Lofoten Islands

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Ski-touring in the Lofoten Islands Norway (photo Up Guides)
Ski-touring in the Lofoten Islands Norway (photo Up Guides)
Ski-touring Lofoten Islands Norway (photo Didac Guide)
Ski-touring Lofoten Islands Norway (photo Didac Guide)
The western Lofoten Islands near Reine epitomise this amazing place
The western Lofoten Islands near Reine epitomise this amazing place
The road to Reine in the Lofoten Islands Norway
The road to Reine in the Lofoten Islands Norway
Powder skiing Lofoten Islands
Powder skiing Lofoten Islands
Skinning up to the powder goods in the Lofoten Islands (photo UP Guides)
Skinning up to the powder goods in the Lofoten Islands (photo UP Guides)
Lofoten Islands skiing (photo Didac Guide)
Lofoten Islands skiing (photo Didac Guide)
Powder skiing Lofoten Islands (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Powder skiing Lofoten Islands (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Svolvaer is the main town in the Lofoten Islands Norway & has a small ski area above it called Kongstind
Svolvaer is the main town in the Lofoten Islands Norway & has a small ski area above it called Kongstind
Kongstind ski area & lift in the Lofoten Islands
Kongstind ski area & lift in the Lofoten Islands
View from the banked slalom at Kongstind ski area above Svolvaer, Lofoten Islands
View from the banked slalom at Kongstind ski area above Svolvaer, Lofoten Islands
Skinning up to go down, Lofoten Islands skiing (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Skinning up to go down, Lofoten Islands skiing (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Powder skiing Lofoten Islands (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Powder skiing Lofoten Islands (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Villages like Henningsvær are in spectacular locations in the Lofoten Islands
Villages like Henningsvær are in spectacular locations in the Lofoten Islands
Lofoten is full of fabulous sea-side accommodations like Lofoten Apartments
Lofoten is full of fabulous sea-side accommodations like Lofoten Apartments
The northern lights are another big reason to come to Lofoten in winter
The northern lights are another big reason to come to Lofoten in winter
Seaside cottages like Svinøya Rorbuer in Svolvær are fabulous
Seaside cottages like Svinøya Rorbuer in Svolvær are fabulous
Skinning up to go down, Lofoten Islands skiing (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Skinning up to go down, Lofoten Islands skiing (photo Northern Alpine Guides)
Steep & deep at Lofoten Islands (photo - Northern Alpine Guides)
Steep & deep at Lofoten Islands (photo - Northern Alpine Guides)
Says it all really, visit Lofoten Islands Norway
Says it all really, visit Lofoten Islands Norway

Lofoten Islands

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Eskimo Freeride Cat Skiing Tours

Lofoten Islands Norway

The Lofoten Islands of Norway provide an arctic ski experience like no other. Connected to the Norwegian mainland by a series of bridges, the island chain provides amazing ski touring & freeride descents in spectacular coastal landscapes. Despite its location above the Arctic Circle, temperatures are relatively mild (due to ocean current influences) when compared to the usual extremes in other places during winter.

It is not hard to see why Lofoten is increasingly popular with ski-tourers & freeriders. Exceptional peaks rising directly from the sea providing descents of up to 1,000m vertical are a serious drawcard. The gorgeous coastal villages situated incredibly on small islands dwarfed by mountains, fabulous accommodation & food, plus the chance to see the Northern Lights make a visit here a no-brainer.

Pros & Cons for Lofoten Islands

Pros

  • Reliable snowpack until late in the season (June).
  • Seemingly endless backcountry powder skiing, split-boarding & ski-touring options.
  • Easy adventure above the Arctic Circle.
  • Stunning peaks, surroundings & views.
  • Terrain includes everything from easy bowls to challenging couloirs and trees.
  • Some beautiful villages & accommodation options.
  • Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) viewing possible, even probable in some months.

Cons

  • Weather can be extreme (wind, snow, rain) & quickly changeable.
  • Some 'easy access' terrain can get tracked quickly during the peak season.

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective)

  • Limited to no public transport on the islands; private car, rental car or guide required to get to the start of the ski terrain.
  • Isolated & dark in winter, long days later in the season.
  • Becoming increasingly popular.
  • Access to the ski terrain is all human-powered on skins or boot pack (with a couple of exceptions!).

Skiing, Snowboarding & Terrain

The Lofoten Island chain consists of 4 main islands, is around 75km long with a highest point of 1,161m on Higravstinden. The mountains rise precipitously from the sea, but the ski terrain has something for all abilities from gentle bowls to steep couloirs. Summits typically skied in the Lofoten Islands are less than 1,100m high, with descents going all the way down to sea level. Some tree-skiing is possible at lower elevations. Most routes start and finish at the same place, allowing for simple logistics to a roadside car park. As with the other well-known Norwegian ski-touring regions (Lyngen Alps, Sunnmøre & Finnmark), "skin-up, ski-down" is a reasonable motto for any visit to the area.

Whilst all the best skiing & snowboarding (splitboarding!) here is human-powered on skins to get up the hill, but in case you were wondering, for skiing of the lift-assisted variety, there are two very small ski areas in the Lofoten Islands - Kongstind and Stamsund. Kongstind Alpine Centre (check out the trail map) is a few minutes’ drive north of Svolvaer. It has 235m of vertical served by a T-bar lift and operates during most afternoons. Stamsund has nearly 300m vertical of its ski lift but opening and closing times are harder to define. Regardless, you are here to climb without lifts, so unless you need to practice for a slalom race, stay away from them! The nearest real ski resort is in Narvik (read below).

Where are the Lofoten Islands Norway?

The Lofoten Islands are located above the Arctic Circle & start 90km west of the Norwegian city of Narvik. The archipelago's main town of Svolvær is 220km (over 3hr by road) west of Narvik & 940km north of the Norwegian capital, Oslo. Driving distance to Svolvaer from Oslo is over 1,400km & potentially 20hr on the road, making flying the only reasonable option to get there.

Flights to the area can be direct to the Harstad-Narvik airport at Evenes (EVE) or via Bodo (BOO) to Svolvær (SVJ). An alternative option on the islands is further west of Svolaer at Leknes (LKN), with flights to the small airport also coming via Bodø. Regardless of where you land in the region, all flights are via Oslo (OSL) & flight times are around 2 to 3hr. Search & book flights to Evenes or Svolvær here.

Public transport in the region is of little use in winter and it is essential to get a rental car if not part of an organised tour. It is possible to access most portions of the Lofoten Islands ski terrain via car when based in Svolvær or other central village. If not travelling as part of a tour, cars can be rented at Evenes airport or Narvik. Search & book car rentals from Evenes airport or Narvik here.

Lofoten Islands Accommodation

The Lofoten archipelago jutting out into the Norwegian sea. One road, the E10, links the four main islands & all the villages to the largest settlement of Svolvær - a town of 2000 people. The town is spread across numerous small islets and is an excellent base for exploring the region. A stunning array of hotels are dotted around its beautiful harbour. The town has a small ski centre nearby called Kongstind - good for some leg stretching turns before a serious tour. Nearby Kabelvåg provides a ready alternative with numerous houses & apartments for rent.

Search & book here for all Lofoten Islands accommodation at Svolvaer & Kabelvåg.

Beyond Svolvaer & Kabelvåg there are numerous lodging options all through the archipelago ready to provide an authentic Norwegian ski touring & freeride experience. Many of the lodgings are guesthouses, holiday homes, cabins or apartments, often converted from historic fishing industry buildings, so locations are more often than not absolute waterfront. Another village worth visiting and spending a few nights in is Henningsvær, 20km southwest of Svolvaer.

Search & book here for all Lofoten Islands accommodation at Henningsvær.

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at Lofoten

Another of Lofoten’s geographical benefits are shared with much of the Arctic - its proximity to the stunning phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights).

The Northern Lights can be viewed from September to April. You need a clear night with no light (artificial or moon!) & the right solar activity. The forecast for the northern lights (yep, there’s a forecast!) can be viewed here.

Nearby Ski Resorts

Away from Lofoten, Narvikfjellet is the closest 'real' ski resort option. Its piste trails seemingly ending right in the Narvik city centre; however it is over 220km (3 to 4hr drive) from Svolvaer. From Narvik, the railway into Sweden links the city with the interesting Swedish Lapland trio of Riksgransen, Bjorkliden & Abisko.

Review

The Powderhounds will attempt to visit the Lofoten Islands next season in March. Who wants to come? Stay tuned for our photos & insights.

See how the rest of the European ski resorts compare on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours in or near Lofoten Islands

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Lofoten Islands Norway Ski Touring
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY SKI TOUR
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Ski Days
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Fully hosted & guided small group backcountry ski touring exploring one of the most beautiful sites in Europe, the Lofoten Islands on the Arctic coast of northern Norway. Stay in a fisherman's cabin & ski powder from a different summit every day down to the sea. Private singles or groups apply for your best dates.
Price p/p From price based on 6 nights in shared cabin lodgings.
Base/invoice currency is in EURO inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,165
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