In the course of the worst heat wave of the Colorado summer time, boat reservations, gun rentals, and hotel negotiations — all on the faraway island archipelago of Svalbard — have my head spinning. Arctic backcountry skiing and sailing in Svalbard?! I’m melting in the heat!
It is that time of the year, although, when we lock down our two-masted schooner, the 150-foot Noorderlicht, book our favourite hotel, and get our documents arranged for Svalbard Ski and Sail 2020. Backcountry skiing beneath the midnight sun.
How’d it Go?
We lucked out with climate and guests this spring. Svalbard Ski & Sail 2019 ended a wonderful good results, with a polar-bear close encounter, a lot of Arctic fox sightings, terrific sailing, and regularly great skiing. We only endured a day-and-a-half of low-vis skiing. We spent the rest of the nine-day mission beneath blue skies and riding enjoyable corn snow. Great!
By the time we had docked in Longyearbyen on our return leg, my colleague, Tom Wolfe, and I had committed to a further year. Much easier mentioned than accomplished, although, and now we discover ourselves in the logistics grunt of creating it occur. We’ll return to Svalbard May possibly two-9, 2020, I’m content to say. Phew!
I shouldn’t complain — a bit of arranging is nothing at all compared to the unbelievable adventure skiing we discovered in Svalbard. Verify out an great slide show of the week on Tom’s web page Right here.
Adventure Skiing (and Sailing!)
What’s adventure skiing, you ask. Other folks may possibly have distinctive answers, but I guess I’d say if the wildlife, locals, landscape, and general “scene” matter as a lot as the actual skiing, then you are adventure skiing. Want deep pow and max vert? No sweat, meet us in Canada and we can make that occur. Adventure skiing, although, encompasses extra than just great skiing. In truth, some adventure skiing requires virtually every thing but the skiing. Creating turns from the summit of Denali? Almost certainly heinous ski excellent, but most most likely epic adventure.
Svalbard falls someplace involving wonderful skiing and adventure skiing. On its great days, man, the skiing is primo. Endless glaciers, pristine summits, unforgettable three,000-foot corn runs. Add to that, although, the polar bear tracks criss-crossing sea ice, seals lounging by their swimming holes, seracs tumbling into the Barents Sea, the close to-abandoned Russian coal outpost of Barentsburg, sailing in the Higher Arctic with a crazy Dutch crew — and that is Svalbard. So great!
This spring the group and I met in Longyear right after extended flights from Europe and North America. We toured for quite a few days in Longyear prior to boarding the Noorderlicht. The world’s northernmost constantly inhabited town, Longyear provides a surprising array of great restaurants, shops, bakeries, and even a brewery. Caribou graze involving homes. You can ski-tour from your hotel. It is in contrast to any location I’ve been. I’m psyched to be going back!
Rob Coppolillo owns Vetta Mountain Guides, an international guide service primarily based in Boulder, Colorado, and Chamonix, France. Tom Wolfe owns Sawback Alpine, and lives in the paradise of Canmore, Alberta.