Arctic ICE Swimming Adventure


We are thrilled to offer our new Polar ICE SWIMMING event in the Far North of Svalbard… the last stop before the North Pole! We will also explore the polar surroundings and experience the true Arctic, including a cruise and a special day out dogsledding. We stay in comfort at the Basecamp Hotel, with its unique sealskin and driftwood decoration. Get yourself to Oslo and join us for this amazing Arctic aquatic adventure!

  • All meals and flights included to Longyearbyen.
  • Stylish and unique accommodation at Basecamp Hotel
  • Magnificent Arctic surroundings, mountains glaciers and snow.
  • Cruise in Isfjorden to see glaciers and look for wildlife
  • Expert guidance and leaders
  • Full logistics backup including follow-boats, sauna tents and polar bear protection
  • Ice Swimming events from 500m up to one Mile
  • Dog sledging expedition into the wild
  • Optional 3 day Snowmobile extension.

The International Ice Swimming Association presents this adventure with swims from 500m, 1000m and a new Polar Ice Mile in the waters of Longyearbyen, Svalbard located at 78 degrees North. The one-week program with optional three-day extension, is equally open for swim participants as well as friends or supporters.  You will have the most experienced ice swimming support and guidance with Ram Barkai, founder of The International Ice Swimming Association and his team.

We will stay in great Arctic comfort with all meals provided at the Basecamp Longyearbyen Hotel, with its unique sealskin and driftwood decoration. From the shores of Isfjorden we have three days to acclimatise and conduct our thrilling swim event, supported by follow boats, experienced leaders and a sauna shelter. We conclude our exciting days on Svalbard with a special day out dogsledding and with a celebratory dinner. 

Your Ice Swim Adventure Leaders

Ram Barkai

Founder and Chair of the International Ice Swimming Association (“IISA”). Swimming Expedition Leader and Race Director.

Ram BarkaiRam is a veteran extreme cold water swimmer. Ram swam in Antarctica in 2008 with his Guinness World Record Swim at 70S and in 2014 at -1C with his South African team. Ram has initiated and overseen many Ice Swimming events and adventures. Ram has 11 Ice Miles and many more 1km Ice Swims and longer cold-water swims. He swam in the Arctic and Antarctica, Cape Horn, Magellan strait and Beagle channel, Northern Iceland, Scotland and Ireland, Across the Bering Strait and in Siberia mid-winter at -33c air temp. Ram featured in various Discovery, History channel, CNN, Al Jazeera and many other documentaries. Ram’s vision is to take Ice Swimming to the Winter Olympic Games.

Dr Sean Gottschalk

Expedition Doctor, Specialist Emergency Physician

Dr IceDr Sean has extensive experience in swimming expeditions. He supervised many cold-water swimming events, various Ice Swimming Events and expeditions including Lewis Pugh Everest Swim, IISA SA Lesotho Mountains, Mad Swimmers High Altitude Cold Swim in Chile. He specialized in Trauma, Hypothermia and recovery. Dr Sean was the expedition doctor in Antarctica Ice Swimming event 2018.

Sam Whelpton

Expedition head of logistics

Sam WhelptonSam is a veteran open water and marathon swimming. Sam has also completed various ice swims from the Arctic to Antarctica via Lesotho high mountains. Sam is an Ironman |(woman), English Channel swimmer and many other swims. Sam will take care of any logistics requirement prior to the trip and during. Sam is also in charge of time keeping of the swim events.

Stewart's Take

Our new ICE swimming adventure, this time in the High Arctic 78 degrees North!


We are thrilled to offer our new Polar ICE SWIMMING event in the Far North of Svalbard… the last stop before the North Pole! We will also explore the polar surroundings and experience the true Arctic, including a cruise and a special day out dogsledding. We stay in comfort at the Basecamp Hotel, with its unique sealskin and driftwood decoration. Get yourself to Oslo and join us for this amazing Arctic aquatic adventure!
WELCOME to the ICE! Following the overwhelming response to our expedition to Antarctica we are thrilled to now offer a new Polar ICE SWIMMING event - this time to the Far North of Svalbard… the last stop before the North Pole! DAY BY DAY ITINERARY: Day 1 - Arrive Oslo, Norway Arrive independently to Oslo and make your way by the airport train to our centrally located hotel with spectacular views over central Oslo and within walking distance of top attractions such as the Royal Palace, National Gallery and Oslo Spektrum Arena. Browse the stores on nearby Karl Johans street, or access train, bus, tram and metro lines at Oslo Central Station, right next to the hotel. This evening we gather together with the group for a welcome dinner and to discuss our adventures ahead. If you wish to arrive Norway few days earlier, by all means, there is a lot to see, in a day or two from Oslo. (D) Day 2 - Oslo / Longyearbyen We take the train together to Oslo airport and then fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard. On arrival we are transferred to the Basecamp Hotel, our home for the next 5 nights. This unique property is decorated in authentic trapper’s style down to the very last detail, the interiors are covered with driftwood, sealskin, maps, pictures and objects that illustrate the past and the present of life in the Arctic. The rooms are all different, with comfortable beds, private bathrooms, wifi internet but no TVs! From all the rooms you have a beautiful view over the town, towards the mountains surrounding the valley of Longyeardalen. After lunch we have free time to explore Longyearbyen and its polar museum. (B,L,D) Day 3 - Ice Fjord Cruise - Test Swim Day! After a hearty breakfast our guide will pick us up and transfer to the harbour to embark on our two 12-passenger sightseeing boats for the day. We head out into Isfjorden to look for some scenic locations for photography and for the swimming participants, to make a first Test Swim of 200m ahead of our event days tomorrow. Experience Svalbard’s majestic mountains and glaciers surrounding Isfjorden, look out for wildlife such as walruses or seals and enjoy the view over the open Arctic Ocean. We may also stop by a bird cliff or visit Barentsburg, an old Russian mining town. At a specially chosen location in Isfjorden the swimming participants can make their first test swims to acclimatise to the polar waters. This afternoon we return to Longyearbyen and our Basecamp Hotel. (B,L,D) Days 4-5 - Longyearbyen – Main event ICE KM and ICE Mile. Following breakfast, we head off for the first heats of our Arctic Swim Challenge. We have a perfect shorebased location with shelter and sauna for our inaugural Arctic ICE KM Swim*. Restricted to experienced, Ice-Swimmers, this event will test the resolve and endurance of extreme brave participants - and is certain to be a thrilling spectator event for all! We have two full days available with special open boats to follow and supervise each swim group with a maximum of four swimmers each heat. There are also two extra guides present at all times for polar bear protection. This will be a recognised 1 km swim according to International Ice Swimming Association (IISA) ICE KM Swim rules. Each swimmer will be accompanied by a follow boat with expedition and medical staff and will be filmed and timed by expert IISA officials and doctor. Spectators will be able to observe from the boats or from ashore. On the shoreline we will have a sauna ready and heated as well as a bonfire and hot drinks. This evening we celebrate over dinner and award the brave swimmers who have completed the ICE KM swim events. (B,L,D) Day 6 - Longyearbyen - Dogsledding excursion and Trapper’s Dinner After our days on (and in) the water, today is set aside to explore some of the magnificent landscapes of Svalbard with some unique adventures. A late breakfast served (9.30 am) we are collected for full day dogsledding in Adventdalen. Learn how to mush your own team of huskies across the frozen fjords and glaciers of Svalbard. Become a real arctic explorer! The barking stops as the eager dogs lunge forward. Relax and smile, and let the pulling power of the dogs lead you into the arctic silence. Lunch is served in the wild. We continue to the Basecamp Trapper’s Station situated about 10 km from the edge of Longyearbyen in Bolterdalen, housing 90 Alaskan huskies trained for mushing. Here you can see and feel how trappers lived in the wilderness hunting seals and reindeer. We celebrate this evening with a two course dinner with drinks at the station. While enjoying the arctic food our guide will tell you about the history of Svalbard and lives of the trappers around the archipelago. Buildings and the surroundings at the Trapper’s Station are a replica of old Trappers’ Stations in Svalbard. There are many images, books, artefacts and equipment that are very common for hunter and still used in some parts of the archipelago. We return late this evening to our Basecamp Hotel in Longyearbyen. (B,L,D) Day 7 - Longyearbyen / Oslo Breakfast is served and you have free time before our transfer to Longyearbyen airport in time for our early afternoon departure flight. Arrangements end with your arrival to Oslo airport, however we can arrange additional nights accommodation on request. (B.) Ice Swimmer Notes: The adventure has 20 places in total. Swimmers and support. We will give priority to swimmers as it is an Ice Swimming expedition. We will take swimmers on first come first serve basis, subject to deposit payment.
  • To qualify for a 1km Arctic Swim one must have done at least one Ice km under 25minutes in the past 12 months.
  • To Qualify for a Polar Ice Mile, one must have completed an Ice Mile under 40 minutes in the past 18 months.
  • Each swimmer must have a completed and valid IISA Medical. The medical must be completed within six months prior to departure.
  • Each swimmer must have his/her medical insurance
  • Swimmer will be obliged to wear a tow float during each swim.
  • The 1km event will be held with 4 swimmers in a heat.
  • Swim Entries must be done via IISA Website – Arctic Ice Swimming Adventure
  • An Ice Mile is at the expedition leader’s discretion. Each Ice Mile will be done individually. In an Ice Mile, the 1km time will be used for the 1KM event.
3 day EXTENSION: SNOWMOBILE ADVENTURE Join us for a three-day extension trip to Nordenskiöld Lodge – the northernmost cabin for commercial trips on Svalbard. About 100 miles northeast of Longyearbyen lays the mighty glacier Nordenskiöld. Just at the foot of the glacier, you can find our new Basecamp Nordenskiöld. To get there we have to drive first over Tempelfjorden. We will not stop here, our adventure continues even further up north. We will continue over shiny glaciers and sharp mountains, toward the little frozen bay and our Nordenskiöld Lodge, which is only a stone’s throw away from the great Nordenskiöld Glacier. Here, hidden in the glacier moraine, we are going have the base for our adventure, just like the hunters and explorer from the past. The modern cabin gives us all the comfort needed, but still keeps up with the Arctic style. Just have a look at the perfect view from the cabin windows, right towards the magnificent glacier. It will take your breath away! Day 7 continue from main tour - Basecamp Hotel - Nordenskiöld Lodge This morning after breakfast meet your guide and get short briefing about winter clothing, snowmobiling and the program for next few days. Based on current weather and snow conditions, the guide will pick the best route for us. We will drive through unspoiled nature and do many exciting stops along the way. We will enjoy expedition lunch on the way. We will cross the frozen Tempelfjorden and pass the mighty Temple Mountain. We drive further north towards the glaciers in Olav V land. Arriving to the Nordenskiöld Lodge, we will get settled into our rooms, start the preparations for today’s dinner and enjoy the beautiful scenery around us. (B,L,D) Day 8 - Nordenskiöld Lodge After a tasty breakfast it’s time to sit back on our snowmobiles and head out into the beautiful scenery of Spitsbergen. We drive over glaciers, mountains and frozen fjords, miles from civilisation in a landscape of white and blue colours. If the weather and ice conditions are favourable, we head out to the abandoned Russian mining town, Pyramiden. We will get a tour around the town. In the old days before the evacuation, they had kindergartens, schools and even the world’s northernmost swimming pool. The Russians took nothing with them when they abandon the city in 1998 and almost everything lies as it was back then. We will enjoy expedition lunch on the way. During the afternoon, we return back to the cabin. And after a long day on the scooter we fire up the sauna and enjoy tasty dinner. (B,L,D) Day 9 - Nordenskiöld Lodge - Longyearbyen Breakfast is served at. 08:00. After the breakfast it is time once more to start our snowmobiles and head back to town. Based on current weather forecast and resent snow conditions, we will pick the best route back. We will enjoy expedition lunch on the way in the middle of the white landscape surrounded by arctic silence. If we are really lucky, we might catch a glimpse of the King of the Arctic, polar bears before arriving to Longyearbyen in the afternoon. (B,L,D) Day 10 - Longyearbyen / Oslo Due to the extremely early morning direct flight to Oslo, a wake-up call and early transfer will be made to Longyearbyen airport in time for your 0225 departure flight with SAS. Arrangements end with your arrival to Oslo airport.

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Basecamp Hotel

This unique hotel in Longyearbyen is decorated in authentic trapper's style down to the last detail, with service on a personal level. From the glass-roofed loft look up to a sky filled with northern lights or the midnight sun. The hotel is also a basecamp for further adventures: excursions available to other lodges as well as dog sledding, glacier walks and hikes and cruises in Isfjorden.

The interior of Basecamp Hotel is covered with driftwood, sealskin, maps, pictures and objects that illustrate the past and the present of life in the Arctic. The rooms are all different, with comfortable beds, private bathrooms and no TVs. Breakfast and wifi are included. From Longyearbyen we take you to other remote outposts in the wilderness.

Basecamp Hotel has 16 rooms and can accommodate more than 40 people. Each room is individually decorated in traditional trapper style with driftwood, sealskin and slate. No two rooms are alike. In all rooms there are comfortable beds and private bathrooms with showers. Double rooms come with either two single beds or one double bed. In triple rooms there are bunk beds, in real trapper’s style. Double beds are by request only. Two of the rooms in Basecamp Hotel are suites, with separate bedrooms, lounge, and bathroom. From all the rooms you have a beautiful view over the town, towards the mountains surrounding the valley of Longyeardalen.

For full information about Basecamp Hotel click here:

  • Group airfares Oslo / Longyearbyen / Olso in Go Plus class with extra baggage allowance
  • One-night accommodation at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo with breakfast
  • Welcome dinner in Oslo
  • 5 nights’ accommodation at Basecamp Hotel with Breakfast / lunch / dinner included
  • Transfers in Longyearbyen to/from events and flights as indicated in the itinerary
  • ICE Swimming expedition guides from International Ice Swimming Association and a dedicated Doctor
  • Sightseeing cruise in Isfjorden with two closed boats
  • Marked course swim event over two days in Isfjorden with two open follow boats. Ashore will be a sauna and shelter tent.
  • Polar bear protection guides to follow the event
  • Hot and cold drinks, snacks during the swim event Dogsledding excursion and Trapper’s Dinner on last day
  • Single hotel supplement $750 (if required or necessary)
  • Transfers in Oslo (train tickets to be purchased individually on site)
  • Airfares or land arrangements not otherwise mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended).
  • Excess baggage charges (flight tickets include 2 x 23kg luggage).
  • All items of a personal nature such as additional purchases in the hotel, laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges.
Bookings All booking enquiries and payments are made to Expeditions Online via their website, by phone or email. However, any specific swimming-related questions are to be directed to the International Ice Swimming Association. Payments Reservations require a $1500 deposit at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 90 days of departure require full payment. Balances are due 90 days prior to departure and can be paid by bank transfer. Balance payments may be made by credit card subject to a 2% surcharge. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 90 days or more prior to departure = $750. Cancellations received 90-60 days prior to departure = loss of deposit. If cancellation occurs 60- days prior to departure: 50% of the total price. If cancellation occurs within 30 days prior to departure: no refund. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. Insurance Adequate trip cancellation insurance is required for this expedition, including emergency medical evacuation coverage.
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