Lofoten Islands

Lofoten Islands

Overall Rating

Lofoten Islands

Lofoten Islands5/51
Lofoten Islands5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
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Lofoten Islands - Reviews

Lofoten Islands - Reviews

Simply Stunning

05/10/2023

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

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Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS EUROPE

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Discipline
    Telemarker
  • Your Age
    51-70
  • Ability
    Expert
  • Month Visited
    March
  • Admin Rating
    5

Simply Stunning

05/10/2023

It is hard to describe coming to the Lofoten Islands for the first time. The beauty is stunning & breathtaking in every way. A perfect combination of sea, mountains, villages, ice, snow and sublime backcountry skiing turns, earned!

Having travelled through Iceland in a previous winter, I anticipated some similarities between its northern coast and Lofoten Islands. But in reality, the Lofoten Islands knock Iceland out of the park. In fact it probably knocks most snowy coastal regions back down the pecking order.

On this same trip (in the second half of March 2023), I also visited another spectacular Norwegian ski-touring destination, Lyngen Alps, a few hundred kilometres further north of Lofoten Islands. The Lyngen Alps beat Lofoten islands in the BIG mountain backcountry ski realm, plus probably snow quality, but for all round oooh-aaah jaw-dropping ski-touring & travel, I don’t know that anywhere beats Lofoten. Although we are told that the Finnmark is the closest thing to perfection in Norway …… we shall see in 2024!

I explored Lofoten Islands after flying onto Evenes airport near Harstad. A fantastic all-wheel drive car with studded winter tyres was waiting for me. It gripped the often-glacial roads with absolute surety. Mind the local speed limits & speed cameras though. Fines in Norway are exorbitant (thanks for letting me off officer!).

After a warmup at the excellent Narvikfjellet ski resort, drove back toward Lofoten for a mix of skiing, photography, eating [local cod (skrei) & reindeer], scenic driving & reconnaissance. Spread the overnights between a guesthouse on a reindeer farm, an old fish coop turned into a seaside hotel, and in hotels in the ‘capital’, Svolvær. Along the way I only drove as far west as the tourist honeypot and fishing village of Henningsvær.

Svolvær is as good as anywhere to stay. It was quite lively when I visited due to a big fishing comp being on. But if being in a large town is not for you (regardless of how intriguing the place is), there are plenty of other options dotted throughout the islands, many in cracking seaside locations.

Driving through the islands and finding the starting points for ski-tours was straight forward. No doubt a local guide will make finding the best skiing and snow a little easier, but where was the fun in that! I picked a few spots where I skied faultless powder from top to bottom, with the last 250m vertical in amongst gorgeous open glades. The highest elevation peak I climbed was around the 800m above sea level mark, so nothing too nosebleed inducing! At other locations I hardly bothered getting out of the car as I had obviously missed the memo. The area around the formidable looking Geitgallien was particularly ‘busy’ and ostensibly tracked out. Some of the descents do look quite technical and definitely of interest, but for another day with an early start to get ahead of the ‘pack’. From my estimations the next most popular spot was on the opposite side of the fjord below Scout Kvittland, Pilan & Sautind. These gentler peaks, with less avalanche prone slopes, were quite tracked the day after a storm, but there were still plenty of pleasant turns to be had nonetheless. My earlier reconnaissance paid off when I snuck up Pilan via the opposite side of the range, avoiding the overflowing car parks on the Laupstad side. Overflowing meaning more than 10 cars! And to be fair, on that particular day I started too late to be a frontrunner. Regardless of where one went though, the scenery, the skiing and the overall experience were first rate.

The local ski hill near Svolvær is pretty good for easy powder turns during blizzards, plus the requisite waffles, brown cheese & jam at the ski café.

I was lucky enough to be in the hinterland of Lofoten on a clear night when an incredibly strong aurora borealis episode occurred. Just blows you away how insignificant it makes one feel as the waves of green & purple shimmer across the night sky for hours. Knowing that many tourists come to Lofoten just to see an aurora, being able to see one, whilst also doing everything else I’d planned was the icing on the cake.

I will come here to ski again for sure, but not alone and not just for skiing, although that is still the main reason to visit here in winter. You should come here too. Just sleep in when you do, so I can get up on the skin trail ahead of you!

Read more about the pros & cons of this backcountry ski region, plus loads of useful insight & info on the Lofoten Islands overview page.


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