“There are only two or three other skiers in the valley”, says Bent, our Norwegian guide, with a wide grin, “but I haven't seen them all season.” No wonder, as Bent is the only UIGIAM guide on Senja Island, with over 180 summits. It is Norway's second largest island and is also known as ‘adventure island’ or ‘little Norway’ and is still largely undiscovered by tourists. Most skiers go to better-known destinations like the Lyngen Alps or the Lofoten.
Senja is an outdoor paradise where you can ice climb, rock climb, sea kayak, surf, hike, fish and of course ski tour! Upon arrival, Bent proudly shows us his Senja lodge, a cozy old fisherman's cottage perched right next to the fjord with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is a comfortable, self-catered lodge, perfect for a group of friends who want to ski amazing terrain at an affordable price!
Caroline and I travelled to Senja in May of 2015 and it turned out to be the perfect way to prolong our season! Upon arrival Bent takes his best pal skiing with us. He keeps wagging his tail, while sprinting past our fit guide. Yeti, an Alaskan Malamute covers at least twice the distance while Caroline and I take our time, soaking in our beautiful surroundings: we see white beaches, rocky cliffs with perfect ski couloirs, bright green moss and the azure blue fjord dotted with fishing boats. Like us, Yeti prefers the descent, and happily dashes back and forth as we slalom down the slopes and it is hard to tell who’s having more fun: Yeti or us!
On our way home we pass a harbor with a huge fish factory, where we buy two kilos of cod and 500 grams of prawns for just €12, freshly caught from the fjord only hours ago!
Fishing is Senja's main industry, with cod, herring, prawns and farmed salmon being the largest catches. During peak season, the island exports around 150 tons of farmed salmon. Back in the lodge, we prepare our fish feast, while Bent tells us about the guidebook he is writing that will come out in the fall of 2016.
Bent is not only a great guide; he and Yeti are also the perfect hosts. For only 350 euro per day he will guide a group of six. For only 40 euro per night per person you can stay is his Senja Lodge and this is by far the cheapest and very comfortable option in the area.
Hamn i Senja is a natural harbor with brand new, modern fisherman’s cottages, located only a 30-minute drive from the Senja Lodge. Most guests are actually fishermen and for 135 euro per night you can stay in a suite with a double bedroom with a private dock.
Fly with SAS airlines from Amsterdam to Tromsø. If you need to spend a night in Tromsø, we recommend the Scandic Grand hotel, located in the city centre. Or rent a car on the airport with Avis and arrive in Senja after a mere 3-hour drive.