We love that so many people now want to venture off-track on Nordic ski equipment. Grading our off-track trips and the experience required to join them is a major challenge as there are so many variables. The key is that your chosen trip is suitable for your current level of ski skills, and fitness, which then increases the likelihood of an enjoyable holiday. Above all safety is paramount. We will ski as a team, but you also need to have a degree of self-sufficiency in managing your needs in all kinds of weather and conditions. Welcome to the off-track world of adventure! Read our guide here.
Our suggestions for those who wish to experience off-track are as follows:
Alpine Skiers: We recommend that you join our Be a Better Skier week in Norway, to acquire nordic track skills, then join our Kvitåvatn: Off Track Skills & Touring to acquire off-track skills on nordic skis.
Cross-country Skiers: We recommend that you join our Kvitåvatn: Off Track Skills & Touring to acquire downhill off-track skills.
There is a big difference in off-track technique with free heels and a full rucksack (around 10kgs, 22lbs), compared to off-piste or on-piste alpine skiing with fat skis, your heels clamped down, and a light rucksack.
Imagine you are a road cyclist, and you decide to do a mountain bike holiday. You are considering signing up for a totally different adventure holiday that requires a very different skill set, you still have two wheels but that is where the similarity ends. The same could be said for those who alpine ski, or cross-country ski on groomed tracks and now want to transition to nordic off-track touring.
Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your experience.
Previous Experience: You should have completed at least one week of 'classic' skiing on prepared tracks at an Intermediate level.
Skills Set: On groomed tracks you should be confident about controlling speed and direction, have a solid ‘snowplough’ and be able to competently make snowplough turns. You should be able to ski under control on a variety of terrain both uphill, and downhill. The most important skill is the ability to stay upright while skiing with a rucksack. If your trip includes a trip to a hut you will be expected to carry a medium sized daypack, but no more than 10 kgs (22 lbs). Repeated falling leads quickly to exhaustion and jeopordises the group safety. Descending slopes most commonly involves traversing then a stem, or kick turn, followed by another traverse and so on. A telemark turn is not necessary although you may have an understanding of the telemark turn.
Terrain: You should enjoy being in remote and wild mountain areas and have a good fitness level. You should be comfortable with winter weather, which may include snowfall and cold winds. For this reason we expect a degree of self-sufficiency in terms of keeping yourself warm, and dry. You should be happy to ski on a variety of snow including snow that is less than perfect which may be firm, crusty or icy. This trip may include some steep sections with bends, as well as narrow tracks.
Fitness: Time on skis will be 5-6 hours per day covering approximately 10-20 km (6.2-10.4 miles) per day.
Previous Experience: You should have completed our Kvitåvatn: Off Track Skills & Touring or provide sufficient experience of other Nordic off-track trips. This grade generally applies to a point-to-point trip using mountain huts and therefore we require you to be able to get on your skis and go.
Skills Set: You will be expected to carry a standard sized touring pack of around 10kgs (22 lbs) travelling over undulating terrain, down moderate hills in a variety of snow conditions. A confident snowplough turn and the ability to traverse are the minimum downhill technique requirements. As well as being able to control speed and direction, you should have a steady ‘kick and glide’ when not using 'skins' and be able to maintain a reasonable pace throughout the day. Descending slopes most commonly involves traversing then a stem, or kick turn, followed by another traverse and so on. A telemark turn is not necessary although you may have a basic grasp of the turn.
The most important skill is the ability to stay upright while skiing with a rucksack. Repeated falling leads very quickly to exhaustion and jeopordises the group safety. You should understand the terms and be able to demonstrate a kick turn both uphill and downhill, and side slip if required.
Terrain: You should enjoy dealing with a wide range of terrain from steep descents that require a traversing line, to steep climbs where we might use 'climbing skins'. You should be able to stay upright while skiing on all types of terrain and over all snow types from powder, to icy sections. We all fall, but it should not be every 5 minutes.
Fitness: Time on skis will be 5-6 hours per day covering approximately 12–22 km (7.5-13.6 miles) per day.
Previous Experience: You should have completed an Advanced level off-track hut-to-hut trip, or provide sufficient experience of other trips. This grade generally applies to a committing point-to-point trip using mountain huts and therefore we require you to be able to get on your skis and go.
Skills Set: You should be familiar with using metal-edged skis and touring boots; able to confidently travel over undulating terrain and maintain a reasonable and appropriate pace within a group of this level; Descending slopes most commonly involves traversing then a stem, or kick turn, followed by another traverse and so on. A telemark turn is not necessary, although it is useful if you have a basic ability to turn link telemark turns. You should understand the terms and be able to demonstrate a kick turn both uphill and downhill, and side slip if required. You should have experience of waxing skis in the field, (if using waxing skis) and be able to take 'skins' on and off quickly and efficiently.
Terrain: These trips will ski over ground that can involve long descents, steep climbs sometimes having to use 'skins', and long undulating sections where a good 'kick and glide' is crucial.
Fitness: This tour does demand stamina and self-reliance in a relatively remote area, skiing long and sustained days. You should be at a very good fitness level. Time on skis will be 6-7 hours per day covering approximately 20–26 km (12.4-16 miles) per day.
Nordic off-track skills and touring week based in Kvitåvtn, Norway. Enjoy 4 days 'off track' skills coaching and day tours, then embark on a two-day tour and overnight stay at the Helberghytte DNT in the Hardangervidda National Park.View trip
A wonderful first experience of Norwegian hut-to-hut ski touring. This trip has relatively short days which makes it a relaxed option. We ski south to north, on a stunning point-to-point tour through the Hallingskarvet mountains, across the high plateaux and wild, craggy hill country of the Skarvheimen.View trip
Crossing the Hardangervidda is one of the great classic ski journeys of the world. A wild, remote and immense plateau the Hardanger is world famous for its beauty, space and solitude. It is also home to wildlife such as arctic foxes, and beaver, and has the largest wild reindeer herds in Scandinavia.View trip
A unique Nordic ski journey through the "Land of the Giants", the Jotunheim mountains in Norway. The area is renowned for its spectacular scenery, wild beauty and numerous peaks. A true winter wilderness experience as we ski through this stunning National Park.View trip