This past March, I flew to the island of Senja, Norway, to take part in one of the many self-powered backcountry programs offered by Pure Ski Touring. The island is part of a 612-square-mile archipelago that sits in one of the northernmost, least-populated counties in Norway. Camilla Antonsson, founder of Pure Ski, says that of all the touring trips the company offers around the globe, Senja is definitely the most isolated.
It’s also the most inviting, with hundreds of low-angle approaches, no high altitude requiring acclimation, and relatively little avalanche danger—gusts of warm air from the ocean make the layers of snowpack dense and reasonably stable.
During five days of skiing, our group was treated to mind-blowing views of young, jagged, shark-tooth spires of rock that form battlements against the Arctic Ocean. All we could see were the blue-black sea, white peaks, and the kind of sharp light found only near the poles.