Finnmark Ski Touring

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
6
Guiding ratio
1:6

Finnmark is the northernmost county in Arctic Norway.  The Finnmark Alps surrounding Oksfjord and Langfjord are home to many great alpine peaks with a long and reliable ski season, making this a perfect venue for late season arctic ski touring. The area lies northeast of the well known Lyngen Peninsula, but it’s a far quieter venue and is accessed from Alta in the far north, rather than Tromso.

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We go to Norway for the experience and this week didn’t disappoint – great company, Al’s routes and navigation were as ninja as ever, spectacular views and mostly great snow.  The communal area in the lodge was particularly good and self catering allowed more time to chat and get to know folk.
Rich Bloomfield

The area is amazing and the guiding was first class. Al was very safety conscious and was constantly looking out for potential dangers and safest route. I felt in very safe hands. Start times were good and were always based around getting the best snow conditions. All the routes were good but the Fjord to Fjord route was easily the best – lots of variety and stunning views.

John Cook

Trip overview

Finnmark is the northernmost county in Arctic Norway.  The Finnmark Alps surrounding Oksfjord and Langfjord are home to many great alpine peaks with a long and reliable ski season, making this a perfect venue for late season arctic ski touring. The area lies northeast of the well known Lyngen Peninsula, but it’s a far quieter venue and is accessed from Alta in the far north, rather than Tromso.


Skiing in Finmark

Finnmark is the northernmost county in Arctic Norway, lying between 70 and 71 degrees north.  The Finnmark Alps lie some 80km northeast of the popular Lyngen Peninsula – but Finnmark is a much quieter area for ski touring. The area has a unique micro climate, which results in much heavier snowfalls than surrounding regions – and being so far north, it enjoys a very long ski season. These ingredients make Finnmark a perfect venue for late season ski touring.

There are numerous excellent ski peaks with summit to sea descents in the region and at this time of year the snow pack is generally well stabilized, with powder still common on north facing slopes and good spring snow on other aspects. Most ski summits in the region are 800-1000m in height, starting straight from sea level.

Langfjord and Oksfjord are our main venues, but it is also possible to do some great traverses and multi peak link ups during the week, to make longer days.  Travel time to the area is one hours drive from Alta, with daily ski venues being reached in 5-45 mins from our accommodation.

This is a remote area, so our accommodation in the Finnmark Alps is at a self catering lodge in an idyllic location looking out over Burfjord, with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Recent Trip Report:

This trip travels on Friday out/Friday return, in order to make use of the best flight combinations.

Need further information? Enquire about this trip


Suitability

This is an intermediate/advanced level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3 and Tech Level 3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). You need previous ski touring experience to join this tour – if you are a strong/fit skier, just a few previous days will be enough. The week includes 5-7 hour days with generally steady climbs, but also some steeper terrain involving kick turns and the odd short boot track to reach summits. Typically we’ll be doing 900-1300m of ascent a day (but this is at at sea level, with day packs on) – so you can expect to be skinning for 3-5 hours a day. Type of ascent: we use 100% skinning on this tour – approx 6000m+ of skinning up, 6000m+ of skiing down, all at sea level.


Guiding ratio

One UIAGM guide skiing with 6 clients.


ABTOT Protected

This trip is protected against financial failure through our membership of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT) – Alpine Guides Ltd, Membership Number 5394.  For further information, please visit our Financial Protection page.

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Included in price

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All guides expenses
  • 2 nights accommodation in Alta, including breakfast
  • 5 nights accommodation in the Finnmark Alps (self catering, food included)
  • Travel during the trip in shared hire vehicle

Excluded from price (see course factsheet for extra cost estimates)

  • Evening meals in Alta
  • Drinks and Hill Snacks
  • Flights
  • Taxi to Airport
  • Insurance
  • Equipment hire

Accommodation

Our hotel in Alta is the excellent 4 star Scandic Alta Hotel, situated in the centre of town and just 10 mins from the airport. The Scandic is one of the best hotels in town, providing a great breakfast and is very close to shops, services and local bars and restaurants.

Our accommodation in the Finnmark Alps is at a self catering holiday house in an idyllic location overlooking Burfjord, with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.  It’s in an ideal location for exploring the area, with the nearest ski venues being just 5 mins drive away.

Free wifi is available, together with a well equipped kitchen, an outside terrace offering great views out across the ocean and a large lounge for hanging out in the evenings.  We will self cater and buy most of our food for the trip in Alta, plus there are 2 supermarkets in the village down the road for obtaining fresh bread and extra supplies during the week. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.  Duvets and pillows are provided, but you need to bring your own sleeping bag liner.

Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.

Detailed Itinerary

Friday

Fly from UK to Alta in Northern Norway. Overnight in Alta. Evening Briefing – your guide will run through kit checks and safety routines, before going on to discuss the current weather and mountain conditions and how these affect our plans. We’ll have maps and information on the area to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up.


Saturday

AM – Drive to the Finnmark Alps and drop our kit off at accommodation.  PM Day Tour close to our accommodation.


Sunday to Thursday

Ski touring in Finnmark. A wide variety of day tours are on offer, skiing from summit to sea. Outings are selected to cater for group interest, ski ability and the current snow and weather conditions. Possible outings include:

  • Laslletind – great warm up peak, close to our accommodation.
  • Koppartind – excellent views to Reinfjord and Arnoya, this peak can be skied from both north and south.
  • Stortinden – local classic overlooking Langfjord, reliable snow and a good variety of descents.
  • Middagstinden – lovely peak overlooking Oksfjord, great views and numerous descent options.
  • Some summits involve boot tracking to reach the highest point. The scenery in the area is outstanding.

Thursday PM Drive back to Alta, overnight at hotel in Alta.


Friday

Drive to Alta airport, flights home.

Location and Travel

Your meeting point for this trip is Alta (ALF), situated on the northern coast of Arctic Norway.


Arrival/Departure

The most convenient way to reach the Finnmark Alps is fly to Oslo, with connecting flights on to Alta airport.

Your guide will collect you from Alta airport between 14.00 and 18.00 on Friday 26th April 2019 (depending on peoples’ flight times) and drop off the following Friday morning 3rd May, in time for return flights from approx 6am (for later return flights, it’s a bus or 10 min taxi to the airport).

For transfer to the Finnmark Alps and travel during the trip, your guide will transport the team in a 9 seater minibus.


Flights

SAS offer flights from the UK, the best being Heathrow To Alta via Oslo:

Outward –  departing Heathrow at 07.05am Fri 26th Apr, arriving in Alta at 14.00. Other later departures/connections are possible flying via Oslo and Tromso. Check Skyscanner flight comparison site for your best option.

Return –  there are various options for returning to Heathrow on Fri 3rd May:

You can fly with SAS all the way, leaving Alta at 7.35 via Tromso (2hr connection), then Oslo (1hr connection – SAS say this is Ok in Oslo!) and finally to Heathrow, arriving 14.35.

Alternatively you can fly with Norwegian to Oslo 11.50-13.50, then SAS or BA from Oslo to Heathrow, arriving 18.30 – this option has a longer (3hr) connection in Oslo, so plenty of time!  Check Skyscanner for your preferred options.

Further information and travel links can be found on our Travel Planning page.

Fitness and Experience

Training

If you need to top up your fitness for this trip, please see our training guidelines.


Tech Levels

Please make a self assessment against these levels, and refer to the trip requirements. These are based on what types of snow and conditions you can confidently do regular linked turns in – and just as importantly, what conditions you begin to struggle in. (By ‘linked’ we mean moving from one turn into the next without traversing in between).

Tech Level 1
Intro Off Piste Skier (Advanced Piste Skier). You cruise reds, black runs are challenging but fun and have ventured off piste with varying degrees of success (ie deep snow is still something of a mystery…) *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Red – Aspirer*
Likely to say: ‘I’d love to learn how to ski well off piste and/or try ski touring’
Our Advice: Definitely go on an Off Piste Skiing Course to improve your ski technique first, before trying ski touring – you’ll get a lot more out of it that way around!

Tech Level 2
Improving Off Piste Skier. You enjoy black runs and the kind of tracked out off piste terrain found around many big resorts, but you haven’t skied too much in properly deep snow without a base to it yet. *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Silver – Intermediate*
Likely to say: ‘I’d like to ski well in powder/link lots of short radius turns/go ski touring’
Our Advice: An Off Piste Skiing Course is highly recommended. If you’d like to try ski touring, then do either an intro ski touring course or an intro level ski tour.

Tech Level 3
Confirmed Off Piste Skier. You can put down a reasonable set of tracks in powder, but difficult snow types – eg heavy wet snow, crusts, poor visibility or 40dg slopes – can all cause problems (though you can cope with them safely, if not elegantly!) *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Purple – Advanced*
Likely to say: ‘I’d like to handle difficult snow/steep slopes more confidently in better style’
Our Advice: Off piste coaching still useful. Intermediate off piste weeks are at your level too. If you want to get into ski touring, try a touring course or intro level ski tour. If you’re an established ski mountaineer, then intermediate level tours are generally suitable.

Tech Level 4
Advanced Off Piste Skier. You can put turns in through heavier snow and on icy 40dg slopes, but difficult breakable crusts and skiing a fresh track off piste in zero visibility are still somewhat challenging! *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Gold – Expert*
Likely to say: I’ve been skiing ten/twenty years – I’d like to do your ‘……’ tour.
Our Advice: You will enjoy our advanced level trips. If you are new to touring – then you could do a Haute Route with two or three days of skills training beforehand (but don’t overlook the physical fitness needed as well). Mileage is the best way to improve your ability level.

Tech Level 5
Expert Off Piste Skier. You can ski all snow types including crusts in control and are happy on slopes of 45dg or when putting in a fresh track in zero vis. *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Gold – Expert*
Likely to say: ‘Bring it on…’
Our Advice: Stay strong – and may the force be with you… Advanced level trips and ski expeditions are the way forward.


Fitness Levels

Please make a self assessment against these levels, and refer to the trip requirements. These are cardiovascular (CV) fitness and activity levels eg. running, cycling, hillwalking or competitive sports that get your heart and lungs working for extended periods of time (not strength training in the gym!). They include mountaineering fitness and ski fitness benchmarks for context.

Fitness Level 1
You do 1-2 hours of cardiovascular training/sport per week. On foot: you should be able to climb Snowdon from Pen y Pas in around 2 hrs carrying a day sack, or Bow Fell starting from Langdale in the Lake District in about 2 1/2 hrs. On skis: you are happy piste skiing all day with just the odd break for food and drink, but would struggle to ski off piste all day without finishing up very tired for the following day.

Fitness Level 2
You do 2-3 hours cv training/sport per week. At this level you should be happy doing either a 3-4 hr hillwalk, cycling 30 miles or mountain biking 2-3 hours without being exhausted. On foot: you should be able to walk from Ogwen Cottage in North Wales up Glyder Fach – Glyder Fawr – Y Garn – Ogwen in ~5hrs. Or in the Lake District Langdale – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Angle Tarn – Langdale in ~ 6hrs. On skis: you are capable of off piste skiing all day or doing a couple of hours skinning with out finishing up exhausted – ie you can do this for a number of days without taking a rest day.

Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours cv training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hr hillwalk, 50ml cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. On foot: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted. On skis: you can skin uphill at 300m/hr for 3-4 hrs a day (ie 8-1200m of ascent each day).

Fitness Level 4
You do 4+ hours CV training/sport per week. A 70+ mile cycle ride, or 20+ mile hillwalk on a weekend would hold no fears. If so inclined, you might be the kind of person who has done longer road sportives/challenge rides, a ~3.30hr marathon or other similar endurance events. Keen hillwalkers who happily knock off 3-4+ munros in a day also have this kind of fitness and endurance. On skis: you can skin at 400m/hr or could handle 4-6hrs skinning a day. (ie 1000-1400m+ of ascent each day).

Fitness Level 5
You do 5-6+ hours training for competitive sport per week, have a background in the same, or you are annoyingly talented! Either way, doing a 100 ml bike ride or about a 3hr marathon wouldn’t be unreasonable. On skis: you are happy skinning at over 400m/hr or could skin all day if neccesary (ie 1400m+ days).

Please be realistic in your assessment, and remember you need both the required fitness level and ski ability level in order to enjoy any given trip – it doesn’t matter how fit you are, if you can’t ski well enough you won’t keep up on the descents – and vica versa on the ascents! If your fitness or skills are in doubt there is a risk you could be excluded from an activity or required to leave the tour, if your participation could risk the safety, success or enjoyment of the rest of the party.

Equipment

Day Touring/BC Ski Course Equipment List

Just remember, every extra kilo on your back knocks 10% off your enjoyment on the descents – so try and keep the weight down!

Technical Clothing

  • Waterproof Jacket – preferably lightweight and breathable
  • Overtrousers/ski pants – preferably with side zips
  • Fleece mid layer or equivalent
  • Spare fleece or lightweight insulated duvet jacket
  • Socks – specialist ski socks or a warm loop lined pair of mountain socks
  • Wicking thermal top – not cotton please…
  • Thermal leggings or ski pants
  • Thin inner gloves
  • Warm ski gloves or mittens, if you suffer from cold hands
  • Warm hat

Personal Items

  • Water container – at least 1 litre
  • Personal medications and blister kit – regular meds, zinc oxide tape, compeed and painkillers etc
  • Ski goggles
  • Sun glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
  • Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
  • Wallet, passport and insurance docs

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac 25/35l – try and avoid ones covered in too many features, just ski and ice axe attachments required
  • Freeride boots or ski mountaineering boots – check detailed factsheet kit list for preferred boots
  • Skis with touring bindings – check detailed factsheet kit list for preferred skis and bindings
  • Velcro ski strap – to keep skis together on your rucksack if we need to carry them
  • Ski poles – with good size 5cm+ baskets (telescopic poles are not needed)
  • Climbing skins – they come with the skis if you hire your kit
  • Harscheisen (ski crampons) – they come with the skis if you hire your kit
  • Metal snow shovel – must be a full metal shovel (plastic blades don’t work in real avalanche debris!)
  • Avalanche probe
  • Avalanche transceiver – must be a modern digital model (older analogue models are now obsolete)
  • Harness, with 120cm sling and locking karabiner
  • Crampons – bring them if you have them
  • Ice Axe – bring if you have one

Your guide will have all other safety kit, first aid and survival equipment.


Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website, where we publish an annual review of the years best new skis, boots and touring equipment, plus a range of other interesting tips and recommendations. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!

Purchasing Equipment
Backcountry UK in Ilkley offer an excellent ski boot fitting service, one of the best ranges of ski mountaineering equipment in the UK and top notch advice.

Hiring Equipment
Please visit our Equipment Hire page for recommended hire shops in your resort, and Alpine Guides hire equipment price list.


Insurance

For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for the following activities: off piste skiing and ski touring in glaciated areas requiring the use of ropes, up to 5000m altitude. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury.

Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.


Insurance for UK residents

British Mountaineering Council. The gold standard in insurance for UK residents. Very competitive single trip or annual cover for all climbing activities. Use this link to book your BMC insurance.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you reciprocal health care in European countries. You can apply for an EHIC card online here or from most Post Offices. You need an EHIC in addition to your travel insurance.


European residents (non-UK)
Austrian Alpine Club. Available to all European residents. AAC insurance is cheap and works ok for minor accidents and rescues, but is not as comprehensive as many other insurance providers. The medical cover included would not be enough for complex treatment or a prolonged stay in hospital. It also doesn’t include cancellation cover. If you choose to use AAC we recommend you take out extra medical cover with another provider, to ‘top up’ the AAC medical limit, as well as a separate cancellation policy.


USA residents

Travelex. For US citizens – a range of policies with comprehensive cover.


For any nationality

Global Rescue. Cover offered to all nationalities via a combination of GR membership and their separate insurance policy.


If you choose an alternative provider, or if there is any doubt about the scope of your chosen policy we recommend that you send your insurer the link to the relevant Alpine Guides trip webpage, and ask them if cover extends to those activities and has the required components (search/rescue, medical, repatriation and cancellation). It’s worth mentioning that rescue and medical expenses in Switzerland can be significantly more expensive than in other countries, so a decent level of cover is required for Swiss tours.

We recommend that you send us your insurance details before the trip commences, and they must be brought to the course briefing at the start of your trip. However, we cannot check the detail of every individual policy, and it is your own responsibility to ensure you are adequately insured.

FAQ's

What happens to my deposit if I book a trip, but it isn’t confirmed to run due to insufficient bookings?

You may transfer your booking to different dates, a different course, or choose a full refund.

See our terms and conditions


What happens if the weather or snow conditions are poor, or the avalanche risk is high?

We will make every effort to stick to the itinerary, but sometimes its necessary to change plans and ski in a neighbouring area or even further afield. Many of our itineraries are designed with flexibility in mind, and it’s usually possible to ski in most conditions with some careful alternative planning.

Keeping the ball rolling - Val Claree


Does Alpine Guides ski with customers from overseas, including the USA and Canada?

Yes!

See our tips for overseas customers


Who goes on our trips?

We climb and ski with a broad range of ages and experience levels, and a large number of our customers come back year after year. We’ve guided 10 year old Ollie up the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland – now the youngest person to climb it. And 70 year old David has climbed the Matterhorn with us, as well as out-skiing people half his age!

The Matterhorn at 70 yrs young


How do I book a ski trip?

For scheduled ski trips it’s easy to book online, directly from your course page. For hire a guide/bespoke courses please get in touch for a quote.

More booking information


Is there an age limit on any of our ski trips?

Under 18’s must be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. There is no upper age limit, but please get in touch to discuss suitability if you are concerned about your age, with regard to fitness and pace.

See our fitness and training article


How do I rent ski equipment?

You can rent certain items of specialist equipment from us, and the rest can usually be hired in resort.

Ski equipment rental info


What happens if I need to cancel my course?

If you wish to cancel you must notify us in writing, where upon the following charges will be applied from the date we receive your notice of cancellation:

  • More than 8 weeks (56 days) before start date – loss of deposit.
  • Between 4 and 8 weeks (28-56 days) before start date – 50% of course fee or loss of deposit, whichever amount is greater.
  • Less than 4 weeks (28 days) before start date – full course fee.

See our terms and conditions


Can I book a single room on my ski trip?

Yes – this can be done during the online booking process. Please add the single room option to your order, and we will confirm availability asap.

More hotel information


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£1550