Off Track Nordic Touring
Off Track Norwegian Ski Touring
Off Track Norwegian Ski Touring
Off Track Norwegian Ski Touring

Nordic Touring 'Off Track'


Off-track Ski Touring in Scandinavia

There is a certain joy to be had from exploring a landscape on skis where there is no evidence of other skiers having gone before you. This is often the case when we embark on an 'off-track' tour, essentially we just mean skiing on cross country skis, but away from any prepared or pressed ski trails. This page is dedicated to illustrating some of the trips that are possible in Scandinavia. 

Highlights

  • Explore the winter mountains away from any tracks
  • Experience the wilderness as it was meant to be
  • Discover a whole new world of 'off-track' skiing
  • First class instructors experienced in this type of touring
  • Take your cross country skiing to a new level
  • Stay in remote and characterful mountain cabins

If you feel you are now ready to expand your cross country ski horizons then do have a look at the various trips which are on offer in the 'Itinerary' section of this page. Our 'Off Track' tours are run in conjunction with one of our partner agencies, offering a high standard of instruction and client care.  


Itinerary

  • Dates: 7 - 14 April, 2019

    Highlights

    • A classic point-to-point tour across the vast plateau of the Hardangervidda known for it’s herds of reindeer and unspoilt environment
    • An ideal tour for confident Nordic skiers looking for the rare chance to complete this superb traverse – space, scenery and solitude
    • From the intricate craggy hill and lake country in the south, across the open landscapes of the plateau centre to a fitting finale skiing past the blue ice of the Hardanger icecap’s outlet glaciers
    • A quintessential Norwegian hut-to-hut touring adventure! 

    Price: £1255 (min. 6 in group); £1430 (min. 4 in group)

    This tour will give a very rewarding journey on skis, from Haukliseter on the road between Oslo and Odda all the way to Finse, high on the Oslo - Bergen railway, crossing only one other road in the process! We head north across the reindeer country of the central Hardangervidda, an empty and very unspoilt environment that is so difficult to find these days – we ‘boldly go’ where very few others go. We continue into the rolling country that borders the lonely road from Geilo west to the fjords and the dramatic Hardangerfjord in particular. For the final two days we traverse craggier country and frozen lakes as we approach and then pass by the Hardangerjokull and the icy tongues of its outlet glaciers. We eventually reach Finse after a classic hut-to-hut day and enjoy hot showers, a beer or two and a great welcome!

    The skiing is a joy as the weight of sacks is kept to a minimum by using the DNT lodges, where food, fuel and bedding await our arrival. We can focus on our skiing and the landscape without the drudgery of a heavy rucksack.

    Trip Grade: Level 2+

    You should have successfully completed at least one week-long Nordic, off-track, hut-to-hut tour and be familiar with using Nordic metal-edged skis and touring boots. Tours will involve skiing in more remote areas, on un-tracked snow and with some skiing days of 15–20km (9-12.5 miles). You must be able to confidently travel over undulating terrain and maintain a reasonable and appropriate pace within a group of this Level, as well as able to ski turn down moderate slopes, controlling your direction and speed. The slope angle would be, at maximum, equivalent to steeper 'blue' slopes in an Alpine resort, but would be off-track and in any snow conditions. A confident and effective plough turn and the ability to traverse are the minimum downhill technique requirements.

    '+' These tours are at the stated level technically, but involve skiing in remoter areas, on on-tracked snow and with some longer days. Skiers should be self-sufficient and have the stamina to be comfortable on longer days of 25–30km (15.6-18.7 miles) and with significant ascents and descents, in excess of 500m or 600m (1640-1968ft).

  • Dates: 9 - 16 March 2019 

    Highlights

    • Ideal as a first hut-to-hut tour with relatively short days - or for those who prefer a mellow approach to their touring!
    • A south to north, point-to-point tour through the Hallingskarvet mountains and across the high plateaux and wild, craggy hill country of the Skarvheimen.
    • 6 days of by relaxed hut-to-hut ski touring – always plenty of options for different energy and aspiration levels!
    • Experience a mixture of ‘staffed’ and ‘self-service’ DNT huts – if this is your first Norwegian touring adventure you will be very pleasantly surprised!

    Price: £1165 (min. 6 in group); £1335 (min. 4 in group)

    This fabulous traverse of the Skarvheimen region passes through rolling hills, plateaux and open valleys dotted with frozen lakes and dark crags. It goes from Finse to Breistolen, a lonely mountain hotel (unfortunately closed!) on the road between Gol and Laerdal. Finse, at the highest point of the Oslo - Bergen railway, is not a big place either - an hotel, the DNT lodge, a few holiday homes, private houses and rather a lot of snow! Above Finse is the brooding mass of the Hardanger Icecap, adding to the sense of Arctic wildness and wide open spaces.

    Skiing is a joy as the weight of sacks is kept to a minimum by using the DNT lodges, where food, fuel and bedding await our arrival. Most days are about 15km (9.4 miles), leaving time to ski up local highpoints after arrival.

    Trip Grade: Level 2

    You should have successfully completed at least one week-long Nordic, off-track, hut-to-hut tour and be familiar with using Nordic metal-edged skis and touring boots. Tours will involve skiing in more remote areas, on un-tracked snow and with some skiing days of 15–20km (9-12.5 miles). You must be able to confidently travel over undulating terrain and maintain a reasonable and appropriate pace within a group of this Level, as well as able to ski turn down moderate slopes, controlling your direction and speed. The slope angle would be, at maximum, equivalent to steeper 'blue' slopes in an Alpine resort, but would be off-track and in any snow conditions. A confident and effective plough turn and the ability to traverse are the minimum downhill technique requirements.

     

  • Dates: 16 – 23 March 2019

    Highlights

    • A multi-day, point-to-point tour with a new and unique itinerary
    • From the sheltered pine and birch woods of Espedalen, into and through the rarely-visited southern foothills of the Jotunheim
    • Climb a peak as we finish with an ascent of a Jotunheim peak. A Nordic hut-to-hut tour with a real ‘crescendo’!
    • Four hut-to-hut days and two hut-based day tours
    • ‘Do something different’ in Norway! A real cross-section of Norwegian terrain and landscapes

    Price: £1375 (min. 6 in group); £1560 (min. 4 in group)

    This tour quickly gets away from the pine woods and the more visited and familiar areas of Espedalen and then follows valleys between increasingly large, steep mountains, eventually taking a high-level route to access one of best and most important lodges of the southern Jotunheim. This hut provides the base for a day tour to a Jotunheim summit.

    The tour is suitable for more experienced Nordic skiers and gives an excellent option to those who are looking for something new – in fact, we not have heard of any other organised group doing this route, unlike the regular Rondane and Jotunheim itineraries! A fair degree of stamina is required as some of the days exceed 20kms (12.5 miles) and climbs exceed 600m1968ft) on two of the days.

    Trip Grade: Level 3

    You should have successfully completed at least two week-long hut-to-hut tours, and be experienced in Nordic travelling techniques and using waxes or fishscale ski bases, not just using skins. You also need to be confident on Nordic touring skis skiing downhill on steeper slopes (i.e. a slope angle equivalent to 'red' pistes in a ski resort) in variable, off-track (un-pisted) snow. You should be able to turn down slopes without the need for long traverses, able to control speed and direction at all times, while maintaining a good pace at this Level. A high degree of self-sufficiency and stamina will be expected.

  • Dates: 16 - 23 March 2019 

    Highlights

    • The ideal introduction to Nordic hut-to-hut touring: some coaching, carefully planned daily distances between huts and perfect terrain for the ‘right’ level of challenge!
    • If you want to make the transition from day skiing on Nordic skis based at a centre or resort to having the skills and confidence to making full-on hut-to-hut tours then this is the week for you!
    • Tour across the northern fringes of the vast Hardanger plateau, experience this unique Arctic wilderness, ski pass the glaciers of the Hardanger Icecap.
    • A great ski journey from Geilo to Finse, building the experience from day tours & coaching in the birchwoods, to touring days across plateau and hill country and the superb finale of skiing to Finse at the top of the Oslo-Bergen railway.

    Price: £1315 (min. 6 in group); £1485 (min. 4 in group)

    This tour will give a very rewarding experience, from Geilo to Finse, both on the Oslo - Bergen railway. The first two days will be spent on the Nordic tracks above Geilo around Kikut and Hakkesetstolen, doing plenty of ‘warm-up’ skiing with coaching sessions, to develop and consolidate your Nordic skills and confidence. We then ski westwards onto the Hardanger plateau linking three ‘huts’ over the next three days. The final day is a longer one, towards and then passing the Hardangerjokull (icecap) and the icy tongues of its outlet glaciers, as we complete the long run down to Finse.

    This trip requires previous Nordic skiing experience 'in-track' or 'off-track', the ability to travel over undulating terrain and to ski down moderate slopes, in a variety of snow conditions. You should be comfortable skiing for most of a day on gentle terrain and now wish to develop the skills to start multi-day, 'off-track' hut-to-hut tours. You need a confident snowplough to control descent down slopes as the minimum downhill requirement. This trip is also appropriate for Alpine skiers who wish to transfer their skills to Nordic equipment and develop ski touring skills. You should be confident and in control on Alpine skis when turning down steep blue slopes at least.

  • Dates: 23 – 31 March 2019

    • Highlights

      • Seven days skiing: three days of intensive instruction at Geilo, developing confidence and experience on Nordic skis, with a focus on downhill skills for touring
      • On the fourth evening travel by train to Finse for four touring days comprising a mix of day and/or multi-day tours
      • First day will focus on Nordic travelling techniques and skills; this will be followed by a two day circular hut-to-hut tour and a final day tour from Finse
      • Enjoy skiing this awe-inspiring, Arctic landscape of snowy hills, icecaps and glaciers
      • An ideal opportunity to develop your Nordic skiing skills and prepare for more ambitious hut-to-hut, week-long ski tours elsewhere in Norway

    Price: £1465 (min. 6 in group); £1665 (min. 4 in group)

    Geilo The instruction days will comprise three days covering all aspects of Nordic downhill or the third day looking at flat and touring techniques suited to your standard of skiing. It is likely that the group will be subdivided so that more intensive and relevant instruction can be given with a better client/instructor ratio. Each of the smaller groups will receive a half-day's instruction and a half day's free skiing for the downhill days. On the touring day we will most likely be travelling as a complete group and instruction will be given along the way.

    Fine is at the centre of a vast ski-touring terrain; both local circular tours or multi-day trips to other huts are possible. To the south, with the exception of the Hardangerjokull (or Icecap), the Hardangervidda plateau gives undulating terrain while the Hallingskarvet mountains to the north are more hilly. Within a group, skiers of differing abilities, or energy levels, can find challenges by taking in optional side-trips. Here, we will start with a day of coaching and touring local to Finse, maybe exploring the area close to the crevassed snout of the Blaissen glacier. Dramatic – but safe, skier-friendly terrain! We then plan to give a taster of the area's ski-touring delights by doing two short circular tours over the remaining days of skiing. The first might be a two-day trip to the Geitrygghytta (lodge), staying overnight and returning by a different route through some very scenic, craggy hills to Finse. The final day will probably be used for an ascent to the summit of the Hardangerjokull (icecap), an excellent tour with a wonderful descent by either steeper or less steep routes! A superb finale to the week, from developing those ‘early steps’ at Geilo to ‘putting it all together’ with a full-on tour over a wild and remote summit icecap! Coaching en route continues to improve your skiing and waxing techniques.

    Trip Grade: Level 1

    This trip requires previous Nordic skiing experience 'in-track' or 'off-track', the ability to travel over undulating terrain and to ski down moderate slopes, in a variety of snow conditions. You should be comfortable skiing for most of a day on gentle terrain and now wish to develop the skills to start multi-day, 'off-track' hut-to-hut tours. You need a confident snowplough to control descent down slopes as the minimum downhill requirement. This trip is also appropriate for Alpine skiers who wish to transfer their skills to Nordic equipment and develop ski touring skills. You should be confident and in control on Alpine skis when turning down steep blue slopes at least.

    Trip Grade: Level 2

    You should have successfully completed at least one week-long Nordic, off-track, hut-to-hut tour and be familiar with using Nordic metal-edged skis and touring boots. Tours will involve skiing in more remote areas, on un-tracked snow and with some skiing days of 15–20km (9-12.5 miles). You must be able to confidently travel over undulating terrain and maintain a reasonable and appropriate pace within a group of this Level, as well as able to ski turn down moderate slopes, controlling your direction and speed. The slope angle would be, at maximum, equivalent to steeper 'blue' slopes in an Alpine resort, but would be off-track and in any snow conditions. A confident and effective plough turn and the ability to traverse are the minimum downhill technique requirements.

     

  • Dates: 31 March - 7 April 2019

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Nordic mountain touring, away from the crowds in the Skarvan and Roltdalen National Park and the Sylan mountain massif on the Swedish border
    • Hut-to-hut days alternating with hut-based day tours
    • A classic north to south traverse culminating in the option of skiing a 1500m (4920ft) peak!
    • Visit remote valleys and plateaux, enjoy excellent huts - and revel in a quiet, very unspoilt and rarely visited area 

    Price: £1125 (min. 6 in group); £1360 (min. 4 in group)

    We ran this tour for the first time two winter’s ago and are looking forward to returning to this quiet and rarely visited area. It has a good system of huts and is easily accessible from Trondheim. From Oslo airport we travel by overnight sleeper to Trondheim to access the skiing on the first morning. This is an area that fulfils the need of exploring somewhere new, with feelings of remoteness and plenty of interesting and challenging skiing along with the luxury of a hut-based day for light sack day touring! Not only is this a quiet area it is also a quiet time of year - although three of the four huts we are using are staffed during the Easter period, during our week just their ‘self-service’ sections of the buildings will be open. As such what we lose in service we gain in terms of being free to do exactly as we wish and when. As for the skiing, this is, in general relatively straightforward when travelling between the ‘huts’ though the ascents and descents of the peaks are more demanding. We will be following an itinerary which runs from the north, traveling south then south-easterly towards the Swedish border, building up interest as we approach the Sylan mountains for a final, hut-based day tour. Hopefully we will be able to ski a rewarding summit or explore the Swedish side of the range, before a last skiing day back to civilization and the train to Oslo.

    Trip Grade: Level 3
     

    You should have successfully completed at least two week-long hut-to-hut tours, and be experienced in Nordic travelling techniques and using waxes or fishscale ski bases, not just using skins. You also need to be confident on Nordic touring skis skiing downhill on steeper slopes (i.e. a slope angle equivalent to 'red' pistes in a ski resort) in variable, off-track (un-pisted) snow. You should be able to turn down slopes without the need for long traverses, able to control speed and direction at all times, while maintaining a good pace at this Level. A high degree of self-sufficiency and stamina will be expected.

Accommodation


  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity, including helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our 'Terms and Conditions' is below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses, not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc, shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd, or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd, to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres (9840ft), except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m (10,877ft). You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Winter temperatures in Scandinavia are 'according to the locals' warmer in recent years than previously which is why we now run trips in the months of January, and February, as well as March and April. Even in January when the daylight hours are short we find that we have more than enough time for skiing. We have never yet had guests feeling they were losing out in terms of ski hours by booking in January or February. There is a special pleasure to starting your ski day in the sunrise, and skiing back with the sunset. 

    Historically temperatures in December have averaged -8°Celsius (17.4°F), in January -9.7°Celsius (14.5°F), in February -9.2°Celsius (15.4°F), in March -6.6°Celsius (20.1°F), and in April -2.3°Celsius (27.9°). 

    We have found over the years that these temperatures have not been unpleasant nor have any guests had problems dealing with the weather as it is generally a 'dry' cold, and of course this helps create great snow and therefore great ski tracks. If we do experience a cold snap where temperatures drop then we ensure that everyone is appropriately clothed and kitted out for the ski day. In this respect energy snacks and a thermos with a hot drink are a great comfort! 

    If you are booked on one of our 'Advanced' or 'Challenging' point-to-point journeys and we experience very cold temperatures eg -15°Celsius (5°F) then we would expect you to be able to be efficient and keep moving and to manage your comfort. 

     

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and simply a case of sharing out a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. On a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    On many of our cross country ski trips to remote areas there will also be a few additional items to share such as the grip waxes/klisters, spare pole, and snow shovel. These items are shared in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • Your leader will be professionally-qualified as a Nordic ‘Ski Instructor’ at the least and may also be a qualified Telemark Instructor. This will usually be a BASI qualification, British Association of Snowsport Instructors, or equivalent. They will have the ability and experience to lead and navigate in winter conditions and will often hold the UK Winter Mountain Leader Award. While in no way interfering with the tour, coaching along the way in ski technique and waxing will help you ski more effectively and with less effort.

    With regard to the week at Geilo and Finse there will be more emphasis on coaching while at Geilo, and coaching 'on the move' when at Finse for the touring section of this trip. 

    We are always mindful of safety in cold conditions and wilderness areas and believe you will be in very good hands.

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash. 

    On our walking and running trips which take in the route of the 'Tour du Mont Blanc' you will find that Euros will also be accepted in Switzerland as we are never far from the frontier, but the exchange rate will be poor.

    Below is a list of the currency and the currency symbol for each of the countries where we run trips:

    Italy = Euro/€

    Germany = Euro/€

    Sweden = Krona/SEK

    Norway = Kroner/NOK

    Bulgaria = Lev/BGN

    Switzerland = Swiss Franc/CHF

    Finland, including Lapland = Euro/€

    Spain, including Mallorca = Euro/€

    France, including Corsica = Euro/€ 

    Poland = Zloty/PLN = Euros will be accepted, but some local currency is advisable

    Czech Republic = Koruna/CZK - Euros will be accepted, but some local currency is advisable

  • Food

    On all our trips we prefer if you can experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country we are visiting and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free. 

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet then please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness. 

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water that is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    UK residents should obtain and bring with them the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. These are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging other companies to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of one of our partners. 

    We guarantee that companies with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally they may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee, will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 


Date range below indicates season of availabililty.

2020

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Holiday Type Nordic Touring 'Off Track'
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Countries Visited Norway
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