Summer Skiing — with Polar Bears! — at the Svalbard Ski Touring Festival
Now this is summer skiing. (Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen)
In the far northern reaches of Norway a group of ski bums just shooshed past polar bears — in June.
Lit by the midnight sun, the third annual Toppturfestivalen Svalbard — the world’s northernmost ski touring festival — took place May 29 to June 1 on its namesake island. The Svalbard archipelago is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole with Greenland as its neighbor, deep in the icy Arctic Ocean. Not surprisingly, it has snow all year round. Also not surprisingly, it’s not on the radar for most ski bums.
Hamming it up during the Toppturfestivalen Svalbard (Top Photo: Ståle Schumacher; Bottom Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen)
Enter six young dudes living in Svalbard and their idea to create a ski touring festival in order to introduce this exotic place to their ski-loving friends on the mainland. Because Svalbard is like nowhere else: Polar bears, midnight sun, dogsledding under the northern lights and fine dining with “arctic tapas” (local seafoods, cheeses, meats) are only a few of the things that attract tourists.
Mountains made for ski tours. (Top Photo: Kristin Folsland Olsen; Bottom Photo: Ståle Schumacher)