Pæskatun is a family-run slate quarry and visiting center, located high up in the slate mountain Pæska south of the city with fantastic views over the valley of Alta, and you can see both inwards the mountain plateau and outwards towards the fjord from here.
Today, a well-visited year-round experience center and museum for slate mining, and in the winter, Pæskatun is one of the absolute best places to experience the Northern Lights from.
Ever since 1993, we have invited tourists, school classes, guests, companies, and others to come and experience how a slate worker ‘conjures’ a roof stone out of a large boulder.
Back in the days it was quite common for the slate workers to also have a farm down in the village. In the winter, the wife looked after the farm and the kids while the husband was in the slate quarry. The slate-farmer went through a busy time during the short arctic summer and most of the time he had to farm.
Today, the slate worker usually runs year-round operations, and so do we here at Pæskatun, and therefore guests can come all year round. Either join a guided tour of Alta and Pæskatun – which runs all year round or drop by during the opening hours in the summer to either just visit us or get a guided tour of the place.
Some of the slate work takes place outdoors, and when it was dark, the slate worker has seen a lot and been impressed by the fantastic play of colors that the Northern Lights are, where they comes like an explosion over the night sky. Since 2009, Pæskatun has had the Northern Lights as an important part of the experiences you can get here. With this location we have, high up, far from the lights in the city, and with that view, Pæskatun is probably one of the better places in Alta to see the Northern Lights from. Heated slate cottages and not least the new Birkeland cabin with skylights means that the winter night does not have to be a ‘freezer’. Northern Lights Camp is normally only arranged for larger groups, but we open for ‘everyone’ from time to time, check the booking.
Sometimes when the clouds cover the skies over Alta, we have to take the country road and look for the Northern Lights elsewhere. A Northern Lights Safari can go in all directions, but always in the direction where the opportunity to see the starry sky is greatest. Then we drive minibuses and have with us everything we need for a comfortable winter night.
Before the roads came and trucks could start driving up to the slate mountains in Alta, cross-country skis were often the only means of transport the slate workers had during the winter. At that time, he struggled up the mountainside on Monday morning and knocked stones until Friday afternoon, when it was time to rush down the slopes and sprint back home to the farm and his wife.
For those of you who never have had cross-country skis under your feet or perhaps you tried once a very long time ago, we have a trip just for you – try cross-country skiing – and you will find that you master the skis after a very short time. Can you ski and feel like a ski trip while you are in Alta but cannot bear to bring the ski equipment here – do not despair – we have the equipment and know about nice trails. A little bonfire is also included when we go for a ski trip.
Quite a big part of the people’s soul here in the north is self-rescue. In the old days, it was not just about going to shops, so if the slate worker had to have fresh food, he had to hunt and fish himself, and ice fishing on the waters in the slate mountains was quite common.
Ice fishing is something everyone can take part in. In a snow-covered, white and cold landscape, it is you, the reindeer skin you sit on, the hole in the ice and the jig with something tempting at the end of the line, that has importance. And if you are lucky, the arctic char will bite!
Welcome to Pæskatun
High up in the slate mountain Pæska we have a fantastic view of the Altadalen.