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Safety first on your ski-touring trip
Skiing in Norway.
Photo: Valentin Rapp

Safety for ski tourers

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Prepare for the unprepared

Before embarking on a ski touring adventure, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the surroundings and prepare for some testing conditions.

Skiing in Norway

Sogndal.
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik

Hire a qualified local ski guide

Hiring a qualified guide on your ski tour is a good idea for several reasons. It will keep you safer and ensures that you find the best ski touring options in the area, you have a chance to learn from the local knowledge of the guides and last but not least, it will keep you entertained.

IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) offers a vast selection of exciting tours operated by highly skilled professionals. The guides’ local knowledge is priceless for finding the best ski opportunities. Norway has a complex geography with fast shifting weather patterns, which can make it difficult to unlock the full potential of the current skiing conditions. The guides have insider information about the quality of snow and the surrounding terrain while reducing the risk of encountering avalanches and other potential dangers.

With more than 100 qualified mountain guides in the country, you are sure to find the perfect trip for your level of fitness, skill and ambition.

Longyearbyen on Svalbard

Longyearbyen.
Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen - www.nordnorge.com

Useful links, hints and tips

It is absolutely crucial that you check the latest avalanche forecasts before you head out. You can find information about the snowpack and avalanche risk, slope angle maps for all of Norway and much more related to your safety on varsom.no and senorge.no.

Physical fitness

Ski touring will no doubt put your physical fitness to the test – if not during the descent then during the climb to the top.

It is worth keeping in mind that a ski tour in Norway should only be attempted by those who have enough experience, knowledge, skill and – perhaps most importantly – a good enough level of physical fitness.

Ski touring in Norway is all about “earning your turns” – in other words, you will have to work hard to get your reward. The peaks are only accessible by hiking, so you have to be familiar with skinning.

Rental equipment is limited, so remember to pack all the essentials while making sure that you will be able to carry everything up the mountain.

Break, Nivane

Break, Nivane.
Photo: Håvard Myklebust - Visitnorway.com

Essential equipment and clothing

It can be extremely demanding to reach the best slopes. It is crucial to pack as light as possible, but without compromising any of the essentials listed below. Before setting off, test and familiarise yourself with the emergency equipment, and remember to pack spare parts in case of breakages along the way.

Dress in layers
The saying “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” is common in Scandinavia, and it is particularly true of ski touring. The best advice is to wear many layers: a tight-fitting base layer made from wool; a woollen or fleece middle layer to keep the warmth; and a light, breathable jacket as an outer layer to protect you from the elements.

Wear good boots
You need boots specifically designed for ski touring. They should be comfortable and allow good freedom of movement for walking while providing stability for skiing.

Pack a thermos
Refreshments should always be kept close to hand. A thermos with hot tea can provide the hydration and warmth you need to counter the exhausting climb and cold conditions. Be aware that if you prefer a camel pack, you will need an insulator so that the liquid does not freeze.

Bring sun protection
You will be surrounded by snow, but the sun can be surprisingly strong. Bring sunscreen to protect your skin as well as shaded goggles.

Remember that if you are going on a ski tour in Northern Norway during late spring, your goggles may come in handy also in the evenings and at night because of the midnight sun.

Ski touring emergency kit

Collapsible shovel
A metallic rather than a plastic shovel is recommended – and the stronger the better.

Probe
It is vital to carry a probe. We recommend one that is at least two metres long.

Beacon
It is absolutely essential that you wear and learn how to operate a beacon, so that you can be traced if you become stranded, get lost or encounter an avalanche.

Medical supplies
It is better to be safe than sorry – our advice is that you always carry a small first-aid kit.

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