Ski touring in southern Baffin Island’s Auyuittuq National Park is a challenging feat for experienced cross-country skiers, but the rewards — some of Canada’s most beautiful, unspoiled landscapes — are great. Non-Inuit visitors to Auyuittuq must register and complete a mandatory three-hour orientation to review safety and survival skills (polar bears wander the coastal regions, for instance) and self-sufficiency. Visitors can traverse Akshayuk Pass, a 97-kilometre trough along Auyuittuq’s southern end (10 to 14 days). For those who prefer travelling with a guide, Black Feather, a wilderness adventure company based in Seguin, Ont., and Karavaniers Voyages d’Aventures of Montreal offer Auyuittuq ski excursions.
When to go
The ski season is from March to April.
What to bring
Guests to the park must be entirely self-sufficient, and will need to bring the necessary skiing and camping gear, clothing and outerwear, food, safety equipment and more. Visit the park’s website for a complete list of equipment considerations.
Where to stay
Auyuittuq has no groomed campsites. When selecting their backcountry site, guests must take the utmost care in preserving the landscape. This means setting up camp on durable ground with little to no vegetation, using rocks to secure a tent instead of digging into the ground (which must be returned to their original location) and packing out all garbage. The park has been used for thousands of years by nomadic peoples and as such, contains a number of archaeological sites. Care must be taken to ensure these sites are not disturbed.
The Pre-Dorset and Dorset cultures are believed to have been the earliest people on Baffin Island, inhabiting the area more than three thousand years ago (1700 BC-AD 1000).
Read or watch before you go
A Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic by E. C. Pielou is a portable guide to the Arctic’s natural history.