2020 Iceland Ski/Sail with Aurora Arktika
After a phenomenal trip to Iceland's Westfjords in 2016, 2017, and 2018 (check out the great video Les made of our 2017 trip), we're taking a break for 2019 but I look forward to joining forces with my friend and fellow guide, Anna Keeling, for Iceland 2020. This is one of my favorite trips and I hope you can join us!
On board both of Captain Siggi's ski boats (Aurora and Arktika) you'll find warm, dry, comfortable accommodations...including a hot shower, TV, and library! All meals are included and you won't go hungry; fish, soups and stews, sushi, mussels, vegetables, bread, cheese, Icelandic yogurt, coffee, tea, and more. The food is gourmet and delicious!
As for the skiing -- well, it's endless! From Isafjordur we'll sail to the remote Hornstrandir Nature Preserve and spend our days skiing deep in Iceland's fjords, just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. And while we probably won't see another skier out there, we will likely see northern lights, Arctic Fox, seals, whales, and Eider ducks.
This trip is suitable for a wide variety of skiers and abilities but is recommended for intermediate to advanced backcountry skiers who are equally strong skiing both uphill and downhill in a variety of off-piste conditions. Depending on weather and conditions, days might include as much as 4000' of vertical and 6-10 miles of touring while carrying a 20lb pack. AT or telemark skis are preferable but experienced splitboarders are welcome, too.
This trip is especially practical for east coasters. There are many cheap flights from Montreal, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. direct to Reykjavik on WOW Air and Icelandair. Being a popular eco-tourism destination, Iceland is well set up for travel. You'll find friendly, helpful people, easy transportation, great food, a wide variety of lodging options, and you'll have no trouble getting around if you don't speak Icelandic (Icelander's also speak flawless English).
As with all mountain expeditions, flexibility and a willingness to take things as they come will make for a more relaxed and enjoyable trip. After all, Iceland is an Arctic country in the North Atlantic with notorious winds and storms. But if you live in the Adirondacks or the Northeast, this won't be new to you!
A sample itinerary from Aurora's website is below:
Depart from Ísafjörður at 14:00, with 2-4 hours of sailing to Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. We will relax at anchor and maybe explore on the Zodiac and take a look at the old whaling station that once was the driving force in this now abandoned settlement. Since it will still bright in the evening during the latter part of the season, we will then have an option to do a short ski run.
We’ll begin the day with safety briefing, avalanche search exercise, and an explanation of what to do in case of emergency. We will then ski from Hesteyrarfjörður to Veiðileysufjörður. The climb up Hesteyrarfjörður is 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° in steepness (of course this is optional—you can head down to the boat if you prefer!). Dinner will be at anchor in Veiðileysufjörður.
Today we will ski to Lónafjörður (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. We then ski down to the first valley in Lónafjörður and climb at least two more mountains before meeting Aurora again in the afternoon.
Here, we normally spend an extra day at the beautiful Rangali anchorage. Here are endless opportunities for skiing. From steep couloirs to rolling hills. One route will take us to the Snókur mountain with a good view of the coastal mountains on the east side of Hornstrandir. Often there is an opportunity to pick mussels for an après ski snack!
Today we skin up from the Sópandi inlet and over to Hrafnfjörður (Raven Fjord). The mountain cirque at the head of the fjord is very beautiful and the anchorage is a perfect spot to spend the night.
We will have a morning ski session before sailing back to Ísafjörður, with arrival around 16:00 in the afternoon. You can catch the last flight from Ísafjörður that night, though we suggest staying at least one night in Ísafjörður to relax and get to know this old and beautiful town.
When: Spring 2020
Where: Isafjordur, Iceland (Westfjords)
Price: $3450 USD.
Included in price:
6 days, 5 nights aboard the boat
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) aboard the boat
Accommodation aboard the boat (berth in a shared cabin with shared bathrooms)
Use of SUP boards
IFMGA Mountain Guide
4:1 Guest to guide ratio
NOT Included in Price:
Transportation to Isafjordur
Alcoholic beverages (BYO)
Lodging/meals in Isafjordur