SKIING THE NORTHERNMOST MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD: SVALBARD
WHEN ARCTIC EXPLORER DOUG STOUP asked me to join his expedition to Svalbard, Norway, to ski on the planet’s northernmost mountain range, I figured it would be more of a novelty. What I didn’t realize was the terrain and snow conditions would be world class.
Our journey began in Longyearbyen (population 2,000), roughly 800km from the North Pole, a whaling community turned coal mining town that currently features one grocery store, a couple of overpriced hotels, and a scattering of bright colored buildings. With less than 60km of roadway, the best (and virtually only) way to get around is by snowmobile. So our team of seven loaded up a small fleet of snowmobiles, along with towing sleds carrying all of the necessary gear and supplies to survive and ski for two weeks. Leaving fuel caches along the way, it took 12 hours to reach our final destination, the Atomfjella Glacier, containing the highest mountains on the island.