Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Norway 2013: Sailboat Assisted Ski Mountaineering

Over the last 10 days of May, Mammut ambassador Todd Offenbacher joined Doug Stoup of Ice Axe Expeditions on an exploratory ski trip to Spitsbergen--on the northern coast of Norway--and to the northern island of Svalbard. The group sailed the coast in search of couloirs and they found many first descents and ski to sea ocean runs.

Todd on a classic ski to sea first descent. 

The group included
 many ambitious ski mountaineers including Kim Havell, Glen Poulsen, Matt Reardon, Sam Smoothy, Pete Gaston, Marcus Caston, Brian Warren, Brennnan Laggasse, Andrew Eisenstark and photographer Gabe Rogel.

The team loaded aboard the Artica II, a 62 foot steel hull sailboat in Longyearben, Spitsbergen. The expedition then sailed north into the land of the midnight sun and polar bears.

“This trip exceeded all my expectations,” said Offenbacher. “It was mostly untouched terrain in regards to skiing. Plus, you could ski thru the night. There was no difference in the daylight at 4 am or 4 pm. We pulled several all nighters.

The skiable terrain is unlimited and so is the daylight, hence Todd's plans to return in 2014 as a guide for Ice Axe Expeditions--for yet another trip of a lifetime.

 Couliors abound in Norway

Brian Warren finds soft snow in May in Norway.

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