Iceland has not always been a well-known ski destination and I always thought of it as an expensive place to go. Recently this is less true, prices are much more friendly since the crash of their economy and the rise of budget airlines (though partying in Rekjavik is still not cheap). The heli-skiing operations have been growing in popularity but the wild and beautiful mountains are also not so big and access from the road seemed to be relatively straight forward so we came up with the Idea of a ski touring road trip.
Conditions were not as good as we had become accustomed to in recent years in Chamonix and so at the end of April last year we headed out on some cheap flights and crammed ourselves and ski gear into the RV we rented as our home for the next ten days.
Our first stop was the South of the Island to Iceland’s highest volcano where I had seen a beautiful steep unskied line. The snow line was pretty high and access to the side of the mountain we wanted to be on was complicated so we chose to ascend an easier way and planned to ski in from the top. Snow conditions were pretty bad and with high winds at the top we decided to can the project and head down the way we came.
With the conditions unlikely to change we cut our losses and carried on round the Island through the mountains in the East which had been stripped of their snow by the wind. We did some sight-seeing along the way and arrived to the North, home to the best skiing in Iceland in a snow storm. Bad weather plagued us for days and we skied close to the road and RV above the ocean when we could.
Finally, at the end of the trip a few days of good weather allowed us to get into the mountains further inland which had been more sheltered from the winds. We were treated to powder filled couloirs through a rocky face on a beautiful pyramid shaped mountain before heading back to Rekjavik and completing our loop of the island.
Although the ski gods had not always been on our side, we readily accepted this as part of the adventure and had a great time along the way. Iceland was every bit as stunning as I expected and a unique experience.