In May 2024, Elemental Adventure will be hosting a ski touring expedition to Svalbard, one of planet earth's most remote and awe-inspiring destinations. Our base will be MV Villa, a 42m repurposed merchant navy vessel that is ideal for exploring arctic waters with her Class B ice rating and 6 comfortable guest cabins. There are likely to be two six-day trips.
Earn Your Turns
The arctic archipelago of Svalbard offers almost limitless potential for ski touring in the most dramatic setting imaginable and May is the ideal month for skiing with the best chance of good weather and excellent snow conditions. Each day, MV Villa will be in position for our chosen tour. After breakfast, we will will go ashore and spend 2-5 hours ascending depending on the route, conditions and speed of the group. Descents will make the most of the conditions and spectacular scenery so that every turn can be savoured.
Originally a vessel for servicing buoys the length of the Norwegian coast, MV Villa was repurposed for arctic exploration, her refit being completed in 2020. She is the perfect vessel for this trip with ice breaking capability, plenty of space to relax after skiing, spacious cabins, 2 Zodiac dinghies and an elevated bridge from which to admire the dramatic scenery and arctic wildlife.
Her crew of 8 enable her to operate 24 hours a day meaning that passages can be undertaken day or night and meals can be prepared and served while under way, ensuring that time is maximised to ski in the best possible locations and conditions.
The crew will be complemented by 2 experienced and qualified ski guides and a polar guide who is experienced in tracking, finding and explaining arctic wildlife from polar bears to walruses and seabirds.
The archipelago of Svalbard lies between 74 and 81 degrees north, roughly halfway between Norway’s north coast and the North Pole. Bound in ice through winter, May is when the sea ice breaks up enough to allow access ashore and when you can experience midnight sun.
The terrain is rugged and remote with dramatic glaciers plunging to the sea and mountains rising from the sea to over 1700m.
The wildlife is diverse and the bridge of MV Villa is the perfect viewpoint from which to admire and photograph polar bears, reindeer, arctic foxes, whales and walruses.
Ski tours will typically begin each morning and will last 4-8 hours each day. Timing and duration may change based on weather and snow conditions. Because of the 24-hour daylight, the timing of tours is flexible if weather conditions dictate. On occasion we may ascend the side of one fjord before descending down to the sea into another where MV Villa will arrive to pick us up.
While the ascending and descending need not be especially technical (though it can be subject to group aptitude), the remote location and group nature of the trip mean that, to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the whole group, all participants must have:
- Experience of ski-touring
- The ability to ski downhill confidently in variable off-piste conditions.
- A good level of fitness to be able to ski competently after several hours of climbing.
We will be happy to discuss your ability and experience with you to ensure that we have well-matched groups.
Ski equipment is not available in Svalbard so it is essential to bring your own kit - ski-touring boots, skis, ski crampons and avalanche safety gear. Avalanche airbags are optional.
Snowboarders who are technically proficient and fit to be able to keep up with ski-tourers are welcome with split boards.
About the Trip
Exact dates are to be confirmed, but we anticipate that trips will include 5 or 6 days' ski touring with 6 or 7 nights on board and at least one night ashore in Longyearbyen. At this stage, trips can still be tailored to factor in specific requests.
Bookings will be taken by cabin or for an exclusive charter of the whole trip. Pricing (excluding flights and hotel accommodation) will be approximately €10,000 per berth or €100,000 for an exclusive charter.
While finer details are finalised, we are building up a waitlist for this trip which we expect to sell out quickly. If you would like to join, please contact us using the link below and let us know if you are looking for a berth, a cabin or a full vessel charter and we’ll be in touch.