Crossing Svalbard Ski Expedition - East to West

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Norwegian Guide Favourite
Nordic skiing Level 4 9 days 6 - 12 participants

Overview

Crossing Spitsbergen will, for many, be the ultimate way to experience the magnificent Svalbard nature and be an introduction to the expedition life in the Arctic. With ice-covered fjords, snow-covered mountains and exciting wildlife, this is a fantastic trip that just has to be experienced!

Note: This is a trip popular with Norwegians, so the main language on the trip is Norwegian, but the guide will speak English, so you are welcome to join as an English speaker.

NB: If you want a slightly easier and shorter tour, check out our second tour Svalbard - Nordenskioldland

We will meet in Longyearbyen in the afternoon for an information meeting and planning the last details. We pack our own pulks together and thus get a nice introduction to how such expeditions are planned and implemented. Have we remembered enough dryfood? And chocolate? We plan to eat dinner and go to bed early and excited - ready for the next day's challenges and experiences.

Early the next day we head east by snowcat or scooter. The transport takes a few hours, but it will be the last hours of sitting still for a week. Outside the Bay of Agardh we collect the equipment, and depending on the weather, we start skiing the same day, or we camp up and enjoy being in the middle of the polar bear realm. We plan for daily stages of between 15 and 25 kilometers and set up camps every night. Most of the day is spent skiing, but we have a leisurely pace and take breaks along the way. We set up the route in relation to the weather, and the path of least resistance is no bad way - we want to get the best out of the trip, and the route can be adjusted several times along the way. Upon arrival the campsite everyone helps to set up camp, dig walls and cold pits. Being together, reflecting and exchanging experiences is our main focus for the trip. 

If there is a need, we sit polar bear guard at night. This is typically one or two hours every other night and does not significantly affect the night's sleep. After a week of traveling it is fantastic to arrive in Barentsburg where a boat is waiting for us and takes us back to Longyearbyen for a shower and enjoy dinner together.

What's included

  • We sleep in tents
  • All meals as described in the program
  • Guide
  • All local transport as described in the day to day program

See more of what's included under the "details" tab

Contact

Questions about the trip? Don't hesitate to contact our project leader below, or contact our office here.

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Details

Difficulty

Level 4 out of 5. Please read more about our difficulty levels here. You need to have experience skiing off of groomed trails on mountain skis. You don't need expedition experience but you need to have experience with sleeping outside in the winter, and be prepared to camp. On this trip, you will use a pulk (sled) and we recommend specific training for this skill set. The pulk will weigh about 30-40 kilos.

If you are uncertain you have the proper experience for this trip, please contact us. We also have a Winter Course that you can join to get the necessary experience. 

Accommodation

We stay in tents during the trip. The first and last night in Longyearbyen are not included. 

What to bring?

Have a look at the full equipment list by clicking "Equipment list" in the menu above.

We require that you pack a duffel bag to have on the pulk. Pack everything inside your bag in waterproof bags. 

Insurance

We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. Norrøna Hvitserk Adventure is not responsible for any trip delays, injury, illness, loss of belongings, family emergencies, natural events or other unforeseen issues that may hinder your ability to complete a trip with us. Norrøna Hvitserk Adventure is an adventure holiday company, and with an active holiday, there is always a risk of something as simple as a twisted ankle to keep you from your vacation. With trip insurance, your flights, hotels and travel costs can be covered if an unforeseen emergency hinders you from joining our tour, as well as coverage to fly home if necessary. By purchasing travel insurance ahead of time, you can protect your trip and yourself from issues that prevent you from traveling, and rest easy to enjoy your vacation.

Safety

Safety is always the number one consideration on a trip with Norrøna Hvitserk Adventure. If there is an emergency on tour with us, help will be able to reach you relatively quickly. We have a 24-hour emergency hotline within our office and the guide will always have the ability to contact help. Norway has excellent search and rescue operations throughout the country with evacuations available via helicopter or red cross emergency teams. 

Our guides have first aid training and have a selection of medicines and first aid equipment for the necessary treatment in the mountains. Hvitserk also has a partnership with Turlegen.no (Trip Doctor) who can be contacted if needed for medical advice.

If you are on prescribed medication, have known allergies or similar, you must always bring your personal medication.

Hvitserk plans the trip days based on the weather, conditions and the group. Our focus is to take care of each other and work together in one team. The guide will have the ability to make safety decisions for the group, although the decision-making process will be transparent and involve guests in the process. 

We plan our trips so that we do not expose ourselves to unwanted risk. On this tour, we will always be close to each other, and if an unforeseen situation occurs - the guide will be present quickly to handle it.

Languages

This is a trip popular with Norwegians, so the main language on the trip is Norwegian, but the guide will speak English, so you are welcome to join as an English speaker.

Changes may occur

We reserve the right to make changes to the program, and the price. The day to day program is indicative, and changes may occur. Please have a look at our terms and conditions

Number of participants

Minimum: 6 people; Maximum: 12 people.

Price includes

  • Experienced guides
  • Transport from day 2 to day 8
  • Communal equipment
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Search and rescue insurance

Not included in the price

  • Transport to/from Longyearbyen
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Accommodation in Longyearbyen, first and last night

Other information

If it is close to departure, please contact us. Maybe you will be able to join anyway.

day

1

Arrival Longyearbyen

At 3 pm you will meet your guide at our warehouse in Longyearbyen center for packing equipment and reviewing the last details before our trip starts the next day. Bring all the equipment to the venue. You can leave personal belongings, but limit how much you bring. There will be opportunities to take a tour of the city's sports shops to get the necessary tour equipment. If you want to bring a map with you on the trip, we recommend buying this at the museum at university, or in the city's grocery store. The packing may take a few hours, so bring some food and drink for this session.

Dinner and accommodation are arranged on an individual basis, but we recommended Stationen as an informal place with good food.

day

2

Leave Longyearbyen

Accommodation Tent
Meals LD

We meet early in Longyearbyen for a final brief. After that, we head towards the East Coast with a weasel or snowmobile. The starting point for the tour is near the Bay of Agardh. The snowmobiles are transported back to Longyearbyen and our guides now decide whether the weather allows us to start skiing already or whether we need to set up camp for the night. 

day

3

Up the first icefall

Accommodation Tent
Meals BLD

We start the day with coffee and breakfast after an exciting night, where you may have been a polar bear watch for the first time? This is the day we aim to climb the first glacier on the trip. The glacier has a "nice" climb, so it's a soft start to the expedition. We must still be aware of dangerous cracks. Along the way, we eat the daily expedition lunch, adjust the pace to the group, and spend the time we need to reconnaissance and scout the terrain. The goal for the day is to set up camp in Lundstrømdalen.

day

4

Through Reindalen

Accommodation Tent
Meals BLD

Not all days are the same when you are on a long ski trip. Maybe we have skied 25 kilometers yesterday, sometimes the snow is heavier and we settle for 20. We continue on into Reindalen. Here we really get to experience one of the classic big wide valleys on Svalbard. Just like yesterday, all day we will be skiing in an area that is prohibited for scooter traffic, so here we get to go in peace.

day

5-6

Towards small valleys and continue west

Accommodation Tent
Meals BLD

It will be oatmeal again for breakfast, and now you have realized that it is tough to drag your own pulk, you are definitely not saying no to an extra slice of porridge. We continue west into Reindalen and eventually take in one of the smaller side valleys. Now the terrain is changing. The mountains are getting closer. A little climb up the Bromalen before we descend the Medalen and out into the Skiferdalen. Maybe we will take a camp in Skiferdalen before continuing on into Istrjørndalen and up the Passfjellbreen glacier. When we arrive, we do the camp routines that we have gradually become so used to.

day

7

Enjoy the last days!

Accommodation Tent
Meals BLD

At the top of the Passfjell Glacier, we can see the west coast in the distance. Today's stage continues down towards the Hollenderdalen and outwards towards the Isfjorden and the west coast. As we approach the shore, the destination of the trip, Barentsburg is just a short ridge away. But we will still have the last camp for ourselves in the Arctic wilderness. So we find ourselves a nice campsite for ourselves, overlooking the sea and the mountains around us. 

day

8

Time to take shower?

Meals BLD
Transportation 4hours

After more than a week out in the arctic nature, we move on in the direction of Barentsburg. In Barentsburg we go on the boat that takes us back to Longyearbyen. This tour takes approx. 4 hours. Well back in Longyearbyen, it's time for a shower before we meet at 9 pm for a goodbye dinner. Afterwards, a good night's sleep awaits in a soft bed.

day

9

Travel back home or spend an extra day in Longyearbyen

Today it is time to go home unless you want to stay longer in Svalbard. There is a lot of fun things to do in Longyearbyen and we are happy to help you find activities to do if you wish.

* On the departure which starts on 14-22 April, it is possible to catch the plane that departs the evening/night of 22 April.

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Equipment List

Take a good look at this list, and make sure you bring everything you need. We encourage you to use what you have for this trip and purchase items if you're missing something important on the list below. 

Go through the equipment list carefully. It is intended as a guideline so that we have what we need for the trip, and at the same time, we must think about the weight. It is also not intended that you should buy a lot of new equipment, you can probably use a lot of what you have before. Despite Svalbard's northern location, the archipelago has a relatively mild climate compared to areas of the same latitude. In winter, the average temperature in Longyearbyen is -14 ° C. However, it is not uncommon for winter periods to have longer periods of temperatures between -20 and -35 degrees. If the wind is, in addition, the effective temperature is very low. But we also experience every winter that we get low pressure from the southwest that can give days of heat degrees and rain. The weather in Svalbard can change very quickly and the local variations can be great.

The periods of polar night and midnight sun vary depending on the latitude one is on. Longyearbyen has the midnight sun from April 19 to August 23, while in the period from late October to mid-February the sun is never over the horizon. The darkness lasts from mid-November to the end of January.

Layering is extremely important in a variable climate like Norway. This list will guide you through the essentials. Remember the Norwegian saying "There is no bad weather, only bad gear", and prepare appropriately for any weather. You can read about the weather where you're traveling here.

Please contact us at hvitserk@norrona.com if you have any questions and check out our gear page to learn more.

Required:

SKIS, BOOTS, POLES

Durable skis, leather clip in boots, and backcountry ski poles. 

SKINS

Short and long.

SKI WAX

Blue and green rating

BASE LAYER - 2 SETS

2 sets of wool long-sleeved top and bottom. Warm, Extra Warm or Expedition thickness is recommended. 

MID-LAYER

A medium thickness wool or fleece top to go over your base layer. 

INSULATED JACKET

A thick, warm, insulated jacket to put on during breaks. We recommend a puffy jacket with down or synthetic. 

SHELL / RAIN JACKET

Gore-Tex or similar is mandatory. Extremely important in Norwegian climate. The jacket must be waterproof, have a hood, and make sure you don’t get wet even if it rains all day. We recommend jackets with pit zips for ventilation. 

INSULATED PANTS

Down pants, you won't regret it! 

EXTRA TOP LAYER

Bring an extra medium-thick layer to add underneath your medium insulated jacket in case you get cold easily. 

GLOVES & MITTENS

1 thin pair of wool gloves to protect your hands. 1 pair of over mittens for additional warmth with windproofing. 1 extra pair of thick mittens in case yours get wet. 3 in total. 

HATS

2 warm hats. 1 thick, 1 thin. Make sure at least one has a windproof lining. 

WOOL SOCKS

4 pairs, we recommend wool, above the ankle or higher. 2 thin. 2 thick. We recommend a 5th pair that are extra thick for evenings. 

DOWN BOOTIES

Bring lightweight boots for when we are not skiing. 

SUNGLASSES 1 & 2

UV rated, we recommend a strap to keep them in place and so they don't get lost. Bring dark lenses with plastic frames, not metal. Bring a second pair of Alpine Glasses, these cover more of your face in case of strong winds.

SUNSCREEN / CHAPSTICK

Make sure the Chapstick has UV rated sunscreen in it. 

WATER BOTTLES

Insulated water bottle, 2-liter capacity. Do not bring a camelback bladder, this will freeze in cold temperatures. 

TOILETRIES

Personal basics: toothbrush, toothpaste, a small towel, soap etc..

PERSONAL MEDICATIONS

Make sure you bring any personal meds you need on your trip and ensure the Hvitserk office is updated on your allergies or needs. 

SHELL PANTS

Waterproof shell pants. Goretex is best. We recommend heavier duty pants to keep you warm with zips for ventilation. 

HEADLAMP

Make sure you bring extra batteries as they die faster in the cold. 

SLEEPING BAG

Must have a comfort level at least -30 Celcius

SLEEPING MAT

2 sleeping mats, one inflatable with down and the other a simple foam mattress. 

WOOL UNDERWEAR

We highly recommend bringing wool underwear and bra. No cotton.

COMPRESSION SACKS FOR GEAR

Recommended for storing your gear, keeping it dry, and compressing your down jackets to create more space. 

BALACLAVA AND BUFF

A wool layer to protect your neck and face. 

THERMOS

We recommend a thermos for hot drinks to have with you all day. We suggest a large, 1-liter thermos.

FIRST AID KIT

If you have certain hiking aids specific to you: i.e. blister care or ibuprofen, etc...

CAMERA

Be prepared for the cold. Insulating your camera will keep it working for the entire trip. We suggest bringing an extra battery pack. 

SITTING MAT

Strongly recommended to insulate you from the ground.

FOOD EQUIPMENT

For your personal use, dish, cutlery, cup

REPAIR-KIT

Multi-tool, extra shoelaces, needle and thread for small repairs etc

PASSPORT AND ID

To get into Svalbard

ANTIBAC

If you need it for the bathroom or lunch. 

WET WIPE OR TOILET PAPER

If you have a bathroom emergency while hiking. We use "pack it in pack it out" ethics, so you will need to carry out your used items and throw them away later.

EAR PLUGS

If you're a light sleeper.

JOURNAL AND PEN

 In order to take notes and write about the trip.

SNACKS

Chocolate, nuts or energy bars if there is something particular you enjoy eating. You will have the opportunity to buy snacks on your trip.

HEADSET

If you would like to listen to music or an audiobook while skiing.

SLEEPING MASK

If you're a light sleeper, the nights are light this time of year. 

Special notes on equipment and clothing on the trip


- It is important that clothes and sleeping bags be packed in waterproof covers. 
- The pulks will weigh 20 - 30 kg.
- Joint equipment will be distributed among the participants.
- Participants are divided into tent layers of two and two or three and three.
- Cooking and snow melting is done by the individual tent team.

We provide with equipment:
- Hillebergtent
- Pulk and drag (pariserpulk) for each of the participants
- Pulk bag for use in the pulk
- Signal gun
- Rifle
- Satellite phone
- First aid
- Shovels
- Primus
- Fuel
- GPS
- Map and compass
- Pots and cutlery
- Food and drink
- Glacier equipment
- Toilet paper

Food and drink:
Food is included and you pick what you want from the storage in Svalbard - Bread/porridge for breakfast, dry-tech for lunch, drinks (coffee/tea/juice), chocolate (100 grams per day), nuts, biscuits, and vacuum-packed dinner and dessert. If you would like more chocolate/snacks, please bring this yourself.

NB: If you are going to be on the first trip that starts in March, it is extra important that you bring warm clothes, as it can often be a bit colder at this time. You may want to bring extra warm wool socks and wool underwear.

Dates & booking

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This trip is also offered as a private tailormade trip. Travel alone, with your friends or family whenever you want. Send a request
Sun 28. Mar 2021 Mon 5. Apr 2021
Available
NOK 25 500
Sun 18. Apr 2021 Mon 26. Apr 2021
Limited availability
NOK 25 500
Fri 7. May 2021 Sat 15. May 2021
Available
NOK 25 500

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