordinates, if you understand that sort of thing: 67° 56′ 8″ North, 14° 58′ 55″ East.
We’ll get on the boat and our week will be spent exploring the islands off Steigen, with views to the Lofoten Islands – pictures here of those from someone else’s blog.
I’ll be taking pretty much everything I usually take on a hut-to-hut tour – here is the list I made last year.
But as we won’t be carrying all our belongings every day, I’m taking a few extras, such as clothes for the journey and for evenings, proper pyjamas, a clean pair of ski socks for every day, a towel (there’s a shower on the boat), a sleep mask (in case the cabin has a porthole – daylight will be long), binoculars, a couple of books and some CDs. Luxury!
We will be fed morning and evening on the boat and we’ll take packed lunches on our hikes, but I’m taking nuts and raisins in my pockets, too – and some sweets a bit like these.
According to the itinerary, also on the cards is “helping to crew the boat – anchoring, sailing, helming, preparing and cooking food” and “a quick refreshing dip in the Arctic waters”.
Hopefully it won’t turn into a full-on swimming holiday rather than a skiing one – the forecast looks suspiciously spring-like (rain and sun) and I haven’t worked out if there’s really snow all the way down to sea-level yet, or whether we’ll be climbing part of the way in our boots… Wish me luck!
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