Svalbard, Norway

Our trip begins in the town of Longyearbyen, on the island of Spitsbergen in the archipelago of Svalbard, which is part of Norway. Svalbard sits between 74 and 81 degrees north, about half way between the mainland and the North Pole. The 60 percent of entire landmass of Svalbard is covered in ice, the landscape punctuated by 5,000 foot mountains and deep icy fjords. This is a truly remote and wild part of the world. Home to lots of wildlife including polar bear, walrus and the blue whale. This majestic setting will be our playground for 10 days of world-class skiing.
During our trip, we will make our home aboard the SkyDancer, a 73-foot steel hull schooner, custom-built for Arctic sailing. The SkyDancer sleeps 10 guests; 6 in 3 highly comfortable double cabins, and 4 more in a quad bunk upfront. In addition, there are two guest toilets, one with a shower and a heated floor for added comfort. There are 2 large salons, one deck saloon with an all-around view, and comfortable couches. This is a perfect area for reading, planning our days, or just hanging out. The second salon is down below, equipped with a kitchen and a large table for the entire crew to have meals together. Comfortably, the central heating with personal controls in each room will keep you warm and dry.

Each day we begin our ski day by climbing in the zodiac and heading to shore. We spend most of our time along the stunningly picturesque and remote west coast line of the island of Spitsbergen. Once ashore, we will put skins on our skis, clip in and begin to hike. You can expect 6-8 hour days with 3-7 thousand vert of ascent. Of course what goes up, must come down… and your efforts will be reward with breathtaking views, wild ski terrain and with any luck a whole lot of powder turns. This is backcountry skiing and ski mountaineer like you’ve never had before.

Because this place is so remote, wild and the weather can change at anytime, we also staff the trip with 2 IFMGA guides. Furthermore, because it is alway possible to encounter a polar bear while skiing, the guide will always carry a gun..not to shoot the bear necessary, but more to try to scare it off. We have yet to discharge one of our guns, but we must be prepared should we encounter a polar bear too close.

Average temperatures range between 22 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and in May the sun never really goes down. We’ll try to keep on a normal schedule, but sometimes weather and travel nudge us to switch it up a bit. No biggie though, were in the land of mid night sun, and skiing down a couloir with the sea below at 2am in the Arctic makes for good stories.

Basing on a boat is a great way to enjoy a ski vacation. We have no commute. We wake up every morning only minutes from clipping into our skis. At the end of the day, we step on the boat to Apres Ski with all our friends as we motor to our next destination.

Our hosts, Nick and Estella are also a big part of the experience. The SkyDancer is their home, and aboard we are invited into their world. All the meals are outstanding and plentiful. Dinner is served family-style, and always plentiful and tasty. Breakfast is more buffet style, so we can all eat when we choose as we prepare for our day. Lunch is sandwiches and other snacks the each of us will choose and put together on our own from leftover breakfast and other goodies Estella sets out for us.

Skis With Alpine Touring bindings

We recommend a touring ski with a waist between 105cm and 116. Skis should be equipped with touring binding, preferably tech style bindings.

Climbing Skins

Skins need to be in good condition and cut to fit your ski.

Ski Touring Boot

Boots need to be compatible with your bindings. Boots must have a walk mode.

Ski Crampons

Ski Crampons must be compatible with you bindings and ski waist width.

Boot Crampons

We highly recommend aluminum crampons. Make sure they work with your ski boots.


Harness must fit over ski clothing, be light weight and in good condition. You should also have 2 locking carabiners and a belay device.

Ice Axe

Ice Axe needs to be light weight and short (Less than 55cm).

Ski Backpack

good ski pack should be light weight and have a dedicated pocket for your avalanche rescue gear and be between 35-50 liters.

Avalanche Rescue Gear

You will need a shovel and probe. The Shovel should have an extendable handle, an aluminum blade and fit into you pack without sticking out. Make sure your probe is in working order.

Avalanche Beacon

Your beacon should be a modern digital beacon. Come with new batteries in your beacon.

Ski Helmet

While we don’t require you to ski with a helmet we do highly recommend it.


Light or medium weight beanie.

Buff/Neck Gaiter

We recommend a lightweight buff as it has many uses.


We really like goggles with changeable lenses for use in bright and low light. They should also be compatible with your helmet.

Sun Glasses

Even if you always prefer to ski in goggles, sun glasses are needed for the up. Goggles will get fogged with sweat.

Warm Gloves

How warm depends on you. We recommend a durable well fitting ski glove.

Light Gloves

Lighter weight gloves are recommended for hiking up to reduce sweating.

Hard Shell Jacket

Waterproof/breathable jacket with ventilation.

Light Insulating Jacket

Breathable light insulating jacket.

Mid to Heavy Insulating Jacket

When temps are cold, you will be happy for a nice warm jacket.

Top Base Layer

We really like sun hoodies.

Ski Pants

We recommend a light option or a more waterproof option.

Bottom Base Layer


Ski Socks

We prefer light weight socks.


50 SPF or greater. Make sure your tube is not old as sunscreen can lose it’s effectiveness over time.

Lip Screen

Make sure it has SPF.

Small First Aid Kit

This should contain blister repair material, over the counter pain killers and a few bandaids. We will have a full sized med kit on the boat as well as field kits with the guides.

10 days / 10 nights (May 13-23, 2020)

Ideally you should arrive the evening before the the scheduled start day. We recommend the Radisson Blu Polar. Although it is not mandatory to arrive the day before the start date, it does give a bit of a buffer incase luggage or flights are delayed.

Day 1: Transport to Sailboat

Move into your room, organize gear, briefing and dinner. Plan on moving onto the boat between 10 and 1pm. You should plan on using the morning to buy alcohol, specialty items or any last minute needs.

Day 2-10: 9 full days of backcountry skiing/ Ski mountaineering

Boat living, all meals, scenery and good times with friends new and old.

Day 10: Departure

Don’t plan on leaving until late afternoon or evening. We do not spend our last night in Tromso so we cannot guarantee you will make an early flight.

You may also be interested in: Sail to Ski Lyngen Alps

Sail to Ski Svalbard Pricing: $7,800 per person. Contact us for group pricing.

Included in Price:
  • 2 IFMGA/AMGA certified Mountain Guides
  • Ship Captain and Chef/Deckhand
  • 7 nights accommodations on SkyDancer
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner during trip
  • Towels and bedding
  • Memories to last a life time
Not Included in Price:
  • Flight to and from Tromso
  • Hotels before or after the trip
  • Alchohol
  • Personal Insurance


May 13-23, 2021

*Custom dates available


*Group pricing available.



Ski Svalbard
"My trip with Winslow was exhilarating and challenging. She helped me with the skills that made our backcountry ski experience memorable. It was a rewarding experience that took me outside my comfort zone and I loved every minute of it. Thank you Winslow!"
- Bob S.


We specialize in designing custom and private trips, perfect for you or a group. Our team of highly experienced, certified, professional guides will teach you the skills, and lead you there and safely home.