Constructed in 1956, 291 feet long, The North Star is one of the oldest vessels operating the coast of Svalbard. She became a cultural heritage and underwent an extensive restoration in 2013 and appears as she did back in the 1950s.
There are two operators operating flights from mainland Norway to Svalbard
Arrival – Monday 11th of May – with SAS (SK 4414) at 14:00. Earliest departure Friday 15th at 13:25 (SK 4491)
Arrival – Friday 15th of May – with SAS (SK 4490) at 12:40. Earliest departure Tuesday 19th at 14:45 (SK 4425)
Departure time from Longyearbyen with MS Nordstjernen is 17:00 on both dates, check-in from 15:00. On both departures you can spend the last night onboard the ship. Check out at 08:00 on Friday 15th and Tuesday 19th of May.
Svalbard is, unlike mainland Norway, outside the Schengen area, so passport identification is required for travels to and from Svalbard.
You can go by a shuttle bus or taxi from Longyearbyen Airport to the city centre. If you would like to extend your stay, you can find hotel accommodation through Visit Svalbard
It’s warm and dry inside the ship, so regular clothing is sufficient. However, bring a light fleece or down jacket for the general meetings or photo ops out on deck. Remember to bring clean sneakers/slippers for indoor use. Dirty boots will not be allowed.
Ski mountaineering in the high Arctic demands a certain safety framework. Our guides ensure the daily expeditions will be within these limits, but you are required to bring the following equipment:
- Shovel (no plastic blade)
- Avalanche beacon
- Avalanche probe
- Ski crampons (for advanced approaches)
It’s important to stay warm, dry and hydrated. The weather around Svalbard can change rapidly and you should be prepared for all sort of conditions.
Here’s a suggested packing list:
- Wool base layer
- Wool or fleece mid layer
- Woollen socks
- Wool beanie/hat with windproof liner
- Wind and water proof shell outer layer
- Down jacket insulation layer
- Warm gloves and/or mittens
- Water bottle
- First aid kit and blister band-aids
- Sun glasses and goggles
- Sun protection
It’s possible to dry wet clothes and equipment aboard the ship, but it’s also recommended to bring spare clothing.
The idea that was to become Svalbard Ski & Sail was born in 2012, when we started the land-based festival “Toppturfestivalen” (Ski touring festival). The festival’s aim was to be a small, intimate festival offering lots of great skiing. As the years went by we got the opportunity to move the concept on to a boat, and that was an offer too good to decline. With a boat as our home we are super flexible and can go where there’s best snow conditions.
Since 2016 the majestic MS Nordstjernen has been the basecamp for Svalbard Ski & Sail. At the same time, Toppturfestivalen has moved around Svalbard, and is this year being held in the Russian town of Barentsburg.
The people behind Svalbard Ski & Sail, Hilde and Thomas, met in Longyearbyen many years ago. They had both been ski touring since the mid-90s, and quickly realised they had the same visions for this kind of festival – a social, laidback arena with lots of good skiing surrounded by beautiful nature.
The main goal of Svalbard Ski & Sail is of course skiing, but we don’t want you to underestimate the social aspect. Due to its intimate size and location on a boat you will meet a lot of different people with inspirational stories to share and be inspired by.
And we might as well yell it out loud and clear: we’ll be without mobile coverage for most of the trip. What, you might think? How will I tell my friends what I’m doing? Don’t worry, you can do that when you get home, we want you to be in the moment, meet new people, and enjoy the ride!
Svalbard Ski & Sail is a festival you can attend year after year. You’ll meet old friends from previous festivals, and new one to share laughter, fun and the best slopes with.
See you in May!