This trip is a true Arctic Expedition to the west coast of Spitsbergen, an island well above the Arctic Circle in the Svalbard archpilago. We focus on backcountry skiing/ski mountaineering between the remote fjords, anchoring in a different anchorage each night. Many of the mountains and ridges have never been skied before and our guides are always looking for nice first descents. There is a diversity of slope grades, and we will plan our routes to fit people of all backcountry touring abilities and interests. Most people use AT (randonnée) skis, but split-boards or telemark gear is appropriate as well if the user is capable on such gear. We usually spend about 6-8 hours in the mountains each day.
This is not a “sailing trip”. We will, of course, cruise under sail whenever conditions allow but the Skydancer primarily serves as our movable backcountry hut, the best option to access ski terrain.
We need everybody to arrive on May 15 (Trip 2017-1), May 22 (Trip 2017), or June 2 (Trip 2017-3) We will meet you at the Longyearbyen airport and have transportation to the Skydancer arranged. We will board the boat on the afternoon of day 1 and depart early evening after a trip to town for souveniers and beer, wine, and liquor.
We suggest flying in on the 10:10 Oslo -13:05 Longyearbyen SAS flight. If you choose to arrive a day earlier you will be responsible for your own accomodations.
Depending on the desires of the group, the weather, and the proposed itinerary, there may be a chance to ski on the evening of Day 1.
These are our designated ski days and we have 24hrs of daylight to work with each day. We will wake up eat breakfast, assess conditions and route plans, go to land, ski as much as possible with the best conditions possible, eat lunch, ski some more, eat dinner, move the boat and sleep. Repeat in any order that you like since it won’t ever be dark on this trip.
We will be back in Longyearbyen Harbor around 9-10 am. We will pack up and move off the boat and the majority of you will fly out that afternoon. If you want to extend you stay we can recommend a hotel in Longyearbyen just let us know what standard you would like.
The weather in Spitsbergen is unpredictable. We will have access to marine weather while on board and will do our best to plan our moves, anchorages, and skiing appropriately, but be prepared to be flexible with our itinerary so that we can provide the best skiing and the safest adventure possible.
TRAVELLING TO LONGYEARBYEN
S/Y SkyDancer sleeps 10 guests (2 guides and 8 guests) in comfortable cabins. There are 3 double bunk bed cabins and one 4-bunk cabin in the front. There are two guest toilets and one shower. She has 2 large saloons--one deck saloon where you can enjoy the all round view on comfortable couches, and also a nice and warm saloon down below where you would prefer to have your meals together, have a chat, coffee or watch a DVD. The central heating throughout the Ship keeps it warm, dry and comfortable on board. It also provides us with unlimited heated water for showers. We have plenty of fresh water at all times with 300l/h watermaker and huge tankage. She is equiped with all navigation aids and safety equipment for sailing in high latitude waters. The Ship has a SABRE 280 hp engine and has a cruising speed of 8-9 knots. Large generators ensure plenty of power for your laptop, camera etc. Please be sure to have Euro style adapters for electronics.
This is a ski expedition. We will ski as much as weather, physical fitness, and your desires allow.
ACCOMODATION AND TRANSFER
We will meet you at the Longyearbyen Airport and have a van and trailer to transport you and your gear to the ship. We will depart on the same day you arrive. Please be sure to travel “carry-on” with your ski boots as well as a bare bones kit from your home to ensure a successful trip.
If you choose to arrive early or stay in Longyearbyen late, you will be responsible for your accomodations. You are responsible for all meals and drinks in Longyearbyen, as well as any alcohol you would like on the Skydancer.
Guides will carry VHF radios for communication with the boat and within the group. An additional VHF radio will also be handed out for every 4 guests. If you own a marine band radio, feel free to bring it.
A Delorme InReach satellite texting device/SOS will be with the group at all times for emergencies.
A satellite phone will be on board for emergencies.
Sea sickness has rarely been a problem on these trips as we sail relatively short distances and are in relatively protected waters. However, we do recommend that you bring some medication for sea sickness just in case.
BOOKING CONDITIONS, TRIP INSURANCE, CANCELLATION POLICY
A 50% deposit is required to secure you place on this trip. If you cancel prior to 120 of the trip’s start date, you are entitled to a 50% refund of your deposit. Within 120 days of the start date no refund will be available. These expeditions are planned well in advance and we cannot afford to run trips with empty spots.
The final, non-refundable 50% is due 60 days prior to the trip’s start date.
Exceptions will be made to the refund policy on a case by case basis if we are able to fill your spot.
Trip insurance and Rescue Insurance are required. We recommend Global Rescue
Visas are not required to visit Svalbard. Please make sure your passport is current.
Please be sure to fill out the attached medical form and let us know of any allergies, medications, or physical issues.
Please come prepared to skin or climb up to 5,000 vertical feet per day. There are shorter tours available, but you will want to be in excellent fitness in order to ski and climb every day of the trip.
You will have time in Longyearbyen to purchase alcoholic beverages if you desire.
ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
If you have any issues with your teammates, guides, or crew, please communicate with us immediately so we can resolve them to the best of our abilities. Communication is an essential part of any successful expedition. We cannot solve a problem if we don’t know about it.
YOUR CAPTAIN AND YOUR GUIDES
Your Captain Nick and Crew are very experienced sailing in Arctic waters and will do the best to make you feel at home. Please remember that the Skydancer, literally, is their home—treat it as such.
Captain Nick will have final say on all safety decisions while on the Skydancer or in the Zodiac. Guides will have final say on all decisions while climbing and skiing. Failure to follow the guidelines set by the Captain and the Guides has the potential to endanger all the guests and end the trip prematurely.
There is a washer/dryer on board but due to limited water capacity we recommend that you do not plan on doing laundry aboard the Skydancer. Pack accordingly.
o 30-40 Liter Backpack (I am bringing the Mammut Light RAS 30 airbag pack as well as a Mammut Light 30 Liter Spindrift (non-airbag pack)
o Skis (w/ Dynafit binders) We strongly recommend tech bindings. Those bringing Fritchi or Duke style bindings are responsible for their own respective spare parts/repair kits.
o Skins (lightweight versions save considerable weight as well as bulk)
o Ski Poles (1 Black Diamond Whippet optional)
o Shovel (make sure it fits well in your pack)
o Beacon (make sure you have new batteries, plus an extra set)
o Ski Straps
o Ski Boots
o Lightweight Aluminum Ski-Boot Crampons
o Ski Crampons (required!)
o 2 locking carabiners
o 2 non-locking carabiners
o 1 double-length Sling (120 cms)
o 1 short Prusik (http://www.backcountry.com/sterling-hollow-block-6.8mm-x-13.5)
o (1) 16cm ice screw
o Lightweight Ice Axeblack diamond raven
Personal Gear for Touring:
o Helmet (optional)
o (2) 1 Liter Nalgene Bottles or other hydration system
o Thermos (optional)
o Puffy Coat (Down or Synthetic)
o Hardshell Jacket (I prefer a lightweight one as opposed to a downhill ski Parka)
o Hardshell Pants (I prefer very lightweight as I will spend 99% of my time in Schoeller Soft Shell)
o Soft Shell Pants with built in Gaiter
o Layered Clothing for Ski Touring (be prepared for both hot and cold days)
o 2 Pairs of Ski Gloves (one lightweight for uphill), Warm Hat
o 3-4 Pair ski socks
o Goggles, Sunglasses, Baseball Cap
o Sunscreen, Lip Stuff, Small Stuffsack (for personal gear or lunch)
o Casual Clothes for boat living/happy hour
o Boat shoes: Crocs, flipflops, or other rubber soled/no-mark shoes
o Ipone, charger, extra battery pack
o Batteries for Beacon, Radio, etc.
o Ipad, book, kindle, ipod, headphones, speaker, etc…
o Personal Travel Items: Dop Kit w/ contacts and fluid
o Electrical adapters
o Energy Food: Gu, Shot Blocks, Clif Bars.
o Handi-Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
o Snack Food
Group Gear Provided:
o Linens and Towels are provided
o Spare skis and bindings (ONLY tech compatable)
o Group Medical Kit/Drug Kit, Group Repair Kit
o Ropes, Glacier Travel Gear, Pickets
o Group Emergency Shelter, Rescue Sled Kit
o Emergency Communication Device (InReach Delorme Satellite Texter)
o GPS System, maps
o VHF Radios, chargers, manuals
o Satellite Phone available on the Skydancer for emergencies and limited use.
There are linens and blankets in each berth, so a sleeping bag is not necessary. Please do not forget electrical adapters
First Mate Torill Estella goes to great lengths to prepare fresh, delicious meals. Please give us advance notice if you have food allergies, intolerances, or preferences. Guests will prepare there lunches wach day with food provided by the Skydancer. However, if you prefer certain snacks or energy food or drinks, you must provide this for yourself.