Sarek in winter

Sarek National Park is an area that has not been adapted for tourism. There are no overnight cabins or toilets and only a few bridges. Here we stay on the conditions of nature. This journey is at the beginning of March.

Sarek is a demanding and weather-exposed area that is not risk-free to ski in. Together with me as your guide, you get an opportunity to test yourself and develop your knowledge for 8 days while we travel through what is called Europe’s last wilderness.

Trip facts
  • 5-13 March 2021
  • Starting point: Ritsem
  • End point: Saltoluokta
  • Trip length: 9 days
  • Group: Minimum 4, maximum 8
  • Price: 15 200 SEK
  • Experience of winter camping is a requirement. Knowledge about multifuel stoves and being able to ski a daily distance of ~15km while pulling a sled.
Book here

Preparation and packing

This trip demands a lot of both you and your equipment. You will receive help and advice on what potentially needs to be bought, rented or borrowed through FaceTime, mail and cellphone – contact me with what you lack and we will take a look at it. Exercise with a 20-25 kg backpack at home well in advance for a good experience. Before departure, we ensure everything is controlled and optimised so that you get a good and safe experience. 

Food and accommodation

On a typical day, we eat breakfast together and prepare for the day to come before we ski further. If weather allows it we have a longer break in the middle of the day and enjoy our lunch outside. As it is not possible to stock up during the journey, we have everything with us from the beginning and carry it with us throughout the journey.

During our adventure in Sarek, we sleep in tents. Due to Corona we have our own tents with us. You need to carry your own equipment and food as well as parts of the shared equipment.

On the last day we arrive at STF Saltoluokta where we will sleep indoors. We have the possibility to enjoy the sauna (corona-dependent) and eat a 2 course menu during the evening!

Gear needed

A detailed equipment list for you to consider will be sent to you upon contact. This equipment list is meant to help you compile your personal gear. Most items are required. Please consider each item carefully and be sure you understand the function of each piece of equipment before you substitute or delete items. Don’t cut corners on the quality of your gear.

If you need to rent ski equipment and sled it’s possible to do so though STF Saltoluokta and have them delivered to STF Ritsem by bus. Also possible to rent from Laponia Adventures. If so I would travel one day earlier to Ritsem to be sure that the rentet gear is there and that they actually fit you.

Adventure itinerary

Day 1 – Arriving with the bus in the early afternoon, we begin our adventure in Ritsem. Maybe we have not skied since last season and these slopes down to the lake may be the first for the year. We take it easy and wait for each other. Once down on the lake, we ski along the winter trail markings. Depending on the season and the ice situation, we ski over to the other side; opposite Akkastugorna cabins. We camp as soon as we get over. We help each other and depending on the time it took to get across the lake this maybe the only time we actually set up our camp with headlamps. A harsh start perhaps but it’s nice to finally stretch our legs, isn’t it!

Day 2 – We ski southwest along the slopes of Ahkka after breakfast and when it’s time we begin to carefully climb the hill in between the western peaks of Ahkka and Sjnjuvtjudis. A hill that takes time and where we have to struggle a little. We take it easy! We ski up and over at a slow pace. Most certainly we will use our skins here for a better grip while climbing. We slide down on the other side and ski at a comfortable pace towards Nijak. A mountain we do not reach during the day but which is nice to rest your eyes upon if visible.

Day 3 – Today we ski onwards toward Nijak. We ski slowly upwards and into Ruothesvagge. At least I will stay often if the weather is nice and enjoy the mountain views. Ahkka behind us and Nijak in front of us. It’s uphill today too. Today’s goal is to get up and past the reindeer herder’s cottage before pitching our tents in the middle or lower part of the valley. Slowly forward. White big open terrain to look at. Enjoy the wilderness!

Day 4 – From now on it’s just downhill or is it? When we passed the reindeer herder’s cottage yesterday we stopped climbing and now it will be “easier” to ski. Have you noticed? We wake up in the lower part of Ruothesvagge; one of the valleys in Sarek. We ski down towards Skárjá cabin and the only unlocked emergency shelter that is around. However, we take some height and keep our distance as we do not want to end up in the ravine while passing by. We ski onwards for a while towards Äphar and Pielastugan cabin before pitching our tents. We hope for good weather so we can fully take it all in and enjoy being in the middle of Sarek.

Day 5 – Rest day or if the weather has been bad a chance to catch up a bit.

Day 6 –  We look down on the Rovdjurstorget (predator square) and perhaps talk about the summer trail up towards Snávvájávrre. Perhaps we did se it already yesterday closing in. We ski pass Pielastugan cabin with some distance and shortly after we ski down on Lake Bierikjávrre. Here on the lake I usually close my eyes for a while. Äphar! What a wonderfull place! We are here. Ravens is most often seen here and it is wonderful to hear them. We ski meditatively north and around Bierikvárásj. Here it is usually icy and sometimes open water. We ski carefully forward. We keep the south-southeast side of the lakes as we approach Nienndo. We camp in a suitable place.

Day 7 – We wake up in the borderland to Sarek National Park somewhere southwest of Nienndo . Today we leave the park and travel towards and finally around Slugga. We ski on or next to the lakes and rivers and try to find a good route for us to pass safely. We are losing height today. It’s mostly flat or downhill but that’s not always how it feels. We keep our distance to Slugga as we round it so we not end up in the ravine. At the end of the day we ski down into the forest and camp just before Bietsávrre.

Day 8 – Today we take down the camp for the last time. We ski out on Bietsávrre lake and ski over. Here I’ve seen elks a couple of times. We aim for the southeastern part of the lake and the snowmobile trail that takes us further towards Saltoluokta. After skiing straight and flat for some time, we turn left and climb up the last slopes. We go up and over and then slowly and safely downwards to the mountain station. We’re here, we’ve done it! It’s time for a well needed shower and perhaps a beer infront of the fire. Here we will also enjoy a 2 course menu and a proper bed to sleep in.

Day 9 – Getting our things in order. Eating breakfast in the main building and then going over the lake with snowmobiles and sledges. It’s time to go home!

Getting there

I will travel by train from Gothenburg to Gällivare and then bus to Ritsem. I will book my whole trip through sj.se. That way I will get a +(plus) ticket meaning that SJ will help me getting there if we miss any connections along the way. There is only one daily bus going up to Ritsem. (Bus 93 from Gällivare to Ritsem on our way up and then Kebnats (Saltoluokta) to Gällivare on our way home.)

Language

Primarily in Swedish but can also be held in English.

Allergies/Medical

Please let me know if you have any allergies or medical needs when booking.

Insurance

I recommend that you check your insurance so that it applies to this type of activity.

Includes

  • Experienced guide with local knowledge
  • Tips and tricks along the way
  • Educational lessons along the way
  • Accommodation at Saltoluokta
  • 2 course menu and breakfast at delicious STF Saltoluokta restaurant
  • A deeper understanding about my “Art of Walking” mindset.
  • Satellite phone for weather and alarms (guide)
  • First aid kit (guide)
  • All images taken by me
  • Transport from Saltoluokta to Kebnats

Excludes

  • Travel to Ritsem & home from Saltoluokta
  • Personal travel & medical insurance
  • Food and snacks
  • Alcohol and other drinks
  • Personal spending – souvenirs etc

Reservations

We may need to adapt the route and program to current weather conditions and water levels.