The Best Mountains to Ski the Midnight Sun

Spread the love

The already short ski season in the U.S. is getting shorter—by over a month, according to recent research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. But in the far northern reaches of the world, you can still find fresh powder in May, June, even July. And you can access it all day long under the light of the midnight sun.

Because of the way the Earth is tilted, there are certain periods during the year where the sun literally doesn’t set. Depending on how far north you go, you can get up to 24 hours of sunlight. Remote resorts, heli-skiing companies, and ski guides are taking full advantage of those extra hours to reach virgin slopes and ski long past normal lift hours.

While there’s beginner-friendly terrain around here, this kind of skiing isn’t for the faint of heart. North of the Arctic Circle is a frigid wilderness with few amenities (i.e. no lifts in most cases, so you’ll be helicoptering in, cat skiing, or skinning up to the summits). But these destinations and companies provide an incredible way for you to experience untouched territory—or just extend your search for pow just a little longer.

Essential Gear for an Overnight Backcountry Ski Mission

1. Niehku Mountain Villa, Sweden

Niehku Mountain Villa, a rehabbed train roundhouse, turns one of the most remote corners of the world into a luxury heli-skiing destination. Just north of the Arctic Circle, (a 90-minute flight from Stockholm), this lodge is open from the end of March to the end of May. Later in the season, you can ski over 5,000 square kilometers of terrain under the midnight sun. It’s a quick flight to Kebnekaise, Sweden’s tallest peak, for prime off-piste skiing, with the steep mountains and glaciers boasting an average vertical drop between 500 and 900 meters (up to 1,400 meters in some places). Nearby, you’ll find Riksgränsen, the world’s northernmost ski resort and Europe’s spring skiing capital, which stays open until the end of June.

Courtesy Image

2. Northern Troll Peninsula, Iceland

The northern Troll Pennisula in Iceland—which includes an area called Skidadalur, or Ski Valley—covers more than 1,500 square miles just below the Arctic Circle and offers vertical drops rising to 5,000 feet. As the first heli-skiing company in Iceland, Arctic Heli Skiing negotiated exclusive rights to some of the most epic summit-to-ski runs with incomparable views of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. You can actually fly out and ski right to the front door of their Klængshóll Lodge via multiple 4,000-plus-foot fall lines. The company operates from the end of February until the end of June; in May and June, you can head back out after dinner to watch the sun barely skim the horizon while you squeeze in a few more runs.

Fredrik Schenholm

3. Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, AK

A 40-minute flight from Anchorage, amidst sprawling volcanoes and glaciers, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge sits within easy reach of 1.2 million acres of Alaska heli-ski terrain. The area sees fresh powder through July, and TML offers multinight heli-skiing packages that take full advantage of spring and summer’s longer days (and warmer weather). The area is especially known for corn snow—a soft, forgiving surface that occurs when snow melts during the day and refreezes at night, and that’s especially excellent for carving through runs in the Alaska Range that start as high as 7,500 feet and drop a staggering 5,000-plus vertical feet while offering panoramic views of Denali, North America’s tallest peak.

Courtesy Image

4. Svalbard, Norway

On the Svalbard archipelago—a group of islands within the Arctic Circle between mainland Norway and the North Pole—the midnight sun lasts from the end of May to the end of August. Take to the sea on a sail-to-ski expedition that winds through the fjords to access untouched snow on countless glaciated peaks (note there’s no heli-skiing allowed in Svalbard). Thanks to the endless daylight, you can get up to nine hours of skiing in without an early wakeup call. Or stay in Svalbard’s largest town, Longyearbyen, where you can skin up to the summit of Trollsteinen and ski back down to the ocean.

Courtesy of Sawback Alpine Adventures

5. Baffin Island, Canada

Baffin Island, which covers about 196,000 square miles, is the world’s northernmost ski experience. The igloo-inspired Basecamp Baffin isn’t a resort, but rather a heli-skiing base with a lodge available for groups of eight to rent out. From the eastern coast of Baffin Bay, you can head into the untouched powder of the Arctic mountains. Between the towering granite peaks and the ice-filled fjords, literally anything can be ski terrain, whether you’re heli-skiing, ski touring, or cat skiing. The basecamp is only open in April and May (prime midnight sun season) for weeklong excursions.

Courtesy Image

The post The Best Mountains to Ski the Midnight Sun appeared first on Men’s Journal.