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Iceland Sailboat Skiing

We are very excited to be offering this new trip to the beautiful Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the West Fjords of Iceland – only a few miles from the Arctic Circle. We focus on backcountry skiing between the remote fjords, anchoring in a different spot every night. Many of the mountains and ridges have never been skied before so don’t expect to wait in a line-up before cruising down the mountain of your choice! There are many different slopes and we will plan our routes to fit people of all abilities and interests. We usually spend about 6-8 hours in the mountains each day but those who want shorter days, can just ski down to the boat when they choose. This is prime time for skiing but we still carry a few kayaks on the yacht and people are quite welcome to take a break from skiing and do some kayaking as well.

The Expedition yacht AURORA is our movable backcountry hut and awaits us every day with gourmet meals and warm and comfortable bunks. There will be opportunities to ski on the local ski hill where there are three lifts but there are also great areas for backcountry skiing only a stones throw from the town.

Video of area- A Skiers Journey

Video of area- Warren Miller

Iceland Ski Itinerary:

Day-1 Departure from Isafjordur at 19:00. 2 hours sailing to Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Relaxing at anchor and maybe do some exploration on the Zodiac and take a look at the old whaling station that once was the driving force in this now abandoned settlement. Also optional to do a short ski run since it’s still bright in the evening.
Day-2 We’ll begin the day with safety briefing, avalanche search and what to do in case of emergency. Then we start skiing the mountains around Hesteyri. Going up to the cols, we can get a view across the mountains to the northern coves of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. We’ll then move Aurora to the head of the fjord before serving delicious dinner. Here we usually have an opportunity to pick fresh Mussels from the beach for appetizer.
Day-3 Ski from Hesteyrarfjordur to Veidileysufjordur (e. Fjord with no fish!). The climb up Hesteyrarfjordur is very easy and the ski slopes on the other side offer many possibilities. We may end the day by skiing the steepest slope of the trip, 45°-50° steep. Of course it’s optional. You can head down to the yacht if you prefer! Dinner at anchor in Veidileysufjordur
Day-4 Ski to Lonafjordur (e. Lagoon Fjord). We begin the day by climbing up to one of the cols to take a look at the bays on the North side. Then we ski down to the first valley in Lonafjordur and climb up at least two more mountains before meeting captain Siggi onboard Aurora. Later in the spring we may catch some Arctic Char for dinner.
Day-5 Ski to Hrafnfjordur (e. Raven Fjord). We do the highest climb of the trip this day, up to 1200 metres of climbing before skiing down to Hrafnfjordur. The mountain cirque in the bottom of the fjord is very beautiful and the anchorage is a perfect spot to spend the night.
Day-6 Short skiing in the morning before sailing back to Isafjordur with arrival around 16:00 in the afternoon. You can catch the last flight from Isafjordur the same day but we suggest staying at least one night in Isafjordur, relax and get to know this old and beautiful town.

Required Skills and Fitness:

This trip is for moderate to advanced skiers who are able to ski in variable snow conditions. Skiers should be able to ski “off piste” (backcountry) in all types of snow (firm, wet, heavy, and breakable crust). You should be comfortable skiing black diamond slopes at US ski areas in just about any condition and be comfortable skiing “off piste” slopes ranging from 35°- 40°. Also, basic mountaineering knowledge is helpful, but not necessary as it can and will be taught along the way.

Fitness is another very important component. To keep up with the average group you should be able to tour 4 to 6 hours every day with a pack varying from 20 to 30 lbs. Therefore opportunities to just relax on the boat, sea kayak or do shorter objectives if a member of the group is inclined. This has worked well with couples of varied abilities.

Skiing Ability:

  1. The ability to ski in difficult, deep, heavy snow, or bad breakable crust. You never know what it will be like!
  2. The ability to make turns on firm 40° snow slopes in a controlled fashion; either using parallel hop turns or the more conservative Stem-Christie.
  3. The ability to manage firm 45° snow slopes using either a “falling leaf” (sliding back and forth without turns) or side stepping/sliding down as a safe means of descent.
  4. The ability to ski powder. Skiing down the fall-line with short-radius, rhythmic turns. You know, the real fun stuff!
  5. Basic backcountry ski touring experience; using skins and simple understanding of transceiver, shovel, and probe use.

Price Includes:

  • – UIAGM / IFMGA guide for 6 days
  • – All food onboard and during day activities, except alcohol
  • – Accommodation onboard
  • – Use of sailing clothing (Gore-Tex jacket and pants), safety harness and life jacket
  • – Use of avalanche transceiver, climbing harness, shovel and probe (must reserve)

Price Excludes:

  • – Travel to or from Ísafjörður, Iceland
  • – Food the first day until boarding the yacht in Ísafjörður
  • – Rescue insurance
  • – Travel insurance
  • – Gratuities
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  • Dates: April 22-27, 2013 (full)
  • April 28-May 3, 2013 (open)
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  • Cost: $3,125
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  • Ratio: 4 skiers to 1 guide

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