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A person skiing down the Kolåsbreen glacier in Western Norway in sunshine
A guide to safe ski touring in Norway.
Photo: News On Request

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Safety for ski tourers

On a ski touring adventure, your legwork is rewarded with stunning views and thrilling descents. Still, the most important aspect is making sure you get home in one piece – so you can get back out there the next day. This is how you stay safe when ski touring in Norway.

Emergency telephone numbers

The Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) has the overall operational responsibility during mountain search and rescue operations.

51 51 70 00 – JRCC Southern Norway
75 55 90 00 – JRCC Northern Norway

Ski tourers from all over the world love Norway's challenging ski terrain, weather conditions, and sub-zero temperatures – it's everything you need for an adrenaline-filled adventure in the snow-capped mountains.

It is, however, important to be aware of the potential dangers that these conditions present. Here are our best and most important tips on how to stay safe while ski touring.

Prepare for changing conditions

You should always check the avalanche risk and plan your trips according to the weather and conditions. Make sure you get familiar with the nine simple rules of the Norwegian mountain code to help you stay safe.

  • Always start planning your trip at the avalanche forecast varsom.no.
  • Download the REGOBS-app from App store or Android store. With REGOBS, you can share and access information about local conditions with other people, as well as download an offline inclination map.
  • Stay updated on the weather conditions in your area with yr.no and senorge.no.

Hire a qualified local ski guide

Ensure that you find the best and safest ski touring options in the area by hiring a local ski guide.

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. Local guides have expert knowledge about the quality of the snow and the surrounding terrain, which will reduce the risk of encountering avalanches and other potential dangers.

The International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) offers more than 100 qualified mountain guides who will assure that you find the perfect trip for your level of fitness, skill, and ambition.

What to bring

It can be demanding to reach the best slopes, and it is therefore crucial to pack as light as possible (in a good backpack) without compromising any of the essentials (see the list of what to bring). Before setting off:

  • Test and familiarize yourself with the emergency equipment.
  • Remember to pack spare parts in case of breakages along the way.

What to wear

The saying “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” is common in Scandinavia, and this is particularly true when it comes to ski touring.

Dress in layers

The best advice is to wear many layers, as this makes it easier to regulate your body temperature.

  • A tight-fitting base layer made of wool will keep you cool on the uphill and warm on the descent.
  • A wool or fleece middle layer will help you stay warm.
  • Light wind and waterproof jacket and trousers as an outer layer will 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 as well as provide stability for skiing.

Use sun protection and snow goggles

You will be surrounded by snow, but the sun can be surprisingly strong. Bring sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect your skin, and shaded snow goggles or sun glasses.

Ski touring gear checklist

16 items which should be on the packing list of ski tourers in Norway
Packing list for ski touring.
Photo: Visit Norway
What to bring?

Shovel
Collapsible lightweight metal shovel with telescope shaft.

Probe
At least 240 centimetres long, carbon fibre (lighter than aluminium and suffers less deflection).

Transceiver/beacon
With extra batteries. Check for broken antennas. Make sure you know how to use it.

Whistle
Can help you make noise for hours if you need to be found.

First aid kit
For minor trauma and medical issues.

Bivy bag
For comfort during breaks and emergencies.

Sunscreen and lip protection
With a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

Sun glasses/glacier glasses
With 100% UVA/UVB protection and side shields.

Snow goggles
Protects your eyes and enhance visibility.

Hat and neck gaiter/buff
Keeps your head and neck warm.

Ski crampons
For extra grip when ascending through hard snow conditions.

Boot crampons
Can be used when descending or ascending steep and/or icy terrain.

Ice axe
Straight-shaft axe, preferably with steel head and aluminium body.

Helmet
Strong and lightweight with good ventilation.

Headlamp
Small, lightweight LED version for pre-dawn starts or late exits. Remember to bring extra batteries.

Mobile phone
With a fully charged battery and an offline map.

Extra clothes
The weather conditions in Norway can change rapidly, so always bring some extra clothing (gloves, hat, and a hooded puffy jacket) packed in a waterproof bag.

Map and compass
For quick and easy field navigation.

GPS
A good assistant if bad weather hits and you need to find your way down. Not to replace map and compass.

Nutrition
Enough food, water, and hot drinks for the whole day, plus a little extra in case of emergency.

Thermos
With hot drinks for the hydration and warmth you need to counter the exhausting climb and cold conditions.

Plan your ski touring adventure

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