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Photo: ST Bildarkiv

Ski Touring on the King's Trail from Abisko to Kebnekaise (Sweden)

A guided hut-to-hut ski touring expedition on Sweden's most famous long-distance trail

  • Guided
  • Hard
  • From £744/person
  • Mar-Apr, 8 days/7 nights
  • Adults (min age 16), Groups, Solo
  • Itinerary
  • Dates & Prices
  • Good to Know
  • Gallery & Comments
  • Description
  • Arrival
  • Following Days
  • Departure

Description

The King's Trail (known as "Kungsleden" in Swedish) is a long-distance path in the far north of Swedish Lapland, deep inside the Arctic Circle. An excellent destination for hiking in the summer, the King's Trail also offers marvellous opportunities for ski touring in wintertime.

Ski Touring on the King's Trail is one of the world's "classic" ski touring routes - challenging, spectacular and dramatic without requiring extensive expedition experience or extreme levels of fitness. The tour is led by local guide and is suitable for those with an intermediate-advanced level of ski touring experience.

The Abisko-Kebnekaise trail is probably the most famous section of the King's Trail, running from Abisko Mountain Station on the shores of Lake Torneträsk south to the base of Mt. Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain at 2105m. Along the way, you will be staying in mountain cabins, taking part in the preparation of meals and other duties as you reflect on the day's adventures. The cabins are heated by wood-burning stoves and offer simple but comfortable accommodation - a welcoming haven after a long day on the trail! Your last night in the mountains is spent at Kebnekaise Mountain Station, which offers sauna, showers and a well-earned restaurant meal as you prepare for the final day's ski touring towards Nikkaluokta.

Each day you will be covering 12-20km between the cabins, carrying provisions for max. 2 days at a time. You should count on a pack weight of around 10-14kg (including 2-3kg for provisions/safety equipment on top of your personal packing).

Ski Touring on the King's Trail from Abisko to Kebnekaise offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery of this remote region in the full glory of a Swedish winter!

Add a night at Abisko

For those with a special interest in the Northern Lights, there is the option to add an extra night at Abisko before the tour, including a visit to the Aurora Sky Station. The microclimate in the Abisko area means skies are often clearer than elsewhere and the Aurora Sky Station gives very good chances to see the Northern Lights.

Ski touring or ski mountaineering?

Please note that this is not a ski mountaineering tour. When skiing on this tour you are travelling in a hilly landscape in between the peaks (that is, not normally doing peak tours), on mountain plateaus and the borderline between woods and mountains. The skis ideal for ski touring in this region are a little thicker than cross country skis and have boots which are warmer and more substantial, while still being comfortable for use over long periods on flattish terrain. Like cross country skis, they have a camber and always have a loose heel. Ski equipment intended for ski mountaineering/alpine skiing in off-piste conditions will normally not be suitable, as the additional width of the skis, heavier boots, etc, would make for very heavy going on a tour of this type.

Arrival

NB: There is the option to add a night at Abisko Aurora Sky Station before your tour. Please see under "Dates and Prices > Optional extras".

Gather at Abisko Tourist Station in the afternoon around 16.00-17.00 after the last connection arrives from Kiruna. Dinner in the station restaurant and information about the tour.

Special arrangements for tour 7th-14th April: Day 7 and 8 have different arrangements due to Kebnekaise Mountain Station being used for the Kebnekaise Classic during this period. For this tour, guests will be transported the last 19km of the route to Nikkaluokta on Day 7 rather than skiing this distance on Day 8 as would normally be the case. Please see itinerary information for details.

Following Days

Day 2:

The start of your tour. The route takes you through Abisko National Park to lake Abiskojaure and your cabins on the south side of the lake.

Distance: 15km. Height difference: +100m.

Day 3:

This day takes you up into the high mountains to the cabins at lake Alesjaure, with the chance for an evening sauna to soothe your muscles!

Distance: 20km. Height difference: +300m.

Day 4:

A shorter section than the previous day, taking you to the mountain cabin at Tjätka.

Distance: 13km. Height difference: +200m

Day 5:

Today you will cross over the Tjäktjapass at 1440m with views of the Tjäktjavagge valley. From here, it is easy skiing down to the cabins at Sälka, where the opportunity for a sauna awaits!

Distance: 12km. Height difference: +150m, -300m.

Day 6:

This day offers easy skiing along the Tjäktjavagge valley towards Singi, where accommodation for the night will be in dorms with gas or wood-fired heating.

Distance: 13km. Height difference: -100m.

Day 7:

Stunning views over mountain peaks and glaciers as you head for Kebnekaise Mountain Station, which offers sauna, showers and restaurant dinner.

Distance: 14km. Height difference: +150m, -150m.

Special Day 7 arrangements for tour 7th-14th April: Kebnekaise Mountain Station, the normal overnight location, is being used exclusively for the Kebnekaise Classic event on this day. You will ski to Kebnekaise as for other dates and, after a short break there, be transported by snowmobile the remaining 19km to Nikkaluokta. Here you can have sauna and shower before dinner. Accommodation in 4-bed rooms.

Departure

Your final day of ski touring takes you to Nikkaluokta, where you have a meal in the local restaurant and take a shower. Bus to Kiruna (will connect with the latest available night train departure to Stockholm). Earlier transfers for guests departing by flight can be arranged as an optional extra.

Distance: 19km.

Special Day 8 arrangements for tour 7th-14th April: As you will have overnighted at the normal end point at Nikkaluokta the previous evening, there is no skiing this day. After breakfast, the bus to Kiruna departs less than 5 mins' walk from the accommodation.

Please note that the programme is subject to change depending on weather and snow conditions.

  • Dates
  • Prices
  • Included
  • Not Included

Dates 2018

10.03-17.03.18, 17.03-24.03.18, 25.03-01.04.18, 07.04-14.04.18^, 14.04-21.04.18*

^The tour 7th-14th April has a different itinerary for the last part of the tour - see under "Itinerary" for details.

*The Northern Lights can be seen anytime from around September to early/mid April. While the "spring winter" in March and April has longer hours of daylight and shorter nights than the deep midwinter, on the other hand these months can also have a greater incidence of clear skies.

Prices 2018

Prices are in British Pounds and Euros. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment in Swedish Kronor (SEK) - please contact us for details.

Standard Prices  
Per person (tour dates 10.03-17.03.18, 17.03-24.03.18, 07.04-14.04.18, 14.04-21.04.18)GBP 744EUR 840
Per person (tour dates 25.03-01.04.18)GBP 792EUR 894

NB: Please note that ski equipment is not included. Please see "Optional extras" below.

Optional Extras (see description below)  
Ski equipment/person (skis, boots, poles, not skins)GBP 226EUR 255
Aurora Sky Station/personGBP 178EUR 201
  • Ski equipment: See image below. Includes skis, boots and poles (not skins). Please advise height and shoe size in advance. We recommend that participants opt for "wax-free" skis. If choosing skis requiring waxing, please note that wax is not included. Please also note that climbing skins are not considered necessary for the King's Trail tour and are not included in the equipment package.
  • Aurora Sky Station: Add an additional night at Abisko Turist Station before your tour begins, including a night visit to the Abisko Aurora Sky Station, giving excellent chances to see the Northern Lights. Price includes return chairlift, warm Aurora watchers thermal overalls, half-board accommodation in shared 2-person room with en-suite WC/shower. NB: This option applies only to tours in March. The Aurora Sky Station is open for night visits until 24th March 2018.
  • Airport transfer: Tour start/end times are timed to fit night train arrivals and departures Stockholm-Abisko and Kiruna-Stockholm. On departure day, the included transfer from Nikkaluokta to Kiruna will meet the latest departing night train connection. For guests who wish to depart by domestic flight from Kiruna on the departure day and whose flight times would be too early to take the standard transfer back to Kiruna, it is possible to arrange special airport transfer, either from Kebnekaise mountain station (where you will stay on the last night of your tour) or from Nikkaluokta (where you ski to on the last day of your tour for transfer back to Kiruna). A transfer can be provided to meet flights departing Kiruna 13.00 and later (it is not possible to reach Kiruna for flights departing earlier than 13.00). Flight times departing Kiruna earlier than 16.00 will require transfer from Kebnekaise. Flight times after 16.00 (though check before booking that the standard transfer included is not sufficient for your chosen flight time) require transfer only from Nikkaluokta. NB: Airport transfers can only be offered when there are minimum 2 persons requiring the transfer.
  • Other Equipment: The following additional equipment is also available to hire on request. Please contact us for prices:
    • Skins: Climbing skins are not included as standard with the ski equipment package and are not considered essential for the tour. However, skins can be hired if required.
    • Backpack.
    • Sleeping bag and sleeping sheet.
Ski touring equipment

Typical equipment provided for hire/suitable for the tour. Photos: ST Bildarkiv

Included

Accommodation:

Accommodation in shared multi-person rooms at Abisko Tourist Station, Kebnekaise Mountain Station* and mountain cabins along the route. Abisko, Abiskojaure, Alesjaure, Sälka and Kebnekaise have sauna and also provisions stores. *Tour 7th-14th April has special arrangements with last night at Nikkaluokta instead of Kebnekaise - see under "Itinerary" for details.

Cabins: The beds are fitted with mattresses, pillows and blankets. During the winter season you should bring a light sleeping bag (the interior of the cabins is warm once heated - a dedicated winter bag is not required). The cabins are comfortable but of basic standard and there is no electricity or running water. You will all need to help each other with domestic duties, cleaning, cooking, doing the dishes etc. Wooden fires or gas heats the cabins. The cooking is done on gas stoves. The cabins you will visit during this tour have 20-78 beds (rooms with 4-10 beds, male/female mixed). There are also extra mattresses and blankets in case the cabin gets full. Everyone will get shelter - in the event that all the beds are occupied you will get a space on the floor and a mattress. It is not possible to reserve beds in advance.

Mountain Cabin Accommodation

Typical mountain cabin accommodation during the tour

Meals:

Full board accommodation at Abisko Tourist Station and Kebnekaise Mountain Station. Meals along the route and final meal in Nikkaluokta.

Food for sale (for additional snacks): In Alesjaure and Sälka there are small shops where you can buy dried and canned food, drinks and snacks, etc. There is no fresh food for sale in the mountain cabins. There is also a small shop at Abiskojaure where you can find some food, but the range is not as wide as in Sälka and Alesjaure.

Guide:

Experienced and knowledgeable local guide.

Transfers:

Bus transfer Nikkaluokta-Kiruna centre. Transfer of luggage not needed during the tour (one bag/person) from Abisko to the end point at Nikkaluokta.

Not Included

  • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Good to Know > Getting There" for general travel information.
  • Alcoholic drinks.

Optional Extras

  • Required
  • Getting There
  • Combine This With
  • Groups
  • Eco Info

Required

Health requirements/experience:

For this mountain tour you should have a good level of fitness, previous ski touring experience and be comfortable skiing with a pack weight of around 10-14kg. The distance between the cabins varies from 13-20km, with a maximum altitude difference on a single leg of around 400m.

Recommended minimum age 16 years. Children under 16 with suitable experience accompanied by an adult may also be able to participate - please contact us to discuss your requirements.

What makes this "Hard"?

The tour takes place in a very remote area with simple accommodation on most nights and as a point-to-point tour you are committed to covering a certain distance. Skiing with full pack on all days, both physically and in terms of controlling stability when skiing, is the aspect participants normally find most challenging and in general the majority of persons find the tour more rather than less challenging than anticipated. However, trail/snow/weather conditions as well as the efficiency of your skiing technique can significantly affect the actual level of challenge.

NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "Dates and Prices > Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Minimum number:

Minimum total 6 persons required for tours to be confirmed to run. You are of course welcome to book as a solo traveller.

Getting There

NB: As a participant, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a suitable level of fitness and experience and bring clothing and equipment appropriate for the tour. Participants judged by the guide to have an insufficient level of fitness/unsuitable equipment which hinders the operation of the tour may be excluded. In this case, or if a participant chooses to leave the tour of their own volition, no refund can be offered and any additional costs incurred by leaving the tour are the responsibility of the participant. If you have any questions regarding your suitability for the tour, please don't hesitate to ask and we will be happy to advise.

Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Stockholm. For outward journey, night train to Abisko Turiststation or domestic flight to Kiruna plus train to Abisko Turiststation. The tour ends in Nikkaluokta for bus transfer to Kiruna (included in the price). Return from Kiruna to Stockholm by night train or domestic flight connection.

Without Flying:

Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Abisko Turiststation and return from Kiruna.

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:

Groups

Maximum 12 participants. This experience is open to travellers from all over the world. Groups may be made up of participants from a number of countries, around 60% of whom are likely to be from Scandinavia.

Private groups of minimum 6 persons can book this experience at standard prices on other dates by arrangement. Smaller groups are also possible at an additional rate - please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Eco Info

This tour has received a prestigious Swedish Ecotourism award for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.

Kungsleden - The King's Trail:

Created by the Swedish Tourist Association at the end of the 19th century, the King's Trail (or "Kungsleden") was made to introduce hikers to the beauty and majesty of the Lapland scenery.

The trail runs 440km from Abisko in the north to Hemavan in the south, passing through some of the world's most spectacular mountain landscapes. In summer, taking day-tours from the main route allows for an ascent of Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise, or excursions into the pathless wilderness of the mighty Sarek National Park.

Despite the remote ski touring possibilities afforded by the trail, altitude differences are relatively small, which makes the King's Trail an ideal long-distance path for extended tours.

Will I see the Northern Lights?

This experience is located in the far north of Sweden, one of the world's best locations for seeing the Northern Lights, and offers good chances to see a display during your tour for dates up to around early/mid-April. Wonderful displays are regularly seen on the tours. However, it is important to bear in mind that the Aurora is a natural phenomenon and sightings can never be guaranteed in any location - it is not possible to search for a display. The skies may be cloudy, there may be no activity, or you may be fast asleep after a hard day's skiing!

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