Two Weeks of Skiing in Iceland
When you think "Iceland", skiing may not be the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, as we began to plan our spring ski trip this year, many of our friends and family were quite surprised by our destination. Little do many people know, the country known for its epic waterfalls, steaming hot pools, and massive volcanoes is also home to a treasure trove of incredible backcountry ski lines. So in May of 2022, we set off for two weeks of skiing and exploring in the land of fire and ice.
Iceland’s weather is a tad unpredictable, so when planning a ski trip it is important to be mobile. You might have sunshine in one location and rain two hours away. We rented a Subaru Forester with Go Car Rental Iceland at the Keflavík airport, which was perfect for keeping us flexible and hauling around our skiing and camping gear.
STAGE 1: Grundarfjordur
After picking up our car in Reykjavik, we headed north to find snow. Wanting to do a bit of sightseeing along the way, we found ourselves in Grundarfjordur to see the famous Mt. Kirjufell and the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. As you drive through the countryside, all you need to do is look up, and the ski lines will begin to show themselves. It becomes a bit of a game, trying to find strips of snow that connect from the top down to the sea. Here in Grundarfjordur, we found some incredible skiing along with our sightseeing. We also met some new Icelandic furry friends at our campsite! The Icelandic horse is a point of pride, and we understand why. They are incredibly majestic animals, with a true wild side.
There is nothing better after a long ski day than a soak in a hot pool and a delicious meal. We recommend heading to Stkykkisholmur to find both.
STAGE 2: Nordurfjordur
After a beautiful few days out west, we found a great weather pocket up north, so began driving up to the eastern Westfjords. This zone turned out to be a backcountry skier’s dream. Line after line all the way down to the road. A skier could spend years in this area and still have more to do! Plenty of beachside camp spots, and a geothermal infinity pool in Krossneslaug to help you relax after a big day of skiing. If you’re lucky like us, you might even spot some orcas!
We recommend coming to this area with plenty of food and supplies, as it is quite remote and you won’t find many options for shopping.
STAGE 3: Isafjordur
After days of remote camping, you might be ready for a touch of comfort. We certainly were, so we drove northwest towards Isafjordur. The largest town in the Westfjords felt like a massive city after days in the countryside. This quaint town was a warm welcome, with plenty of delicious restaurants, friendly people, shops, and of course, countless ski lines.
The skiing around the town of Isafjordur has brought in many like-minded people. Sit down in the local cafe for long enough and you’ll likely meet a skier. This region is home to numerous “Troll Seats,” which are large bowls in the mountainside that quite literally look like a massive troll might have been sitting there moments before. Why is this relevant? Well, they make for amazing ski runs!
We recommend finding accommodation in Isafjordur and using it as a home base for exploring the region. There are numerous nearby towns that boast great skiing, only an hour or so drive away. Bolungarvik, Sudavik, and Flateyri are all destinations you won’t want to miss. Though this area does not have geothermal pools, the pool culture is still strong here. Almost every town has a pool you can visit. Some even have water slides for the young (or the young at heart).
As our trip came to a close, we realized we had really only touched the surface of what skiing in Iceland has to offer. While many come to Iceland for sail-to-ski or heli-skiing adventures, we found that road-tripping gave us the freedom and flexibility to find good weather and good snow. Plus, every couloir you hike up means you earn a Viking beer. Skál!
If you think skiing is an insane activity to do in Iceland, you should check out our Surfing article, where we break down how and where to surf in Iceland.
This article was written by a Go Car Rental Customer.