East Coast Nordic Skiing Expedition

This extraordinary expedition enables total immersion in the most beautiful winter landscapes of Spitsbergen. Travel through remote areas where few people have ever ventured and journey through glacial valleys where reindeer shelter to the ice floe of the east coast where polar bears meet in the spring... This magnificent crossing of Spitsbergen, connects Sassendalen to the east coast in the spirit of the great polar expeditions. A completely autonomous 12 day expedition Nordic skiing with pulks.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Flight to Longyearbyen

    Flight to Longyearbyen Welcome to Longyearbyen, we will greet you at the airport and escort you to your accommodation in the city under the light of the midnight sun.

  • Day 2 Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen Distribution, verification, and familiarization with our equipment ready for tomorrows departure by tank. Today is a chance to meet everyone, to prepare for our adventure and to explore the northernmost city on the planet, Longyearbyen.

  • Day 3 Rabotbreen Glacier

    Rabotbreen Glacier Into the wilderness. We load our expedition material and set off in a tank towards Rabotbreen glacier, the starting point of our expedition, far from civilization...

  • Days 4 to 5 Glacier de Rabotbreen et d'Ulvebreen.

    Glacier de Rabotbreen et d'Ulvebreen. Today, the great crossing can begin. Once our equipment is loaded into our pulkas, we leave camp and head towards the east coast of the island which is covered with pack ice for much of the year. Over two days, we travel along glaciers in an Arctic atmosphere, immersed in infinite and limpid landscapes which only stop at the silhouettes of mountains ...

  • Days 6 to 10 Across the Pack Ice to Ingelfield Bay

    Across the Pack Ice to Ingelfield Bay The valley finally opens up onto the frozen sea, a grandiose spectacle of the pack ice which covers the east coast of Spitsbergen. Depending on the weather we move on the snow or ice, past seals basking in the sun. This is Polar bear territory, we may have the chance to see the magnificant bears which dominate these lands.

    Our progression over the pack ice is very playful, what an incredible feeling to be able to move across this frozen sea between icebergs seized by ice.

    We arrive in Ingelfield Bay where the imposing bluish ice front 3 kilometers wide of the Nordsysselbreen glacier creates a special atmosphere. We set up our camp near this ice giant.

  • Days 11 to 13 Traversing glaciers to the valley of reindeer

    Traversing glaciers to the valley of reindeer Next, we leave the pack ice and head up onto the Nordsyssel glacier. We cross a pass at 230 m which overlooks the surrounding valleys and offers a magnificent views of the area. Then we head down to the Kjellström valley and spend the night near a frozen lake. Over the following days, each valley is an opportunity to discover a unique world: Kjellström, Lundström, and finally Reindalen, an isolated valley where many reindeer come to spend the winter.

  • Day 14 Reindalen - Longyearbyen

    Reindalen - Longyearbyen We finish our descent into the largest valley of Svalbard - it is more than 40 km long - and we set up camp there for one final night.
    The tank will then join us to drive us to Longyearbyen where we will find the comfort of our guesthouse.

  • Day 15 Longyearbyen

    Longyearbyen Relax and visit Longyearbyen and the Polar Museum. Other activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling
    or ice cave exploration are also possible (subject to availability).

  • Day 16 Final day

    Final day Airport transfer in the very early morning

Please note that this itinerary, including walking distances and times, is indicative. Our guides aim to provide the adventure that is best suited to the weather, your interests and the demands of the group. Please be aware that in order to achieve this, changes to the programme may be made.

Dates & prices

Departures for French-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Departures for English-speaking groups:

No departure for now

Trip code: ENSPSK2

Included

  • All transfers as detailed in the itinerary
  • Accommodation including three nights in a guesthouse in Longyearbyen
  • Full supervision by an experienced professional guide
  • Full board except for a last evening meal in Longyearbyen
  • Cold weather technical equipment  - please see 'trip details' for more information about the high quality equipment we provide on this trip ('practical info' / 'equipment')

Not included

  • Registration fee: €18 per person (free for under 12s)
  • Flights
  • The final evening meal in Longyearbyen (~ 30€)

Additional Activities

Please let us know if you would like to reserve any of the following optional activities:
  • Svalbard museum: from €9

Notes

Level 5/5: Extreme

Our extreme adventures are only for those in in very good physical shape. Experience in the chosen activity/activities is mandatory as is a positive attitude. This is a demanding nordic skiing winter expedition in the land of Polar Bears.

Physical preparation: You must know how to ski to participate in this type of trip. Proper control, good stamina and ease getting on and off your skis are required. This trip begins with training so you can get accustomed to your equipment and enjoy a smooth start to warm your muscles and avoid injury.

Health and fitness: Perfect health is required. For these trips, we stress the difficulty of getting help for an emergency evacuation. Radio links are non-existent and health centers are very often far away. Your guide is a qualified first aider and will always carry a full first-aid kit but we recommend that you bring your own personal first aid supplies (see equipment list for details). A consultation with your doctor is a prerequisite for any trip;please explain clearly that you are going to the Arctic in weather conditions that may be very severe and require excellent health.

Terms and conditions

Booking conditions

Booking a trip with us implies acceptance of the terms and conditions of sale. Each customer is required to complete a registration form and, subject to availability at the time of registration, travellers are expected to pay a deposit of 30% of the total price to complete their booking. Payments can be made online or by bank transfer. You will receive an e-mail with your booking confirmation.

Invoice procedure

Once your booking is confirmed you will receive an invoice by e-mail. The full balance of the trip must be received at least 35 days before your departure date.

For Polar Cruises, we require a deposit on the day of registration, 30% of the balance 3 months before departure and the full amount at least 45 days before departure. If registration is less than 35 days before departure then an invoice will be attached to this travel contract and the full amount must be paid upon registration. If registration is less than 15 days before departure, payment is only accepted by credit card or cash. If registration is less than 8 days before departure you may be charged an additional free for sending your ticket. If the full balance of the trip has not arrived 35 days before departure, we reserve the rights to cancel your registration without compensation.

Cancellation policy

If for any reason you have to cancel your trip we require a written confirmation of your decision so please contact us by e-mail, fax or letter.
The money you have paid will then be refunded according to the following deductions:
  • Cancellation received more than 30 days before the departure date: 15% of trip price will be retained
  • Cancellation received 30 to 21 days before the departure date: 45% of trip price will be retained
  • Cancellation  received within 20 days of the departure date: 100% of trip price will be retained
If we have to cancel a departure due to an insufficient number of participants, you will be informed no later than 21 days before departure and a full refund will be issued, you will not be entitled to further compensation. We reserve the rights to cancel departures due to exceptional circumstances which may impact the safety of participants. Such circumstances may include those amounting to 'force majeure' in which case participants will receive a full refund but they will not be entitled to any compensation.

Changes to travel contract

If you wish to make a change to your booking please contact us in writing. If your change is requested after our confirmation has been issued and more than 30 days prior to the departure date, your change will be subject to an amendment fee of 45€. If you request a change within 30 days of departure it will be treated as a cancellation of the original booking and will be subject to cancellation charges.

Pricing

The prices on our website are updated regularly and all of the prices we advertise are accurate when published. We reserve the rights to make changes to any of these prices. Before you make a booking we will give you the up-to-date price of your chosen holiday including any supplements, upgrades or additional activities you may have requested. If the number of travellers is fewer than the indicated number of participants on the website, a small group surcharge may be applied. For all of our trips we include details of services, prices and what is/is not included but please be aware that changes to the prices may be necessary in accordance with exchange rates or price changes of various components of the journey.

Contract transfer

If you are unable to travel for any reason, you can transfer your booking to another person, subject to the following conditions:
a) you must notify us in writing
b) the transferee must fulfil any conditions that apply to the booking
c) Change and cancellation fees apply
Both the transferor and transferee will be jointly and severally liable for payment of the total holiday price and other associated expenses. Some airline carriers treat name changes as cancellations and you may be required to pay for the cost of a new ticket.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take out personal travel insurance for your trip with us as soon as your booking is confirmed. We advice you to purchase a travel insurance policy which covers flight cancellations, luggage loss and emergency health care. Please look carefully at which activities are covered by your insurer and do not forget to bring all necessary documents and information with you (name of the company, name of the contract, insurance policy number, telephone number...)

Practical info

Staff

You will be welcomed at the airport by a representative from our friendly team and accompanied for the duration of your holiday. Armed with an abundance of experience and a wealth of knowledge our professional Svalbard team are experts in polar environments. All activities are lead by our qualified guides who are all English and French speaking outdoor practitioners with a passion for everything arctic. Please note that this adventure takes place in an isolated, polar environment where around 2500 Polar Bears live - your guide will explain safety rules which must be followed.

Food

Besides one evening meal in Longyearbyen  this trip includes full board. For your evening meal on the final day there are shops and kitchen facilities available or local restaurants for you to sample - we have lots of recommendations!

During our expedition, each person is responsible for their own equipment, including food, and will carry everything on pulks therefore light and easy to cook meals are favoured. In spite of this, plus the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the artic regions, we are proud of the varied, and frankly delicious food we provide even when camping. You will have the opportunity to try local products and several local delicacies. Each day will start with a hearty breakfast accompanied by plenty of tea and coffee or hot chocolate. You will carry a picnic lunch and plenty of snacks for the day and our hearty evening meals include three courses, soup, a hot main dish and a dessert.

Please let us know about any dietary requirements when you book the trip and we will work with you to cater for your needs. Please be aware that this is a participatory trip, your help cooking and setting up camp is expected. We want you to be a member of our team; not a sheep!

Accommodation

Longyearbyen: Warm guesthouse accommodation, double rooms or dormitories of 2,3 or 4 beds, hot showers and heating plus shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. (https://www.gjestehuset102.no/)

Camping: Normally we provide a 3 man dome tent per 2 people, for our expeditions we use light equipment which is suitable appropriate for Svalbards winter conditions. We will also provide a spacious mess tent for meal times, fully equipped with kitchen equipment including a table and stools. Please be aware that we expect all clients participate when setting up and packing down our camps.

Transportation

This trip involves transfer by Swedish Army tanks

Budget & exchange

The currency in Svalbard (and Oslo) is the Norweigian Krone, NOK
Please budget for:
  • Any additional activities
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • One evening meal in Longyearbyen, kitchen facilities, shops and restaurants available*
  • Food and perhaps accommodation during your transfer in Oslo

*We recommend a budget starting from €30 / 290NOK for a traditional meal in a local restaurant

Tips

Tipping is always appreciated - it is not obligatory and should be left to the discretion of each individual. If you are satisfied with your guides services we recommend a tip between 35 and 45€ per person.

Supplied equipment

We will provide you with all of the technical equipment you will need for this adventure with an impressive lightness, so that you spend a pleasant stay without suffering discomfort. We are proud of the range of high quality equipment we are able to supply which is suitable for Spitsbergens unpredictable winter climate.

Group Equipment

  • A 'Tepee' style mess tent with table, stools and cooking equipment
  • 'Ortlieb' water belts
  • A Sarsat beacon
  • A VHF radio
  • A heavy caliber rifle
  • An alarm gun
  • Mini-flares and penjectors for each group member
  • A copy of Spitsbergens animal records
  • A first aid kit
  • Books about local flora and fauna
  • Cooking stove
  • Thermos flasks

Individual Equipment

  • A large warm down jacket for when you are not participating in activities
  • Polar overalls
  • A suitable tent per two people (a 3 man dome tent for maximum space and comfort)
  • A self-inflating sleeping mat
  • A suitable synthetic sleeping bag ( -25°C)

Skiing Equipment

  • Nordic cross country skis
  • Ski poles
  • Warm snow boots for walking around camp (Sorel)
  • Pulks (mini sledges for carrying your gear)

Vital equipment

For Longyearbyen:
  • Your travelling clothes
  • A bathing suit

For the expedition:
  • A Long waterproof jacket (with a hood, Gore-Tex, Nikwax or equivilent)
  • Waterproof trousers/salopettes (Gore-Tex, Nikwax or equivilent)
  • A down jacket
  • At least two pairs of good under gloves and over gloves
  • Sunglasses (UV 400)
  • A ski mask (mandatory)
  • A thick balaclava (fleece)
  • Appropriate warm neck wear
  • A warm hat (wool)
  • A warm jacket (synthetic down)
  • Several sets of warm thermal underwear (long johns & long sleeved tops)
  • Thin socks and 3 or 4 pairs of thick socks
  • Sun cream and protective lipsal (not water-based - water freezes)
  • Any personal medication
  • Mini toiletary kit and toilet roll
  • A thermos flask
  • Head torch & spare batteries

Material

We prefer that you do not wear cotton clothing, including underwear, when participating in activities. When cotton gets wet from water or sweat it ceases to insulate and it does not dry fast. The best materials for outdoor activities are fast drying materials like polyester or materials which are warm when wet like wool.

The most powerful materials against the wind and rain are 'breathable' materials like Gore-Tex or Nikwax.

Our advice for keeping warm

It can be humid and cold in Spitsbergen, please think carefully about what clothes you pack especially for our winter trips. We will provide warm outer layers but the layers you wear next to your skin can make the biggest difference. We recommend:
  • No cotton
  • Bring dry spares of everything, including underwear and gloves
  • Wear multiple layers including:
  1. A warm breathable base layer
  2. A second thermal layer
  3. Wind and waterproof protective out layers

Helpful equipment

  • Head torch and spare batteries (+ March)
  • Toilet paper and a lighter
  • Tissues
  • Vaseline
  • Your camera (with suitable protective case)
  • Binoculars
  • A comfortable evening outfit for Longyearbyen
  • A small inflatable pillow
  • A knife
  • A notepad and pencil
  • Plastic bags for wet/dirty clothing
  • Handwarmers

Luggage

Please remember that your clothes will be redistributed into waterproof bags with limited capacity and carried on your pulks - try not to over-pack!

Medicine

Your guide is a trained first-aider and will carry a full first aid kit at all times during the trip. Please bring with you any personal medication that you may need such as inhalers, plasters and painkillers.

Passport

Travellers may need a passport which is vaild for at least three months after the last day of their stay. It is your responsibility to confirm your specific passport requirements and please be aware that proof of onwards travel may be required.

Visa

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is a visa-free zone.  It is your responsibility to confirm your specific visa requirements.

Mandatory vaccines

There are no specific health risks.

Health information & recommendations

Please be aware that your guide will be carrying a gun along with other safety equipment to alarm/repel any Polar Bears. This expedition takes place very far from emergency healthcare and medical care in Norway can be extremely expensive, we strongly advice all of our clients to invest in insurance before travelling.

Weather

  • The weather in the Svalbard archipelago is very changeable.
  • The average annual rainfall in Longyearbyen is only 200mm (7.87 inches), in London, England, the annual average is 594mm (23.4 inches) - Spitsbergen is a cold desert!
  • Average temperatures in Longyearbyen range from -16°C to -9°C (3.2°F - 15.8°F) in April and -3°C to -7°C (26.6°F - 19.4°F) in May.
  • Strong katabatic winds can occur here, particularly near to high glaciers but winds can generally be described as moderate and localised.
  • Dark polar nights occur from 14th November to 29th January, the full moon shines across the snow creating a beautiful gliterring winter landscape. Then, from 19th April to 23rd August, the sun shines constantly, uninterrupted, high in the sky.

Electricity

In Spitsbergen the standard Europlug socket with two round prongs is used, 230V with a frequency of 50hz.

Local time

Svalbard uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) +1 hour and Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed here.

Topography

  • The Norweigian Svalbard archipelago is the closest territory to the North Pole; Spitsbergen is the name of the largest island.
  • Svalbard covers an area of around 39146 square miles (63000km2) and two thirds of this polar world are constantly covered by ice.
  • The archipelago was deserted by human civilisation for a very long time but today has over 2600 inhabitants.
  • The archipelago has 3 National Parks, 3 Nature Reserves, 15 Ornithological Reserves (bird reserves) and 3 Botanical Reserves.

Sustainable tourism

As adventure and wilderness travel experts who run trips to some of the most remote parts of the world, we take responsible tourism very seriously. We respect the ‘Leave No Trace’ outdoor ethical code and try to explore this beautiful location whilst causing minimal environmental damage.

In the Polar Regions the ecological balance is delicate so we ask that you are particularly careful regarding the conservation of the sites we explore. We aim to leave our camping spots even cleaner than when we arrived and, as a company, we participate in the Clean Up Svalbard programme. We support the laws, advice and recommendations which aid the conservation and protection of this unique arctic paradise. This is reflected in our trips, for example, we do not visit Ornithological Reserves during nesting season and never remove historical remains or whales bones from the beaches. We hope that all of our clients will respect our philosophies and embrace these attitudes.

The Leave No Trace policy can be summarized in 7 simple steps which we hope you will follow during ourtrip...
1.    Be prepared
2.    Stick to trails and camp overnight right
3.    Stash your trash and pick up waste
4.    Leave it as you find it
5.    Be careful with fire
6.    Respect wildlife
7.    Be considerate of other visitors

Over the years we have built up good relations with our local suppliers and we are keen to support local businesses as much as possible. We are a small company and we pay our local partners and suppliers directly insuring fair rates.

Our small group sizes not only provide a more intimate adventure but also cause less impact on the environment and local communities.

We expect all who travel with us to support and uphold our Sustainable Tourism philosophies.
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Nicolas Bichet

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Nicolas Bichet

  • A guide in the Far North
  • A beautiful bearded man with the blue eyes
  • Keeps parks and guides kayaking in Quebec
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Region
Spitsbergen
Activity
Nordic Skiing Svalbard in the Winter
Duration
16 days
Group
5 to 9 people
Code
ENSPSK2
Price
From €2,600
Level
4/5
Comfort
2/5
Language(s)
French / English

Strengths

  • A completely unique nordic skiing expedition in tents in the isolated north of Svalbard
  • Discover the hidden arctic universe of Spitsbergen
  • Enjoy the presence of sled dogs to help pull our pulks and protect us against polar bears
  • Benefit from our quality technical equipment

Guide's advice

Our most demanding adventure and what an expedition it is!

Required level

INTENSIVE. This unique expedition, in total autonomy, does not present any particular technical difficulties, but requires a psychological and physical commitment by each participant because of the absolutely isolated location, the precarious comforts of winter camping and the temperamental weather. This trip is only for people in excellent physical shape; good experience of Nordic skiing expeditions in high mountains is requested. Each member pulls a pulka (starting weight 40 kg) and must be equipped for severe weather conditions (wind and cold). The daily progress is 6 to 8 hours but depends strongly on the weather conditions. The itinerary and given as an indication. It depends on the snow conditions and the weather.
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