Take a look at these pages for mountain guides:
Mount RundtindenAnd make sure to check out http://www.varsom.no/en/ to get avalanche hazard warnings, before you go skiing in Lofoten.
Mount Rundtinden is probably the roundest mountain on the island of Austvågøy, without that influencing skiing conditions there in any way. The summit is 830 m above sea level. The mountain is easy to climb from a number of directions and offers magnificent and varied downhill skiing.
The fact that Mount Rundtinden is easily accessible from several directions, means that you can choose a different face if conditions on the ascent were crusty or windswept, etc. Just don't forget to call a friend who can pick you up when you get down to the road.
Kudalsheia Moor is the quickest and commonest route to the top. The trip starts with about a 20 minute drive from Svolvær. After 15 minutes, turn off towards Laukvik, from where you pass a power station. About 3 km after the crossroads you reach a sharp right turn on a hilltop. The exit road is about 100 m over the hilltop. From there you will see Kudalsheia moor leading towards Mount Rundtinden. The ascent starts beyond a few small wooded hills where you reach the foot of Kudalsheia moor. From there, you aim for the top of the moor. After climbing about 400 m, you will reach the top from where you follow the ridge until it disappears into the mountainside. Now you zigzag up the valley that leads to the top, about 100 m from there you will reach a pass where you cross over to the right, climbing the last ridge towards the top. The descent is fine, offering varied skiing on ridges and in valleys. You can also ski down the valley on the south-east side of the moor instead of skiing across the moor where you went up.
Kudalsheia Moor is definitely recommended in the springtime, when the midnight sun lights up the entire northern face of the mountain. The snow stays on the ground here for quite a long time.
The trip starts at the Vaterfjord, about a 10 minute drive from Svolvær on the road to Fiskebøl. You pass Hammerstad Camping and drive over a small bridge. On the left hand side of the road there is a slip road. From there, you go along the shore towards the foot of the mountain. The ground or snow there is usually well-trodden by people on their way to their cabins. Before reaching the foot of the mountain, you have to cross a stretch of seashore that may be under water from time to time. The ascent starts on the natural ridge that leads up to Mount Rundtinden. The rest of the climb is straightforward. When you have reached the top of the aforementioned ridge, you aim a little to the left of the summit and then follow the crest on the final stretch to the top.
The Vaterfjord faces in the direction of the sun and is thus perfect on a clear day.
The Småtindan Peaks
The Småtindan Peaks are Lofoten's most popular off-piste alpine skiing area. The range of peaks stretches from Stortinden Peak in the west, to Finnmarkstinden in the east. This is easy touring terrain and you can ski practically anywhere in the area. The peaks are located near the town of Kabelvåg, so you do not necessarily need a car to get there.
The good old Småtindan trail runs from Svolvær, via the three Nøkkvannene lakes, to Utsikten, the view. From here you continue along the Småtindan range of peaks until you end up at Solhålla, before returning to Svolvær the same way. This is called "doing the Småtindan" and has always been the typical mountain outing among the people of Svolvær. After plastic ski boots and carving skis arrived on the scene in Lofoten, this route has largely been used only by adult leather ski boot freaks. Doing the Småtindan today, means starting from Kabelvågmarka, climbing up to the cairn at Varden, and then skiing down the same way.
As mentioned above, Småtindan is a popular area for skiing. On fine, sunny days or after long periods with no snowfall, the snow can be rather worn down and rutty, but earlier in the year, when the thermometer keeps people indoors, you will often encounter wonderful, untouched powder snow conditions.
The trip starts via the illuminated ski trail in Kabelvåg. If you drive westwards on the E10 from Kabelvåg, you will cross a small bridge, about 0.5 - 1 km from the town centre, where there is a signpost pointing to Eidet. Turn right there and proceed to the car park, about 200 metres from the main road. From there, follow the illuminated ski trail to Kongsvatnet lake. To the left you will see the ridge that leads up to Mount Ørntinden, it is called "Aksla" and is a gentle slope about 2-300 m above sea level. NB: Keep to the ridge. If you go too far out to the sides you may start an avalanche.
On top of Aksla, you need to ski in a downward direction for about 50 metres before you can start the climb up to Varden. From there it is about 400 m to the top. Which way you go is up to you, but people normally keep to the left all the way to the top. The end of the trip is really just a cleft about 50 metres below Varden.
The route of descent is optional, people ski all over the Småtindan. The route traversing Mount Ørntinden, however, is the finest. Hardy Lofoteners normally turn round at the top of Aksla ridge and go back to the top again. Aksla ridge is rather overgrown with bushes and thickets, but can be fun enough in winters with little snow.
Småtindan is in no respect comparable to trips like the Geitgaljartinden and Higravtinden peaks, since the downhill slope is no more than 5-600 m. But on days with a little snow flurry, or early in the season when there is little daylight and little snow, it is a good alternative to the sofa.
We consider Mount Geitgaljartinden the most awesome ski climb in Lofoten. The summit is 1085 m above sea level and is right next to Mount Higravtinden. If you only have one single sunny day at your disposal in Lofoten, then you just have to go to Geitgaljen. After all, this is Lofoten's longest downhill slope.
The ascent to Geitgaljartinden starts behind the shop in Liland. To get there, you drive to Laupstad, about 20 minutes from Svolvær in the direction of Fiskebøl. Towards the end of the 60 km speed limit zone, you will reach a crossroads with a signpost leading to Liland. Turn off to your right and drive about 1-2 km until you reach the Nærmat grocery shop.
NB: Under certain conditions, the ascent to Mount Geitgaljartinden is considered extremely prone to avalanches. When you climb the Lilandsdal valley (see photo below) lumps of ice and stone will loosen and fall down all the time, especially on days when the sun melts the snow on the mountainsides above. Be aware of this! Accidents have occurred and people have been hit.
The trip starts on the illuminated ski trail, just beyond the shop. From there, you follow the right hand side of the ski trail to the head of the Lilandsdalen valley. After leaving the ski trail, you have to go through an area of spread thickets and screes first, before passing a steeper stretch (point B in the photo below), where at times it may be rather icy. From there you continue climbing in terrain where it is easy to crisscross. At about 5-600 m above sea level you can choose between three alternative ascents. The one on the right is the commonest and gentlest slope, the one in the middle is steep and quick, while the one on the left is longest and is largely considered to be the best route for descent. At about 700 metres you turn off into the valley on the right. This valley is rather gentle and short, soon you will be able to see the summit. The valley ends up in a great hollow which you now have to pass. After that there is a steep incline of about 100 metres, after which you reach a final pass where many people leave their skis. Now, it is about 100 metres to the top. This final stretch is quite steep and it may often be necessary to use crampons and an ice pick here.
The Lilandsdalen Valley
The usual descent is on the route you took to the top. This is the safest route with regard to the risk of avalanches. The descent is very varied and great fun. The middle stretch allows you to choose between narrow snow chute skiing and more gentle valley skiing. Be sure to make a note of the chute above point B on the photo below. This is a tough and steep chute if there is a lot of ice, so check it out on your way up.
The Kvanndalen Valley
The Kvanndalen Valley indisputably constitutes the steepest descent from Mount Geitgaljen. It is nothing but steep and long - but insanely fun when conditions are right. Every year there are sizeable avalanches in the entire valley, be therefore 200% sure about conditions before skiing down this route! The descent ends up at the head of Austpollen cove. From there you have to walk along the shoreline for about 15 minutes before arriving at the road, along which it is about 1 km back to the shop.
We also recommend the book Lofoten-skiing in the magic islands. The new edition is available at our online shop.