Internal flights to Isafjöròur from Reykjavik.
Internal flights to Reykjavik from Isafjöròur.
It is also possible to hire a car and drive from Reykjavik.
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Sailboat Skiing, Iceland
Join at Ísafjörður, Iceland
Leave from Ísafjörður, Iceland
This trip is a true Arctic Expedition 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 harbour each night. There is a diversity of slope grades, and we will plan our routes to fit people of all abilities and interests. The expedition vessel is our movable ‘backcountry hut’ and awaits us at the end of every day with gourmet meals, warm and comfortable bunks, and friendly conversation.
Iceland’s West Fjords region is one of the country’s most remote areas and offers endless outdoor pursuits in its mountains, sheltered fjords and bays. The West Fjords is geologically the oldest part of Iceland—around 16 million years old—but still very young compared to most parts of the world. Our favorite area in the West Fjords is the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, with its rich history and unspoiled landscapes. The area is virtually inaccessible. There are no roads in the nature reserve—the only way to venture there is by boat. Due to its remote location it is very possible to stay there for days without meeting a single soul. Doing so, you will discover the essence of remote Iceland. The fjords are deep and dramatic with marine and aviary life abound, and an abundance of silence and unexplored landscapes for the curious and adventurous explorer.
Even though we may not be far from “home,” this is still true exploration and the final itinerary will only be decided upon when we leave Ísafjörður harbour. Below is the most likely itinerary, but we will take into account weather and snow conditions and always look for the best possible option.
Depart from Ísafjörður at 14:00, with 2-4 hours of sailing to Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. We will relax at anchor, 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 be bright in the evening during the latter part of the season, we will then have an option of 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, a 45°-50° gradient (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. There 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 here to relax and get to know this beautiful old town.
Skis and boots
Trainers/ deck shoes (no black soled shoes please – they mark the deck)
Waterproof sailing kit (two sets are recommended. Heavy gear for on-board and lighter kit for trips ashore)
Sailing gloves – 2 sets
Hot water bottle
Clothes for on-board and on shore
A small backpack for trips on-shore (30-40 litres)
A water bottle
Thermals, two sets
Thick socks, two sets
Sun glasses (polarized)
Sun cream – SPF50+
Small quick dry towel
USB cord to charge your phone
Warm sleeping bag
Printed out Insurance details
Any medication you require