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Iceland March/April 2016 Trip Report

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Iceland, March 27, 2016

Arctic Heli Skiing in Iceland
Living a dream come true.

I was very fortunate to be the winner of Arctic Heli Skiing’s Lucky Leap Year Giveaway. The prize was a 4 Day Classic Heli Skiing Package. Besides amazing heli skiing, the package also included lodging at Klængshóll Lodge (true luxury in a rustic setting), all meals (delicious gourmet food prepared by a full-time chef), morning Yoga classes, full use of Lodge Spa facilities, as well as complimentary beer! Included in the many beer choices are a light and a dark beer with Arctic Heli Skiing’s private label made by a local brewery.

Some people may say that getting there is half the fun. I wouldn’t say this about a seven hour overnight flight to Iceland, but riding up in a helicopter for each scenic ski run to more untracked powder comes close. 

I arrived a couple of days early and spent some time in Reykjavik. I spent my first night at the Sunna Guesthouse which is across the street from Hallgrímskirkja Church.


Hallgrímskirkja Church


There are elevator rides to the top.

Here is one of the views

The background got me thinking about patchskiing possibilities.


When I poked around inside I found an awesome Hallgrimskirkja made from Lego

I wonder if they used Kragle?


I walked through the city down to the Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre.


It looks even cooler from the inside


Look closely at the reflection to the left of David Bowie and you'll see me

I was glad that I got to see the photo exhibit


To see more from Reykjavik on March 27th click here.


Before I go with this trip report I'd like to thank Spindrift and Cloudpeak for their encouragement and input that was helpful with this adventure.

post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

Iceland, March 28, 2016
Reykjavik-Akureyri-Klængshóll Lodge


It felt good to get to sleep at night. (The previous night's overnight flight wasn't the most restful experience.) I was able to explore Reykjavik a bit more before heading further north.

I had the opportunity to visit one of Reykjavik's museums. Here is the biggest attraction at the Phallological Museum from a sperm whale


I made sure to book a window seat for my flight to Akureyri.

The view


Since I arrived early, I had the opportunity to walk into town on a path along the water.

I saw a departing flight


A ship in the harbor


On the shuttle ride to Klængshóll Lodge I noticed that Akureyri has loving traffic lights


Here is my room with a view at Klængshóll Lodge


I enjoyed an Arctic Heli Skiing beer with our delicious gourmet welcome dinner

Beer was actually illegal in Iceland from 1915-1989. Tasting the locally brewed Arctic Heli Skiing Iceland beer made me realize that they have caught up in a delicious refreshing way.


To see more from March 28th click here.


It snowed 70 centimeters in the days before I arrived. The forecast was cold and clear for the next few days. I was excited about making my first turns in Iceland the next day.

Edited by Stev - 4/24/16 at 12:38pm
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

This was the first day of heli skiing. In the morning we went over safety procedures. This included checking our equipment which included beacons, shovels, probes, Pieps Jetforce airbag backpacks, and helicopter procedures.

Our ride


A panoramic view above one of our morning runs


A mountain view from the heli




Our guide Einar getting ready for an early evening run


An amazing first day. After feeling the initial excitement of the first few runs I found that I was able to take in more of the experience - the vastness of the mountains, the still and silence after the heli leaves, the diamond like sparkle and shine on the surface of the snow, rhythmically floating on untracked powder runs, and then realizing I get to do this again and again.


Click here for more from March 29th

Edited by Stev - 4/24/16 at 1:03pm
post #4 of 20

Looks like a great trip! Such a great place.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

March 30th

Second day of heli skiing


My first Gopro edit. The camera is aimed too low, so I'm mostly skiing with my shadow




Spray and tracks


Enjoying the view before taking another run


Stev's Arctic Ocean stylin' and profilin' - WOOOOO!


Video of Stev skiing toward the Arctic Ocean


Icicles on cliffs along the Arctic Ocean


Click here for more from March 30th

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

March 31st

Third day of heli skiing


Taking in the view before starting another amazing day of heli skiing


I did a quick video edit from this amazing day of heli skiing


A couple of stills from the day


Click here for more from March 31st

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Iceland, April 1, 2016
Ski Day Four, Tour on Lower Horse Run


After three bluebird days of heli skiing a storm rolled in overnight. Wicked winds were blowing a dusting of snow. Visibility was poor at best. Flying up would be replaced with skinning up. I would get to earn my turns to start my 150th consecutive month skiing. Unforgettable fun.

I'm happy after skinning up


Video of skiing Lower Horse Run:


After skiing we went on another tour, this time to a fish factory.

The owner with a cod eyeball

Then after a couple of home made schnapps, me too


After a lunch of fish stew, we went on another tour, this time to the Aviation Museum in Akureyri.
Here is helicopter from the Iceland Coast Guard


A memorable day that made me want to stay in Iceland.


Click here for April 1st

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Iceland, April 2, 2016
Ski Day Five, Akureyri, Hlidarfjall, Flight to Reykjavik


After three amazing heli skiing days and one ski touring day, I had a chance to see what resort skiing in Iceland was like. Akureyri has a resort, Hlidarfjall that is about a 15 minute drive from town. They also sell lift tickets by the hour. This allowed me to get in a couple hours of skiing before my mid-afternoon flight to Reykjavik.


A "view" from the top of the mountain

When the clouds roll in visibility isn't the best. Even at 11 AM they had lighted runs with orange poles to mark the runs


Video from one of my runs


Looking back toward Northern Iceland on my flight to Reykjavik


Click here for more from April 2nd

Edited by Stev - 4/28/16 at 9:04pm
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Iceland, April 3, 2016
Ski Day Six, Skalafell, Pingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss


I had a full day to explore Iceland some more. I noticed that Skalafell Ski Resort was on the way to Pingvellir National Park and other sites. The also offered lift tickets by the hour, so I was able to ski for an hour along the way.

Looking up at Skalafell from the base


View from the top

From here you can see Pingvallavatn Lake and Pingvellir National Park.

Video from skiing Skalafell


Next stop, Pingvellir National Park.
The Pingvellir National Park Visitor's Center has a hiking trail. Here you can see signs of previous volcanic activity.


Than on to Geysir

Check out the patchskiing possibilities.


Geysir video


I saw many horses along the drive.
This horse was very friendly


On to Gullfoss


From one waterfall to another.
On the way to Seljalandsfoss I saw a rainbow


Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall that you can walk under


Video of Seljalandsfoss from three angles


After all of that driving I needed to fill up with gas the next day. The gas station I stopped at also had a little restaurant. I was surprised to see a name for their burger special that was so close to home.


I had a great time. Iceland is a wonderful and amazing place.

Heli skiing in Iceland is at the top of my to-do again list.

post #10 of 20

Wow... looks like a great trip. I've been to Iceland, but wasn't much of a skier then. Still, we saw a lot of snow as we went in early March since it was cheaper... Reading this made me dig out some 15 year old photos of Gulfoss with more snow. :)





That's me near the edge - no fences or ropes or liability - as close as I was willing to go in something like 40 MPH wins... the second photo above is looking to the viewer's right in the third pic.

post #11 of 20


But what about your patch skiing?

post #12 of 20

Wow!  Thanks for sharing your pics and videos.  Lucky Leap Year indeed!

post #13 of 20
Thanks for the report Stev, looks incredible!
post #14 of 20
post #15 of 20

Such a great trip report! Amazing!

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 

Spindrift, Thanks again!


dbostedo, great Gullfoss photos!


LiquidFeet, I guess you could call this patchskiing on a much grander scale. Year-round turns in Iceland seem like they would be much easier to obtain.


marznc, 4ster, NayBreak,albertanskigirl, thanks for the kind words!

post #17 of 20

Great pictures.  Love the church!  Did you go up to the top?

post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Chrissy22 View Post

Great pictures.  Love the church!  Did you go up to the top?

Thanks. Yes, I did go to the top of the church. There are elevator rides available for 900 Kronur (a little over $7.)

Here are a couple more photos:

Another view from the top:




More photos can be seen here: http://patchskiing.com/iceland032716.htm 

post #19 of 20

Wow... looks awesome!


I take it from the pics that the resort is quite small?

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post

Wow... looks awesome!


I take it from the pics that the resort is quite small?


The two resorts I went to are relatively small compared to my "home" resorts near Lake Tahoe, but were still fun and uncrowded on a weekend.

I believe that Iceland only has 11 ski resorts.

Hlidarfjall, near Akureyri, does have a pretty decent amount of vertical (474 meters, 1555 feet), some good terrain, as well as a quad charlift (and surface tows.) I spoke to a couple from Reykjavik who traveled to this resort because they said the skiing was better here.

Skalafell, which is about halfway between Reykjavik and Pingvellir National Park, might only be open on weekends if I'm correct, has a respectable amount of vertical (320 meters. 1050 feet), pretty decent terrain, as well as a double chairlift (and surface tows.)


I also passed by Dalvik ski resort, near Dalvik, and saw a number of groomed runs along with a couple of surface tows. It has 275 meters, 902 feet of vertical.


On one of my drives from a distance I saw Blafjoll ski resort, located south of Reykjavik, which is supposed to be Iceland's largest ski resort. I believe it has the most lifts (3 chairlifts and 12 surface tows), but less vertical than the others (240 meters, 787 feet.) 


Also, there seems to be no significant tree skiing in Iceland.


I might check these and others out when I return to Iceland. 


I like to experience different ski resorts as every mountain has its own personality.

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