Backcountry Ski Lofoten
Imagine a place where an archipelago of glacially chiseled islands protrude into the aqua marine waters of the North Atlantic. The Lofoten Island landscape is like nothing else in this world. For the ski tourist who loves to travel, Norway’s Lofoten (pronounced Loof-oten) should be on the list.
A costal snowpack and steep featured terrain provides endless possibilities to explore the nooks and crannies of these stunning mountains. The highest peaks in Lofoten top out at about 1200m, but starting at sea level, that makes for plenty of turns. Numerous ski tours start and finish at the sea shore.
At 68 degrees north, the days grow long by late March and the ski season kicks into gear from March through late May. People often think of ski and sail trips when it comes to Norway, but there is plenty of roadside ski touring to be had in Lofoten. However, using a boat opens up a wide variety of terrain and will get you away from some of the busier backcountry areas.
Ski and sail programs are super fun and provide an incredible experience for those who seek them. However staying in a house or cottage has some advantages too. There’s more room to stretch out after a day of skiing and there is more flexibility with a land based program.
Last winter, we chose to stay in comfortable land-based accommodations and use a boat to access remote ski and splitboard terrain to optimize our guests’ experience. This allowed us to use a car to access venues more suitable for storm skiing, such as the semi-dwarf arctic birch forests.
Our friends at Kompani Lofoten are wonderful hosts and provide comfortable accommodations and a truly Lofoten experience. Their private chef Stig prepared locally sourced food in the traditional Norwegian dishes he served us. One of which was boknafisk, air dried cod that has an amazing texture. The cool coastal breeze slowly dries the fish and the drying racks are part of the Lofoten landscape. Cod fishing is a huge part of the local economy.
The Fiskund (Kompani Lofoten’s 90 year old wooden fishing troller) creates a unique way for guests to experience Lofoten life. The converted fishing boat that ferried Norwegian WWII refugees to Scotland takes guests back in time as it trolls through the icy waters of the fjords.
For me, boating was a huge part of the Lofoten experience. We’d get up early and take our skis down to the warf and board the historic wooden boat. While we trolled through the fjords, we’d enjoy coffee and and a Norwegian breakfast below deck in the cabin. We’d tow a zodiac behind the Fiskund and use it to ferry guests and gear to shore once we got to the destination for the day.
Après ski aboard the Fiskund was truly a special experience. The long evening light warmed us as we enjoyed a crisp beer while cruising through the arctic waters. Some evenings we fish for dinner in protected coves on our way home.
Bob and Kate enjoy a proper Lofoten après ski.
Eivind, one of the hosts points out one of the ski lines above the famous Troll Fjord.
If you’re looking for an amazing landscape, cultural adventure and warm hospitality, check out our Lofoten trips.