Svalbard Ski Touring

Packing for our Ski & Sail Mission on Svalbard

The final packing has begun! Chaos, madness, and too many things to pack will make this a crazy week.

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First off, maps. Turns out Gaia GPS offers Norway Topo maps, but for some reason I’m not seeing them as an option to download on my phone. First snafu; email sent to Help. I created a bunch of Google Earth and TF Outdoors topo maps in CalTopo, for upload to Avenza. Not ideal, but it’ll work. Next, there’s a TopoSvalbard app, but it’s not apparent how to use the app offline. (I”m betting on pilot error, but still futzing with it.)

Naturally there are paper maps to be printed/purchased, but these are 50m contour lines and 1:100,000--useless for fine navigation. This is a work in progress.

The next monkeywrench in the whole process is Mike Arnold’s wedding. Mikey and I founded Vetta together, in 2014, after we both earned our pins. He’s since moved to Italia and has engaged himself with a absolutely wonderful woman, Elena. I’m headed to their wedding after Svalbard, skis, boots, luggage in tow. If they were marrying in their home town of Aosta, Italy, the skis might serve me, but they’re tying the knot in Faro, Portugal, far from the mountains.

Rebecca and the boys will meet me in Faro. The boys, of course, want tuxedos for the wedding, but that’s on Rebecca’s plate. I had to buy a suit on next-to-no notice, but that’s another blog entirely. All I can say it, it’ll be awesome to see them, but then I have to stash skis and luggage in Portugal after Mikey’s wedding, because we’re headed to Morocco. After Morocco, the boys and Rebel fly home and I’ll go see family in Italy. Rebecca, ever the saint, agreed to shuttle my ski bag and roller home at that point. God bless her.

Rebel and the punks, before they were international travelers!

Rebel and the punks, before they were international travelers!

Have you used SpotWx? It’s a small operation,  so consider donating  to keep the site running! They offer Canadian and American weather models, long- and short-term. Great service.

Have you used SpotWx? It’s a small operation, so consider donating to keep the site running! They offer Canadian and American weather models, long- and short-term. Great service.

With all that in the background, I’m packing for our ski & sail mission on Svalbard. The ten-day forecast looks like relatively warm (just before 0C) temps, with a bit of precip on the way--heavy snow, rather than rain (phew!). I’m psyched...Tom Wolfe’s (sawback.com) photos from last year were spectacular. Friends who’ve been rave about it.

Funnily enough, our former au pair, the lovely Alicja Juzkow, has a friend living and working on Svalbard. I just friended her on the Facecramp and we’ll connect in Longyear, the capital town. Small world.

The Norwegians have quit daily avy advisories for Svalbard, but northern zones like Lyngen have been bouncing between Low (1) and Mod (2) for the past few weeks. Relatively mild, stable weather means Svalbard is probably in a similar cycle, but we’ll have a few days before guests arrive to assess conditions, gather data, and start making informed terrain choices.

Stay tuned for photos and routes from Svalbard--it’s almost here!