Sign the mountain
Mountain guide Anneke waxes lyrical when asked what is so special about off-piste skiing in Meløy. "You slalom down in powder snow from a 1,000 metre (3,300 ft) high mountain all the way to the shoreline; it's completely quiet, all you can hear are your skis, and you have an enormous feeling of freedom. It's all out in the most amazing mountain landscape you can imagine, and you are looking out at the fjord the whole time. When you reach the shoreline, you can turn round and see your tracks down the mountainside, your own signature".
The area around Holandsfjord, Svartisen and Glomfjord is relatively unknown to off-pisters, even compared with other off-piste destinations in Northern Norway. That means that the chances of skiing in someone else's tracks are fairly slim. Here the mountains rise steeply 1,000–1,500 metres (3,300–5,000 ft) from the fjord, a covering of snow is more or less guaranteed from February to April, and the snow usually has a layer of powder above a hard-backed base.
Effort and reward
Off-piste skiing takes place well away from any ski lifts. That means that if you want to get to the top of a 1,000 metre (3,300 ft) mountain, you have to get up there yourself, on skis with climbing skins fitted to them, and it takes physical fitness and effort to zig-zag your way uphill for four hours. According to Anneke, the downhill part, which tends to take around 20 minutes, is even