Inside the Arctic Circle - Skiing the Kings Trail

A classic Nordic ski tour inside the Arctic Circle




From $2,100 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • The spectacular Northern Lights
  • Husky support and cosy mountain huts of northern Sweden
  • Fully guided and all meals included
  • Ski touring equipment can be hired locally

This Arctic winter wonderland adventure holiday will see you ski touring Nordic style along the famous King's Trail/Kungsleden of Sweden. With the winter sun resting below the horizon, the Arctic landscapes of northern Sweden, featuring majestic peaks and frozen waterfalls, are bathed in an ethereal light. Our fabulous ski touring holiday through this winter wonderland along the King's Trail/Kungsleden of Sweden begins with 2 nights in Abisko - perhaps the best place in the world to experience the stunning Northern Lights. Then, after a day's instruction in the basic techniques of Nordic Skiing, we ski off into the wilderness, skiing across dramatic valleys and glorious viewpoint passes, as we follow the route of the King's Trail/Kungsleden. Dog-sledges carry the group's equipment and as the journey progresses we have the unique opportunity to become acquainted with the dogs and their individual personalities within the team. We overnight in remote mountain huts, some of which have saunas - the perfect place to relax after a full day cross country skiing in the cold, crisp air. Finally, from the Kebnekaise Mountain Station, beneath the highest peak in Sweden, we use snowmobiles to return to the roadhead. A memorable end to a fantastic ski touring holiday. Skiing the Kungsleden Trail demands a good level of fitness and, though cross country ski experience is not essential, you ought to have mastered the basics of down hill skiing.

Is this holiday for you?
During the course of this ski touring holiday, you will cover more than 90 kilometres on your skis, averaging 15 kilometres per day. The terrain is undulating rather than mountainous and the maximum amount of ascent on any of the days is 400 metres. There is no steep ascent or descent on the route. The trail is marked by wooden markers and we are likely to be following the tracks of other skiers. Since we have dog-sledge support to carry our sleeping bags and spare clothing, we can limit the amount that we carry in our day packs to the daily essentials plus a certain amount of group safety gear. It should be possible to keep our packs down to no more than 7 - 9 kilograms. Regular cross-country skiers will find this tour to be reasonably straightforward. Those with little or no previous cross-country skiing experience will find the going tough. Simply coming to terms with the techniques and rhythm of moving on skis on level ground is a challenge and it will be a couple of days before beginners will start to find it easier. Though we have included a training day at the beginning to give novices the chance to familiarise themselves with the basic ski touring techniques, we would only recommend this holiday to those who have at least mastered the basics of down hill skiing. Competent cross country skiers can spend the training day learning about winter safety equipment and survival skills. Ski touring equipment can be hired locally in Sweden.

Note that group members will be expected to take part in 'hut chores' including cooking, cleaning and fetching water. Please note: Because of the shortness of the day and cold temperatures during February, it is essential that all group members on early departures are competent cross country skiers only and not novices. On the later departures, the Northern Lights can still be seen, but to lesser effect as spring arrives. However the longer days, warmer temperatures and snow conditions allow this unique route to be enjoyed by most people with basic-intermediate skiing skills.

We have included a training day in the itinerary. For earlier departures, the focus of this day will be on the use of safety equipment and winter survival skills. For later departures the day can be used to give novices the chance to get an idea of what is involved in ski touring.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the Abisko Mountain Station. A single timed transfer from Kiruna Airport is provided.
  • A full day of ski touring tuition around Abisko.
  • Ski to the Abiskojaure Hut.
  • Ski alongside the Kama River and through the Alis Valley to Alesjaure.
  • Along the Alesantno River to the Tjaktja Hut (1040m).
  • Across the Tjaktja Pass (1140m) to the Salka Hut.
  • Follow the Tjaktja Valley to the Singi Hut.
  • Through the Ladtjo Valley to the Kebnekaise Mountain Station.
  • Departure day. Snowmobile transfer to Nikkaluokta. A single transfer to Kiruna Airport is provided.
Sat 13 Feb - Sun 21 Feb Code SKS /01/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
Sat 20 Feb - Sun 28 Feb Code SKS /02/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
Sat 05 Mar - Sun 13 Mar Code SKS /03/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 12 Mar - Sun 20 Mar Code SKS /04/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Guaranteed Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Kiruna. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Kiruna Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • airport
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the Abisko Mountain Station. A single timed transfer from Kiruna Airport is provided.

    Meet at the Abisko Mountain Station located approximately 1 hour from Kiruna Airport. A single timed transfer from Kiruna Airport is provided. Situated beside Lake TorneTräsk, the Abisko Station, built over 100 years ago, has recently been renovated to include a bar and a restaurant overlooking the lake. All around is a snow-bound landscape of undulating countryside covered in birch and pine forest, with views across to the peaks of the Kebnekaise range. Those who have opted to hire ski gear will have the chance to pick up their skis, boots, poles, climbing skins and gaiters. KE Land Only package services begin with a buffet-style dinner. After this there will be a short presentation about Abisko and the King’s Trail.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals d

  • A full day of ski touring tuition around Abisko.

    After breakfast, we will take a ski tour directly from the Mountain Station. The guide will be on hand to give advice to those who have little experience of ski touring. This day will give everyone a chance to try out their equipment and to get a feel for what the next 6 days will have in store for us. There will also be instruction from the guide in the use of safety equipment. An afternoon visit to the sauna is also recommended. At some point during today the guide will check out each group member's equipment, firstly to see that we have everything that we need, but also to make sure that we take nothing superfluous. Any items, such as travel clothes, which are not needed during the ski tour should be packed in a small bag (which you should take with you for the purpose) and left at Abisko. These will be transported around to Nikkaluokta to meet the group on the completion of the tour. We spend a second night at Abisko.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

  • Ski to the Abiskojaure Hut.

    Carrying only light daypacks (since our few items of indoor clothing etc., together with the group's food will be carried for us on dog-sledges) we set off on our ski tour. We start directly from our accommodation and pass almost at once through a wooden gateway marked 'Kungsleden.' Thereafter, the trail is marked by slender posts topped with a red cross and these are in place almost every 50 metres. This might seem like overkill in terms of marking the route, but the importance of these markers is fully appreciated in snowy conditions when visibility is poor. Although there is a marked trail, different groups and individuals take very different routes and we will see ski tracks heading off to take advantage of a level, frozen stretch of river, for instance. The first stage of the tour is relatively easy; fairly flat and through light forest. A bonus at this time of year, of course, is that all the lakes are frozen, providing the flattest and easiest conditions of all. The last part of today's 15 km route to the Swedish Tourist Federation (STF) hut at Abiskojaure takes us onto the ice of Abisko Lake itself. Typical of the STF huts along this route, Abiskojaure has simple dormitory accommodation and heating is provided by either gas or wood fires.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 100m

    • Distance 15km

    • Meals bld

  • Ski alongside the Kama River and through the Alis Valley to Alesjaure.

    This is a longer day's touring, involving some ascent, as we follow the Kama River westwards and then turn to the south-east to cross a low col and enter the Alis Valley, which is dominated by shapely snow-peaks. There is a total of approximately 400m of ascent during the course of the first part of today's tour. Those group members who have skins might want to fit them to their skis on occasion today. A logical spot to stop for a picnic lunch is at the 'windshelter' after approximately 12 km. There is a feeling today of entering the high mountains as we continue through the Alis Valley. After lunch, it is pretty level all the way to our overnight stop at the Alesjaure Mountain Hut, with the option to cut directly across Ales Lake for the last 5 km or to stay on the marked trail at its edge. There is a cluster of huts at Alesjaure including an excellent sauna in a separate hut. After 2 days on the trail we will be glad of its recuperative and relaxing influence. Note that saunas are mixed.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 300m

    • Distance 20km

    • Meals bld

  • Along the Alesantno River to the Tjaktja Hut (1040m).

    We have a shorter day today, of just 13 km. The first part of today's route follows the wide open Ales Valley and then begins a gradual ascent on easy-angled slopes which are nevertheless quite tough to ski up. If the weather conditions permit, we will leave the marked trail and make our own tracks along the Alesatno River. Our overnight accommodation is at the Tjaktja Hut (c.1040m) the highest on the King's Trail. A low rounded snow-peak, with a steep face rises above this hut. It is usual for the snow to be 2 metres deep in this area.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 200m

    • Distance 13km

    • Meals bld

  • Across the Tjaktja Pass (1140m) to the Salka Hut.

    Another short day, which starts with a 2-hour ascent of over 4 km, gaining just 100m in elevation, to the Tjaktja Pass (1140m). This is the highest point of the entire King's Trail and there are great views from the shelter at the col, looking towards the Tjaktja Valley ahead of us. Beyond the pass, we enjoy an easy downhill on a broad trail which contours across the left side of the valley to the Salka Hut. The Salka Hut is at a crossroads of several ski tour trails and there is sure to be an interesting mix of people in residence. Salka is also a popular base for Telemark skiers, as there are several peaks in the area which offer vertical drops of as much as 1000 metres, and the skiing season here lasts until June. This hut also has a sauna.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 150m

    • Distance 12km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 300m

  • Follow the Tjaktja Valley to the Singi Hut.

    Following the Tjaktja Valley, generally downhill and across easy terrain, we reach the huts at Singi after 13 km of skiing. The two huts at Singi are located by a small lake in an open bowl surrounded by low hills. If you still have the energy you can ski to the top of a nearby hill for fantastic views back over our route as far as the Tjaktja Pass.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Distance 13km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 100m

  • Through the Ladtjo Valley to the Kebnekaise Mountain Station.

    We effectively turn away from the King's Trail today, as we head west through the Ladtjo Valley to the Kebnekaise Mountain Station. This route provides a convenient way to exit this wilderness area and also provides us with a very logical 6-day ski tour. Our final day takes us 14 km, again predominantly downhill, to the Kebnekaise Mountain Station. Throughout the day's skiing, there are fantastic views of Kebnekaise (2117m) Sweden’s highest peak. There are excellent facilities at the Mountain Station, with showers, saunas, post-sauna chillout rooms, comfy chairs, a restaurant, bar and a shop selling souvenirs, trail food and some clothing and equipment. No more communal cooking is necessary, as all food is provided in the restaurant.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 150m

    • Distance 14km

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 150m

  • Departure day. Snowmobile transfer to Nikkaluokta. A single transfer to Kiruna Airport is provided.

    After breakfast at Kebnekaise, we have an exciting 1-hour snowmobile transfer, mostly across the frozen surface of Ladtjo Lake, to the trailhead at Nikkaluokta. Here, we are reunited with our trekbags and make the 1½ hour drive to Kiruna Airport. KE Land Only package services end at Kiruna Airport.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional English-speaking Swedish guide
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Single timed group Kiruna Airport transfers

  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for local staff
  • Ski equipment and boots and/or associated hire costs
  • Miscellaneous expenses souvenirs etc.

During this trip, the group will spend 5 nights in basic mountain huts and 3 nights at "Mountain Stations" (Kebnekaise and Abisko) which are more like lodges, with more facilities. Each of the mountain huts offers simple but comfortable accommodation. In the huts you will find a combined kitchen and day room, bedroom and drying room. Some huts even have a sauna. The biggest huts have spaces for about 90 people. Accommodation at the mountain huts is in dormitories. Pillows and blankets are provided. At the Abisko and Kebnekaise mountain stations, accommodation is in 2 bed and 4 bed rooms with shared toilet and shower facilities and communal seating areas. Each of the mountain stations also has a sauna, a restaurant and a bar. Single rooms are not available.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

All meals are included in the trip price, from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 9. Meals whilst skiing (other than at Abisko and Kebnekaise) will be prepared from preserved food via communal cooking, to be co-ordinated by the Guide.

Whilst staying at the mountain huts, everyone will be expected to assist with preparing meals. Breakfast will consist of bread, porridge or muesli with dehydrated milk, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and some jam. Lunch will be bread, sandwiches and soup, made up from hot water from a thermos. Dinner will be co-ordinated by the guide and will also be mainly dehydrated and processed food. Some fresh food items will be carried from Abisko on the dog-sledges. Whilst staying at the Mountain Stations at Abisko and Kebnekaise, all meals will be taken in the restaurants. Note that group members on this trip will share hut chores including preparing meals, washing up and carrying water to the huts.

Clients arriving at Kiruna Airport on day 1 of the land only itinerary will be met by the local guide or KE representative who will arrange the transfer to the Abisko Mountain Station. The flight from Stockholm normally arrives in Kiruna in the early afternoon and the transfer takes approximately 1.5 hours. On the last day of the land only itinerary you will be transferred back to Kiruna Airport for the flight which departs at lunch time.

Clients making independent travel arrangements, or cannot take advantage of the timed transfers from Kiruna airport should meet the group at the Abisko Mountain Station in the early evening of day 1.

Private transfers, public bus and trains are available to the Abisko Mountain Station from Kiruna and Kiruna Airport. Please contact the office for further information.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

The group will be accompanied by a professional, English-speaking Swedish ski guide and there will also be a support team of one or more dog-sleds and drivers. On this trip group members will share in the 'camp' chores. Typically the group will split into 3 teams, one responsible for meal preparation, one for washing and tidying the hut and one for fetching water to the hut. This will be coordinated by the trip leader teams will rotate chores throughout the week.

Approximately £100 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses, drinks and souvenir purchases. This amount will also allow you to pay reasonable tips to the local staff. Please also note that when you pick up your left luggage in Nikkaluokta you will be asked to pay a small fee (approximately US$6 per bag) for storage. This money goes directly to the local Sami community in Nikkaluokta. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of currency (Swedish Krona) since there will be not be any opportunities to change it once you leave Kiruna. There is no ATM in Kiruna airport, but you can withdraw cash at ATM's at Stockholm/Arlanda airport when you change flights. If you are intending to buy considerable quantities of soft drinks or beer, or expensive souvenirs you should budget accordingly.

There are several issues with regard to the weight of your equipment for this trip. Whilst skiing, you will be carrying any items which are needed during the day's ski tour. This will include additional clothing plus your thermos flask, packed lunch, and camera etc.. You will also be required to carry a small amount of group safety equipment. We estimate that your daypack whilst skiing will weigh between 7 and 9 kilograms. We recommend taking a daypack of reasonable size as, in winter weather, you will not want to attach equipment to the outside of your pack. Your trek bag will be carried on the dog-sledges and this should weigh no more than 7kg. Any items, such as travel clothes, which are not needed during the ski tour should be packed in a small bag (which you should take with you for the purpose) and left at Abisko. These will be transported around to Nikkaluokta to meet the group on the completion of the tour. If you are planning to travel with your own skis, please be aware that different airlines have differing policies with regard to baggage allowances and transporting ski equipment. The baggage section on your chosen airline’s website will usually contain this information. If you are using a domestic flight to connect with your International flight then it is likely that a different baggage policy will exist for the domestic and international flight sections. Again you should check the baggage policy with your chosen domestic airline prior to booking your domestic flight tickets. Any additional charges incurred for transporting your skis on any of the flights required for this adventure (international, domestic and internal flights within the trip itinerary - if applicable) are the responsibility of each individual client.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Ski touring boots - see Ski Equipment
  • Lightweight shoes or slippers (for use in the huts)
  • Socks
  • Technical walking socks (2 pairs)
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers/pants (for travel)
  • Ski or mountaineering trousers/pants or salopettes
  • Waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Thermal baselayer shirts (2 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve)
  • T-shirt or casual shirt to travel in
  • Fleece jacket
  • Warm jacket (synthetic or down filled)
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket with hood
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Lightweight balaclava or facemask
  • Eyewear- ski goggles and glacier sunglasses (Category 4)
  • Lightweight thermal gloves
  • Windproof and waterproof over-mittens
  • Spare pair of warm mittens
  • Backpack (c 60 litres) with hip belt (see notes)
  • Small bag (to pack travel clothes in)
  • Full-Length /Foam Mat (for sitting on at lunch stops/emergency use – see notes)
  • 1 litre Thermos Flask/Bottle
  • Camping mug
  • Spoon
  • Water bottle 1 Litre
  • Lightweight sleeping bag (rated to 0°C for emergency use)
  • Headtorch/headlamp and spare batteries
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite)
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Scarf/Neck Warmer
  • Sleeping bag liner or sheet sleeping bag
  • Pillow case
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Small Towel
  • Antibacterial hand wash

Ski Equipment

  • Ski-touring skis* - see below
  • Ski-touring boots *
  • Ski poles*
  • Gaiters *
  • Skins*
  • Windshelter (provided) One for every 2 persons
  • Snow shovel (provided) One for every 2 persons

The following items are optional:

  • Binoculars
  • Camera, film, batteries
  • Pen-knife (remember to put all sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Reading and music

Ski Equipment:

  • The ideal skis to use for this trip are 'no-wax' cross-country skis with scales, together with appropriate ski boots. Skis should have steel edges. If we encounter icy snow, crust or deep powder - the scales will not always provide sufficient traction and skins can be useful in such conditions. For inexperienced cross-country skiers, skins are also useful on long descents, slowing the rate of descent and providing a degree of control.

* Ski Hire Available:

  • Ski Touring Equipment, which includes skis (Asnes – Norwegian), boots (Crispi – Italian – leather, all sizes available), poles, climbing skins and gaiters can be hired through KE, from the Abisko Mountain Station, at a cost of approx GBP180. Please note that equipment should be reserved and paid for through the KE office with at least 5-weeks advance notice, along with your boot size (please specify European size) and your height.


  • Before setting out from Abisko, your travel clothes will be packed into a small bag (which you should bring with you for the purpose). These will be transported around to Nikkaluokta to meet the group on the completion of the tour.
  • Everyone needs to carry certain back-up items - see above - including a lightweight sleeping bag.
  • We ask you to bring a foam mat rather than a self-inflating thermarest because thermarests are not so easy to handle in very cold weather as they do not self-inflate.
  • At Abisko the group will be paired up and each couple will be asked to carry a snow shovel and emergency wind shelter, which will be provided.
  • A sleeping bag is not required in the huts, which provide bedding, but a sleeping bag liner or sheet sleeping bag is essential.
  • We recommend a 60 litre backpack as many of the safety items that you have to carry are bulky (not heavy). A larger backpack is easier to pack, and also you do not want to have items hanging on the outside of the backpack.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. While regular walking is the best preparation for this holiday, a weekly exercise plan (running, cycling, swimming etc.) is also good for developing cardio-vascular fitness.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The ski-touring season in northern Sweden extends from February to May. By the beginning of March there is lots of daylight (sun rises at 0700 and sets at 1700 approx.) and the temperatures start to rise. The ambient daytime temperatures are still low - several degrees below freezing - though, because the air is so dry here, it does not seem so cold. Night time temperatures in February and early March can be as low as -30°C though -10 to -15 °C is the norm from mid March through April. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream it is actually warmer here than its Arctic Circle location would suggest. During the day the sun warms the snow, causing a little softening and then at night it re-freezes to form a crust which is perfect for skiing. Long, sunny days are quite usual at this season, although it is also possible that we might encounter short-lived snow storms.

The Rough Guide to Sweden. Proctor and Roland. Sweden – Lonely Planet Guide. Bain and Cornwallis.

Tourist & Hiking Map. 1:100 000. Sheet BD6 (Abisko - Kebnekaise) Piblisher: Lantmateriverket.

A detailed topographic map in colour, at a smaller scale than most UK hikers’ maps but with a useful 25m. contour interval. The map is in Swedish with an English legend.

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