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Ski touring in the Lyngen Alps

The Lyngenalps offers one of the best free-ride opportunities in the world. People all over the world are coming to Lyngenfjord to ski the untouched and snow powdery mountains.

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2013-10-1712:01 Annika Ilmoni

Where to ski?

The Lyngenalps have all kinds of mountains but you need to have good knowledge about the weather, the snow conditions and avalanche risks before going out in the terrain. For beginners, there is a small ski lift in Lyngseidet with two ski slopes perfect for practicing your technique.  One idea is to hire a guide who has good knowledge about the region and know where to find the best top tours. You find more information about Lyngenguide here. When free skiing, make sure that you have checked the weather on www.yr.no and the avalanche observations on www.varsom.no . Do regular snow observations and consider your own skills with the challenge in the mountains.

When to ski?

Autumn/ Winter- skiing in the Polar night

The winter starts early in Lyngenfjord and the first snowfall usually comes in October. The dark period, when the sun does not show, starts in November and the magic Northern lights are getting visible on the sky over Lyngenfjord. The skiing during this time can be good! You need a headlight and good equipment and people that have experience skiing under the Northern lights have described it as magic. The temperature is good because of the Gulf Stream and the sky during this period is often coloured in red, pink and purple.

Spring- ski season in Lyngenalps

The spring is very short in Lyngenfjord and the classical months March, April and May are the best months for skiing with sun, snow and nice temperature. It is usually winter here until the middle of May and many locals are skiing on the National day 17th of May.

Summer- skiing in the Midnight sun

The Midnight sun starts to shine in the middle of May and the 24-hour lighting makes Lyngenfjord a fabulous place to stay in the summer. If you are going on top tours, you can actually find good snow conditions in June! There are no time limits for tours, you can go out at 2am in the night and enjoy the sun in your eyes from a mountaintop in Lyngenalps.

Sail and ski

Imagine the silence when sailing over Lyngenfjord during winter. The cold, deep blue water, the Lyngenalps as a backdrop and the fresh arctic sea wind in your face. Then imagine going ashore, put on your skis and in a few minutes being located in powder snow and magic winter landscape. Sail and ski in Lyngenfjord is a fantastic experience!

The water in Lyngenfjord is open all year around thanks to the Gulf Stream so the sailing conditions are good even during the winter months. The uniqueness with the Lyngen region is the “summit to sea”, that you can ski straight from the mountaintop to the shoreline without taking your skis off.

When sailing and skiing, you experience an extra element during your ski holiday. The water also gives you access to fishing and, for the brave ones, maybe an ice-cold swim after skiing! The sailing gives you an ultimate view over the magnificent mountain area and the possibility to visit mountains that are impossible to reach with car.  After a long skiing day, you are getting back to the boat and enjoying a nice meal with fresh fish directly from the sea. You are then falling asleep to the sound of the waves, dreaming about the ski adventures you will experience the next day.

Some accommodation places around Lyngenfjord offers boat transport to the mountains with difficult access. The boat trips are an experience itself and gives you the opportunity to see the Lyngenalps from a distance. Koppangen brygger and Artic Sjøcamp are two businesses that offers boat trips for ski tourists.

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing in Lyngenfjord will be a perfect opportunity to experience Norways national sport! You can choose to ski in groomed ski trails or make your own trails through one of the beautiful valleys. The Norwegians have many gold medals for their skills in cross-country skiing and there is a reason for it.

Where can you go?

In the valleys, with the beautiful mountains as a backdrop, the conditions for cross-country is perfect. There are many open cottages where you can stay to take a break. The chances of meeting other skiers on the terraces are big! Some of the cabins are selling waffles, coffee and lemonade during February til the end of April. Some examples of good valleys are Fastdalen, Kvalvikdalen and Russdalen. Always check the snow conditions and the avalanche risk before going!

Lighted trails

You can find many lighted trails with prepared tracks in Lyngenfjord. These are perfect if you want to ski during the dark hours and you will for sure meet some skiing Norwegians in the ski trails! These trails have varied length and are often taking care of by volunteers so take good care of the trails.

Technique

For rookies on cross-country skis, the technique can be a bit difficult in the beginning. Avoid hills, keep the practice on flat ground and make sure someone is with you that can explain the technique. In short terms:

- Skip the ski poles in the beginning and just try to walk on the skis

- Start glide on the skis, slowly and carefully and on one leg at the time. You can practice the balance by just standing still on one leg.

- Run the arm movements as if you would have ski poles in their hands.

- When feeling ready, grab the ski poles and start trying. Do not be afraid of falling! If you are not falling when you try this for the first time, you have not tried hard enough.

Equipment

There is a Tourist information in central Lyngseidet on Strandveien 19 where you find maps, souvenirs, weather reports and coffee/tea. The office is open Monday-Friday 09.15am-04.30pm and on Saturdays from 22nd of March to end of May. Welcome!

It is possible to hire ski equipment in Lyngseidet in the store Elektro-Sport. The staff is very professional and there are randonee skis, cross country skis and all the important information about the equipment that you need for a perfect ski tour. They have open Monday-Friday 09am-05pm and Saturday 10am-02pm but on requests, they are flexible to help at any time. You find more information here.

Accommodation

It is important to have a good accomodation place to come back to after adventorous days in the mountains. Book your staying in Lyngenfjord here on our homepage.

Safety

Knowledge about avalanches and snow conditions is very important when you are skiing in Lyngenfjord. Norway started a website one year ago called www.varsom.no where you find observations and risk-scale. Update yourself!

Norwegian Avalanche Forecast Centre have created the homepage with inspiration from other alp countries like Canada, France and Switzerland.

Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate have observer courses where they teach the participants how to move safely in the mountains and how they can measure risks. Visit Lyngenfjord are paying one of these courses a visit. Twenty people from different parts of Norway have gathered for three days education in weather, notification tools and snow profiles.

- We are getting special knowledge during these days but anyone who has made observations can report it to www.regobs.no. It is about time this homepage came up and a very good tool that everyone should use! Says one of the trained skier who reports daily to the service.

Avalanche danger scale

Danger level

Icon

Snowpack stability

Avalanche triggering probability

5 - Very high

                                                                     

The snowpack   is poorly bonded and largely unstable in general.

Numerous   large-sized and often very large-sized natural avalanches can be expected,   even in moderately steep terrain.

4 - High

    

The snowpack   is poorly bonded on most steep slopes.

Triggering   is likely even from low additional loads** on many steep slopes. In some   cases, numerous medium-sized and often large-sized natural avalanches can be   expected.

3 - Considerable

    

The snowpack   is moderately to poorly bonded on many steep slopes*.

Triggering   is possible, even from low additional loads** particularly on the indicated   steep slopes*. In some cases medium-sized, in isolated cases large-sized   natural avalanches are possible.

2 - Moderate

    

The snowpack   is only moderately well bonded on some steep slopes*, otherwise well bonded   in general.

Triggering   is possible primarily from high additional loads**, particularly on the   indicated steep slopes*. Large-sized   natural avalanches are unlikely.

1 - Low

    

The snowpack   is well bonded and stable in general.

Triggering   is generally possible only from high additional loads** in isolated areas of   very steep, extreme terrain. Only   sluffs and small-sized natural avalanches are possible.

 

Source: www.varsom.no

Weather/Conditions

Temperature: Temperature rise makes weaker bindings in the snow and the risk for avalanches increases.

Sun: Sunshine makes the snow binding weaker and affects the sunny cardinals.

Snowfall: When new snow falls, there is additional loads to the weak layer under.

Rain: Rain makes the snowpack heavier and the snow crystals weaker.

Wind: Wind creates snow edges and moves the snow to wind free areas that is changing the structure in the snow.

Human factors

It is important to know the group when going on a ski trip in the Lyngenalps. These are some measurable factors when judging the stability in the group.

- Communication and leadership. Does the group have a clear leader? How are you going to communicate during the tour and is it possible to be open with your own skills and limits?

-Size of the group. The bigger group, the more risks is it when going on a tour.

- X-factors. Unexpected happenings, for example a broken ski or an accident. What are the preparations for that?

Group dynamic

You can divide groups in three different categories.

  1. Fragile. The group is big; the participants have limited experience and there are no one leading the group.

  2. Conscious. The group is not that big, there is a guide leading the group and you are aware about the variety in the skiers’ experiences.

  3. Strong. A small group with a well-planned tour, the participants have ski experience and good knowledge about avalanches.

The group dynamic is an important factor when assessing avalanche risks. It is a big part of the human factor.

Equipment

Keep you updated on www.varsom.no for your own safety and do not forget the important equipment:

- Avalanche transceiver. This tool transmits and receives signals from other avalanche applicants.

- Search stick. 2,5-3 metres is a good length.

- Shovel. The shovel should be strong so you can dig into hard, packed snow and ice without breaking or bending.

- Helmet and back plate. These are cheap life insurances.

The most famous mountains in Lyngenfjord

There is a variety of peaks and top tours in the region and you can easy adjust your routes after skills, conditions and group dynamic. You are welcome to visit the Tourist information in Lyngseidet where you can get the latest weather and avalanche report, designing the ski tour and buy maps, books and souvenirs.

Georg Sichelschmidt
At the top!
Ski touring in Lyngenfjord- Norway. On the top
Georg Sichelschmidt
What a view!
Ski touring in Lyngenfjord- Norway. What a view!
Anders Schurmarin/www.nordnorge.com
Skiing in the sun.
Ski touring in Lyngenfjord- Norway. Skiing in the sun.
Yngve Ask/www.nordnorge.com
Boattrip
Boattrip

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