We have always wanted to visit Iceland and our good friend, Einar Steinarrsson, has provided us with the opportunity. Participants will depart the US on flights to Reykjavik, Iceland the evening before their trip starts and then transfer for a short flight to the remote town of Akureyi, Iceland where we will be met by "Super Jeeps" and transported another hour to the lodge that will serve as our base for the week.
The Klængshóll Lodge sits in the Skíðadalur Valley (in English "Raven Hill Lodge" in "Ski Valley") and is surrounded by 1100-1500 meter off-piste ski runs, many ending on the front doorstep. The lodge sits on the site of a sheep camp that has been continuously used since 850 AD, and equipped with modern amenities including a helicopter pad complete with a helicopter that can be hired for ski use on trips in April and May.
Guests are housed in double and triple rooms with shared bath and the lodge can accommodate up to 12 skiers. Days are spent skiing either directly from the lodge or after short 4x4 trips to other parts of the Peninsula. Evenings are spent eating family-style meals prepared by the lodge chef. Typical food includes organic lamb, fresh fish and game meats such as goose. Vegetarians are also well taken care of.
Each day involves a full-day ski tour in terrain that will satisfy all ski abilities, and can range from steep chutes to big, open slopes. The touring style is very similar to that offered on our trips to France, Switzerland, and Italy, and generally involves an early start after a solid breakfast, and then climbs undertaken with ski skins, followed by long descents. We will change-up each days destinations and use the 4x4 if we want a change of scenery or feel that something nearby will be in better condition for skiing.
After our day of skiing we will relax in local geothermal springs, have a big, home-cooked meal and enjoy the comfortable furniture and extensive library housed in the lodge. The trip is designed to get in and out of Iceland efficiently, but you will have the option to stay longer if you would like to spend some time in Reykjavik, or traveling around Iceland.
Day 0: Depart US for overnight flight to Reykjavik, Iceland
Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik in early morning and transfer to flight to Akureyri the capital of northern Iceland. You will then be transferred by jeep (50 miles) to the Lodge for a meet and greet. Welcome dinner is served and we go over the week's agenda. We generally have time to for a short ski the afternoon you arrive.
Day 2: Our first day of skiing. The morning is spent on detailed avalanche transceiver and avalanche rescue training, followed by our first peak of many. Our average daily vertical ranges from 1000-2000 meters depending on the group. For those that want more we can go until your legs say stop, for here the night is no excuse as the midnight sun barely touches the ocean before it rises again.
Day 3: Skiing the peaks above the small fishing village of Dalvik allows us the rare pleasure of sitting in the local geothermal baths and admiring our perfect tracks on the surrounding peaks. Dalvik is the home of some of Iceland's most accomplished skiers and it is no wonder considering the terrain they grew up in.
Day 4: Gljúfurárjökull glacier is one of the areas alpine valley bottom glaciers and one of the best wide open ski slopes to be found on the Troll Peninsula. Situated at the center of the region we will enjoy great views of a large portion of the peninsula. Here you get the real sensation of being in the middle of the arctic with glaciers and snow covered peaks surrounding you wherever you look.
Days 5-6: Skiing the "Secret cirques" -the guides will take you to places that have never seen skiers before. Set your tracks down a slope that no one has ever skied. Every week our guides take the opportunity to visit new places giving you a real sense of exploration and achievement.
Day 7: The "Haute Route" day. Traversing one of the areas many high mountain passes, we follow in the footsteps of local shepherd's who often had to battle their way through the rugged mountains to move their flocks from one valley to another. This being our last long ski day we make every turn count and make sure that by the time we get back to the comforts of our Lodge, you are very tired but satisfied with your week of Arctic ski touring
Day 8: This is our last day and after a morning ski we say our good byes and head home with the memory of a unique ski touring holiday. Guests are transferred to the airport in Akureyri for the flight to Reykjavik, followed by an evening flight back to the US. You will arrive in the US on the same day you depart given the time change.
Iceland Air, and you will then transfer to a flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri, Iceland on Air Iceland. The flight from the US to Reykjavik averages $450-$1000 and the second leg runs between $100 and $200 round trip. Our travel agent is happy to make the bookings for you. Getting to and from Iceland is a bit easier and shorter than getting to and from places such as Switzerland. The flight from Seattle to Iceland takes about 7.5 hours.
It is not uncommon for people to develop very bad blisters if they go from not touring at all to putting in successive long ski touring days. You should be able to efficiently get down black diamond runs in most ski areas. Again, you do not need to be an extreme skier to do this, but there will be spots where it is best not to fall, and you need to be able to efficiently link turns in a wide variety of snow conditions. You should also be aware that skiing on a glacier is much different from skiing in bounds at a ski area. Real hazards exist in these mountains and none are marked. Prior to your trip you want to focus on skiing in control and being able to ski for long periods without falling. You do not need any previous mountaineering experience to do this, but it is nice to have some level of familiarity with the climbing harness, crampons, and ice axe. We use these items very rarely, but you will be more confident if you show up with some level of comfort with them. We will review their use briefly on day one of the trip.
- Able to ski fall line in most snow conditions (powder to wind affected snow).
- Able to make parallel or stem-christie turns on 35° groomed or firm snow.
- Able to side-slip on firm slopes up to 35°.
- Able to ski moguls in soft snow.
- Able to do kick turns facing in or facing out on 30° slopes.
- Able to skate on level terrain.
- Able to ski fall-line in tight radius turns in good conditions.
- Able to ski black diamond runs at ski areas efficiently and in most snow conditions.