Find out everything you need to know to prepare for an Arctic ski expedition, from weather and climate, to client profile, to health and safety remarks, accommodation and transportation.
Pasvik Valley has continental climate with long winters with good snow conditions from around mid-November through April.
The ‘Polar Night’ season, where the sun stays below the horizon for 24 hours, is from November 21 to January 21, and is an exciting additional experience. It is actually not that ‘dark’, more just a bluish vague light during the day hours, and is also a great period to see northern lights.
You do not need to be a super human! Individuals that are active and of normal health can easily join our tours.
However, you should be able to comfortably walk the distances mentioned in the tours, and also keep in mind that being reasonably flexible and agile is an advantage when pitching the tent in the snow and manoeuvring inside the tent.
No prior experience to skiing or winter camping needed.
On the expedition, high calorie food is of course an essential part, as we burn much more energy than in our everyday life! It also needs to be easy to prepare, as we basically only bring along a gas burner (Whisperlite) and a kettle, and also because we are in a sub-zero degree (Celsius) environment.
Therefore, main meals are made by adding boiling water to freeze dried food. Maybe this doesn’t sound like a gourmet experience, but it is definitely possible to make a tasty meal still. Also, almost any food tastes well after a long day of physical activity in cold weather!
In the contact form you can describe, if there are any specific dietary limitations, allergies, or needs, and we will pass it on to NIBIO Conference Centre and take it into consideration when preparing the expedition meal/snack options.
The customer is personally responsible for evaluating his/her physical and/or mental condition in relation to the contents of the relevant activity.
Arctic Outlaws reserves the right to deny any customer’s participation in activities if Arctic Outlaws, or persons acting on behalf of Arctic Outlaws, consider it to be necessary for the safe and/or appropriate execution of the tour.
We are located in Northern Norway in the remote Pasvik Valley – the scenic narrow strip of land between Russia and Finland – near the town of Kirkenes. Kirkenes has a regional airport with daily connections to Oslo.
Norwegians know a thing or two about handling and clearing snow on the runway and on their roads in general, so cancellations because of the weather conditions are very rare events.
NIBIO Svanhovd, a beautifully constructed research institute with multiple functions including accommodation and catering, is the natural start- and end point for our tours in the Pasvik Valley.
NIBIO Svanhovd is situated in the small village of Svanvik by the Norwegian/Russian border, and it monitors and studies the unique biome of the Pasvik Valley.
Besides accommodation and catering there is an excellent sauna, a cosy tv/fireplace lounge and conference rooms. On top of this, you will also find the visitation centre for Øvre Pasvik National Park with an exhibition where you can learn more about the virgin forest and the most distinctive bird- and animal species that live here as well as the culture and history of the people of the Pasvik Valley.
At your own cost, it is possible to stay at NIBIO Svanhovd before the tour starts and/or continue after the tour ends.
You will enjoy our tours if you bond with the great outdoors, enjoy fellowship with other travellers, and are curious to learn how to travel and stay comfortable “ski expedition style” in a relaxed and involving way.
You perhaps already enjoy connecting with nature in an active manner, but, here in the arctic, you lack the knowledge, skills, and equipment to bring your outdoor experience into reality.
The distance travelled per day differs from tour to tour and also depends on the group profile and terrain.
On the ‘day-experience’ and ‘one-night experience’ it will be around 4-6km, on the 4 and 5 night expeditions it will be 8-13km, and on the 7 night expedition expect 15-20km.
It is important to stress that there is no emphasis on ‘speed’ or ‘mileage’ on our tours – UNLESS all in the group desires a more physical challenge.
There are – surprise – no toilets available while on tour. When you need to ‘go’, you just move a little outside the path to find a cover and you do what you need to do.
And, for an even more refreshing experience, Arctic Outlaws recommends to try out substituting toilet paper with…snow:-)!
All are welcome! What is important, as described earlier, is that all have in common that members bond with the great outdoors, enjoy fellowship with other travellers, and are curious to learn how to travel and stay comfortable ‘ski expedition style’ in a relaxed and involving manner.
A tour may therefore consist of different profiles.
As a general rule of thumb, participants should be at least 18 years of age if on a multiple day trip, unless a minor is in the company of a responsible adult.
Our tours in Kirkenes, the ‘day-experience’ and the ‘one-night experience’ are very suitable for families with older children.
Couples and friend/family groups will always share the same tent(s), and solo travellers will be paired.
The tents typically have a capacity for three persons, but for comfort we will usually only have two persons in each – unless you would like to have three persons inside.
A group of three can thereby choose to all be in the same tent, or can choose that one person pairs up with e.g. a solo traveller.
No, all we ask is that you show up with curiosity, patience, and your good mood :-).
No. Skis, poles, boots, skins, pulks, harnesses, tents, sleeping mats/bags, stoves, kitchen utensils, etc. are provided by Arctic Outlaws. You will in essence only have to bring your own winter clothing.
We aim for groups sizes of 6-10 guests. This gives a good intimacy and energy, and it gives the guide good time to attend to all guests during the tour, as well as it encourages the participants to get to know each other and share. Also, the guests can more easily be included in the decision making.
Taking calculated risk is a natural part of any outdoor adventure tour. Otherwise it is simply not an adventure tour.
Snow and ice involves the risk of falling. If your fingers, or other extremities, are exposed too long to the cold temperatures it may involve the risk of frostbite. If you do not drink enough during the day you may become dehydrated. And so forth.
To map down and scale the risks involved, we have – with the assistance of consultancy company Orinor – made an extensive EHS (Environment, Health, Safety) survey in order to identify and categorise the risks involved on each tour with appropriate responses implemented.
The weather, for example, may change, even though the forecast predicted something else, resulting in a route change or maybe in setting camp earlier. Being out in nature we are the guests of mother nature, and it is a must to continuously be able to adapt to the conditions we encounter.
Being out in nature we are humble and respectful guests wanting to cause the least possible negative impact while enjoying the great outdoors.
Thus, while we travel and camp, we will be aware to not to disturb wildlife, trees or plants, we will carry all our trash (that the guide will dispose of correctly upon return from the tour), we will leave what we find, we will respect wildlife, and be considerate to our co-travellers and other travellers we may encounter.