Know avalanche risks and prioritize safety
We are very lucky to have such amazing places to ski here in Tromsø. Ski touring is a way of life for a lot of people. When it comes to the outdoors, exploring mountains in winter and especially backcountry skiing and snowboarding requires acceptance of some risks and taking practical steps to mitigate them.
The mountains may be smaller than some other regions, but every year more people die in avalanches than they should. It is your responsibility to make sure you plan your trip well and come back home safe. You should always carry an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe when exploring mountainous terrain and know how to use them (you can rent avalanche equipment with us).
At Tromsø Outdoor we can check current avalanche warnings on Varsom for you and sometimes we may try to discourage you from going to any risky terrain but eventually, it is you who decide where to go and when to turn back, so you must be well prepared.
The snow conditions and weather patterns in North Norway can be very different from other mountainous regions and can be very localised. The sun has a different effect on the snow at this latitude and the snow conditions are different on the coast than on the inland. We recommend experienced customers pay extra attention to the avalanche situation in Northern Norway Stay updated on the weather conditions in the area with yr.no and senorge.no.
To get the latest information about the avalanche risks we recommend downloading the new VARSOM-REGOBS app, released in March 2019. This app has alerts and observations are collected in one place. Carson-Regobs is a new app and will replace regObs and Varsom apps. It is available on Google play and the app store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=no.nve.regobs4
The new app has full English language support and can be integrated with other notification services.
We have a selection of safe places to visit here and we use our knowledge of local conditions if we give you any recommendations.
On days with moderate (level 2) to low (level 1) avalanche risk we recommend mountains and hills with slopes of steepness below 20/30 degrees or valleys. On days with considerable (level 3) avalanche risk, we recommend wide, safe valleys and flat terrain or recommend staying in the city and walking around in the forests on the top of the island. If the avalanche risk is high (level 4), or considerable (level 3) but conditions are not stable we recommend staying away from the mountains. There are many rewarding activities you can join in Tromsø without putting yourself and others at risk. Just ask us and we will fill up your days.
We always recommend joining local, certified guides (for example Tromsø Ski Guides) for skiing in the mountains in the area. Always check if the guides you plan to join have the right qualifications and local experience.
To sum up:
- We strongly advise you to use Varsom, YR, before your arrival and follow the conditions well in advance.
- You can find traffic information on the Statens Vegvesen website (at times roads in our area are closed due to avalanche risks).
- Before you head for the tour make sure you are well prepared - find tips on the Visit Norway website.
- The nine simple rules of the Norwegian mountain code to help you stay safe.
We have winter safety booklets available in the centre that hand out on the days with higher avalanche risk.
Avalanches and the safety of people who rent our equipment is our big concern as we know how dangerous the terrain we live in can be.
Make sure that you take all the necessary steps to enjoy your holidays and come back home safe.