• Duration

    March 28-April 5th, 2020
    9 days, 8 nights

  • Location

    Padjalenta National Park, Sweden

  • Group Size

    4-10

  • Price

    $ 500 (reservation deposit)
    $ 1550 (second payment)

Swedish Lapland during the late spring is my favorite place for a hut-to-hut ski trek. Winding through the remote valleys and gentle slopes of Padjelanta National Park in early April one is treated to long days and often fine weather while the snow still lays in a thick blanket. There is enough darkness that you have an excellent chance of seeing Aurora Borealis, “pale gossamer curtains of light” as author Barry Lopez calls them in Arctic Dreams, but the extreme cold of winter has subsided. Comfortable wilderness cabins with a woodstove, pure and clean water drawn straight from a hole in the ice, and the delicious foods of Lapland; moose, reindeer, lingonberries, smoked fish, excellent cheeses and sausage, and strong coffee make for an amazing experience.

Discover the vast scenery of Padjelanta National Park with the great lakes and the high peaks in the horizon. Without any winter trails to follow we choose our own way through a landscape beautiful in its remoteness and desolation. Here we can escape cell phone service, the hustle and bustle of our normal lives, and relax into the rhythms of nature. In the simplicity of our days, with snow stretching away from us in every direction, we can slow down, find time for reflection, and let ourselves be seduced by the unique beauty of the Arctic.

“The land is like poetry: it is inexplicably coherent, it is transcendent in its meaning, and it has the power to elevate a consideration of human life.” ~ Barry Lopez, author of “Arctic Dreams.”

Padjalenta National Park

Padjelanta is the area where the reindeer calves are born, and in the summer the huts in the Sami settlement are full of life. In the winter though, you can ski for days without meeting anyone. If we are lucky we may see moose, wolverine and ptarmigan that all find a way to survive the winter on the arctic tundra. Padjelanta National Park is the largest national park in Sweden and part of the world heritage of Laponia. The almost 2000 square kilometers is positioned just west of Sarek National Park, and together Sarek and Padjelanta protect an impressive landscape and culture. On our planned route, we’ll pass close to the most remote point in Sweden, the farthest point from any roads.

This tour is for you if you…

…want to experience the pure winter landscape of Padjelanta but still have the comfort of staying in heated huts during the night. You’ll need to be a fairly strong skier, able to carry a backpack of about 20-30lbs, and take turns pulling a sledge with common food and equipment. You should have experience with winter camping and be in good physical shape. The itinerary includes some longer days with distances over 12 miles off-trail.

Food and accommodation

We value nutritious food made from real ingredients and put a lot of effort into preparing the menu for this tour. A typical day starts with a Swedish breakfast and in the evening, we cook dinner together in the hut. Our dinners are inspired by local food from the Sami culture as well as more general Swedish food. As long as weather permits we will have a longer break during the day to eat a lighter lunch and re-energize.

During our time in the mountains we stay in cozy cabins with no electricity or running water. We all help with the daily duties such as carrying water or chopping vegetables for dinner. Even if the cabins are simple they provide the essentials of heat, beds, blankets and everything we need for cooking and eating. Outhouses are often situated within 100 meters from the huts. The last night of the tour we will stay in a hostel where you will share a room with other participants of the group. This last day you will have access to both water-toilets and showers.

Guides and support

We work with local guides who know the culture and history in Laponia. They are all certified guides trained in wilderness first aid, route finding, and ski touring. This tour will start and end with a snowmobile transfer that brings us to and from Padjelanta national park. During our time in the mountain we will be on our own but have regular contact with our support team in Lapland to get updated information about weather forecast etc.

“The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves.” ~ Barry Lopez

Sample Itinerary- subject to change based on weather conditions and local reindeer herders

DAY 1 ARRIVAL JOKKMOKK (Dinner included)

Jokkmokk is a small town just north of the Arctic Circle most famous for its yearly winter market in the beginning of February. The first night you will stay at Jokkmokk Vandrarhem where you will share a room with other expedition members. We will all gather in the afternoon at 16.00 to to check our equipment, brief you on the upcoming week and have dinner together. If you travel here by bus book your ticket to Jokkmokk Åsgatan, a bus-stop just outside the hostel.

We arrange transfer from the airports in Luleå. Pick-up at 13.00.

Day 2 - Sunday, March 29

DAY 2 RITSEM – SÅMMARLAPPA (Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner included)

After breakfast we pack the bus and head west following a winding road far out in the mountains. Where the road ends we continue by snowmobile (1,5 h) to Tarra valley. The last stretch to Såmmarlappa you’ll get to test your ski equipment with just a light daypack. We’ll have dinner and stay overnight in the cabin.

Distance on skis: about 10 km, elevation gain/loss: close to 0, estimated time out skiing: 4h

Day 3 - Monday, March 30

DAY 3 SÅMMARLAPPA – TARRALUOPPAL (B,L,D)

After a generous “mountain breakfast” we pack our backpacks and sledges for a week in the mountain. We follow the Tarra river north and take turns pulling the sledges with all the food for the week. During the day we eat a lunch brought in thermoses and then cook a hearty dinner together in the evening. Our destination for the day is Tarraluoppal by the border between Sarek and Padjelanta National parks.

Distance on skis: 11 km, elevation gain/loss: +160/-0, estimated time out skiing: 5-6h

Day 4 - Monday March 31

DAY 4 TARRALUOPPAL – DUOTTAR (B,L,D)

We continue west climbing the slope toward the highest point of the tour. This wide-open landscape offers great opportunities for panoramic views, but we are also unprotected if hard weather approaches. However, Duottar cabin, almost 900 meters above sea level will give us the perfect protection against strong winds.

Distance on skis: about 13 km, elevation gain/loss: +200/-0 m, estimated time out skiing: 5-6h

Day 5 - Tuesday, April 1

DAY 5 DUOTTAR – ARASLUOKTA (B,L,D)

We continue west towards Arasluokta by the lake Virihaure. Surrounded by a vast mountain landscape we pass close to the most remote place in Sweden. We are now as far as possible from roads and modern civilisation.

Distance on skis: 20 km, elevation gain/loss: +50/-300, estimated time out skiing: 8h

Day 6 - Wednesday, April 2

DAY 6 ARASLUOKTA – LÅDDEJOKK (B,L,D)

Our route to the next hut leads us up and over a pass almost 900 meters above sea level. From there we’ll be able to overview most of the national park and if weather allows we build our lunch couch in the south-facing slope overlooking surrounding landscape. We spend the night in a hut in Arasluokta, a summer settlement for the Sami people.

Distance on skis: 13 km, elevation gain/loss: +250/-300 m, estimated time out skiing: 5-6h

Day 7 - Thursday, April 3

DAY 7 EXTRA DAY (B,L,D)

We have a planned extra day to give us the flexibility to respond to weather and snow conditions.

Day 8 - Friday, April 4

DAY 8 LÅDDEJOKK – KUTJAURE (B,L,D)

On our last skiing day we follow the eastern shore of the great lake Vastenjaure and continue north-east to Kutjaure. We follow the impressive river Vuojatädno passing Sáluhávrre summer settlement. Vuojat means “to swim” and refer to that this is where the reindeer had to swim on their way from winter to summer grassing area. In Kutjaure we finish the week with sauna and dinner.

Distance on skis: 25 km, elevation gain/loss: close to 0, estimated time out skiing: 8h

Day 9 - Saturday, April 5

DAY 8 DEPARTURE JOKKMOKK (B)

After breakfast a snowmobile will pick us up and drive us to Ritsem. We have fika together, and for those who wants there will be a chance to shower before it is time to say goodbye and start your journey home.

We can arrange transfer to the airports in Luleå. Drop-off 18.00

What’s included?

  • Local Swedish and English speaking guides
  • All accommodations (7 nights in cabins, 1 night in hostel)
  • All meals and snacks including 2-course dinner in Jokkmokk
  • Transfer Jokkmokk-Kvikkjokk by private van
  • Safety equipment
  • Transport sledges (1/pair)
  • Snowmobile support to and from Padjelanta national park
  • Storage of travel luggage and transport to Ritsem

What’s NOT included?

  • Airfare (Luleå Kallax Airport is the closest)
  • Airport transfer from Luleå airport to Jokkmokk (available for $250 roundtrip)
  • Ski Equipment (touring skis w/ metal edges, skins, boots and poles) available for rent for $100
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended). Try World Nomads
  • Alcohol
  • Gratuities

FAQ Swedish Ski Expedition

Do you have to speak Swedish to get by in Sweden or do people speak English?

Of all the European countries that don’t have English as their native language I think the Swedes are the best English speakers. Virtually everyone speaks English and many people are fluent. The guides for this trip are Swedish but speak English fluently.

Do I need a Passport or Visa to visit Sweden?

You will need a valid Passport to visit Sweden. Depending on what country you are coming from you will probably not need a visa, but it pays to make sure.

Do you have to be an experienced cross-country skier to go on this trip? What are skins?

You must be a solid cross-country skier, comfortable with carrying a pack that weighs between 20-30lbs and able to climb and descend moderate pitches. “Skins” for skiing originally were made of sealskin and are applied to the bottom of your skis to provide grip on the snow, especially useful when climbing and pulling a sledge. The skins, now made of Nylon or Mohair, slide easily going forward but grip the snow nicely when going backwards.

We recommend metal-edged cross country skis with a fishscale pattern and NNNCBC Bindings or 3 pin bindings. We have excellent skis, boots, and skins available for rent for very reasonable prices. Please let us know if you would like to rent you ski equipment.

What are the cabins like? Is there electricity, Wifi, running water?

The cabins are comfortable and heated by wood or gas stoves. There is no running water, electricity, or Wifi. Water is drawn straight from a nearby lake, river or spring and can be drank without boiling or purifying! Outhouses are usually within 100 yards of the cabin. They cabins are well insulated, well laid out, and sleep from 4-6 people. in single beds. The beds are bunk-beds and the cabins are mixed gender. Candles and the woodfire make for a pleasing light during the night.

What will be the size of our group and how many guides will there be?

The max group size is 10 and there will be two professional guides who are certified in ski touring, wilderness first aid, and wilderness guiding.

This trip is north of the Arctic circle in Sweden. Are there polar bears, seals, icebergs, and igloos?

No. While the latitude of Padjalenta National Park is around  67 degrees north (Ankorage, Alaska is 61.2) it benefits from a warm gulf stream that makes for a much less harsh environment. We will be inland so there are no seals or icebergs. There are no polar bears and even the Swedish brown bears are extremely secretive and rarely seen. While occasionally one sees igloos during the winter they are usually as part of tourist activity. The native people, called the Sami, traditionally lived in an earthen and birch building called a Kåta. This area of Sweden has trees (birch, spruce, pine, fir, juniper, etc) and is quite lush in the summer. Temps can soar to the 80s in the summer but do occasionally hit -40F (or C) in the dead of winter. Much of the landscape looks like parts of Minnesota, with lots of small clear lakes and lush evergreen forests. In the Swedish mountains there are less trees and the hillsides are a beautiful palette of colors during the summer, and covered with a thick blanket of snow during the winter. Reindeer, moose, foxes, wolverine, weasels, ptarmigan, and lynx can all be seen.

Will we get to see Aurora Borealis (the "Northern Lights")

This time of year there is an excellent chance of seeing Aurora Borealis. If you have not seen them before it is an amazing experience, with various shades of green, yellow, red, pink and even blue and violet shimmering across the sky. The frequency and intensity of Aurora Borealis varies from year to year and the sky must be clear in order to see them. To observe these magical lights in such a remote and beautiful area is truly a special experience.

I have my own cross country skis, should I bring them?

If you have your own metal-edged cross country skis NNNBC or 3 pin bindings that you like I always find it enjoyable to use my own equipment as I know exactly how it works. If you don’t particularly like your gear or don’t want to have to travel with it then leave it at home and rent skis (including boots, bindings, poles, and skins) from us that are high quality and perfectly suited to the tour. Renting skis for the trip will cost about $100. We can also provide sleeping bags, backpacks,

What kind of shape do I need to be in?

You will need to be in good shape for this trip. The itinerary is active and we will be in a very remote area where travel by ski is our only means of transportation. You should be able to ski for several hours on rolling terrain while carrying a 20-30lb backpack and/or pulling a sledge. You must be able to keep yourself warm in a cold climate (layering). Recommended age 18-65 years old. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding your physical ability or experience level. This trip is for active people who enjoy being outdoors.

Do I need to tip our Guides?

Gratuities for guides are not included in the price of you trip and are much appreciated. Tipping is at your discretion. Normally average tips for excellent service are around 10%-20% of the trip cost. Tips are pooled together and shared equally among the guides.

Our team

Aaron Schorsch

Owner- Saveur the Journey

Aaron Schorsch is the owner of Saveur the Journey where he combines his passions of food, travel, outdoor adventures, and culture. He grew up in rural New Hampshire and has lived and traveled extensively in the US and abroad. Aaron is a student of food who has worked throughout the food system from growing seed and farming of vegetables, fruits, and livestock to cooking in high end restaurants and managing farmer’s markets. He loves to talk about, think about, dream about and especially, cook and eat food. He is a member of Slow Food international and has been a US delegate at Terra Madre in Turin, Italy.

Christian Heimroth

Tour Leader

Christian is a certified Swedish mountain guide who lives in Jokkmokk with his wife and two daughters. He has been guiding trips in the Swedish Mountains for over 15 years and loves hiking, skiing, rafting, and canoeing.

Mirja Andersson

Tour Leader

Mirja is certified Swedish mountain guide who has a background working as a hiking and paddling instructor for the American based National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Mirja is originally from Sweden but has lead trips all over the world.

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