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SKI TOURING IN ICELAND (8 days)
07 to 14/04/2019
Between ocean and glaciers
No need to go to the moon to have an out of this world experience! Escape to Iceland, the land of extremes, of ocean and glaciers, and perhaps find a ski tourers Holy Grail.
In the north of the island lies Iceland’s longest fjord, the 50-kilometre long Eyjafjördur.
Our trip lasts eight days, depending on your choice, including six days skiing on the slopes of the commanding mountain ranges on either side of the fjord.
On one side, to the west of Eyjafjördur, stretches Tröllaskagi (also known as the ‘trolls peninsula’), a vast area comprising a myriad of valleys and peaks reaching altitudes of between 800m and 1400m, often overlooking the ocean, providing infinite possibilities. On the other, to the east, rise up equally impressive belvederes that are perhaps even more wild and untouched. We explore both these ranges on our trip.
During this activity holiday we take in peaks and mountain passes between 700m and 1300m high, a number of which are crowned with small inoffensive glaciers.
The slopes although rarely sustained are not too easy and are crying out for the squeaking of climbing skins on snow, with approaches across continuously immaculate and stable snowpack, requiring no timetables, in the heart of landscapes with a savage and mute beauty, their isolation only broken by the breath of the wind.
And what an atmosphere on the summits! A unique blend of the high-mountain environment and the oceans, a markedly Arctic feel and sense of complete solitude… Little chance of bumping into other skiers here, in a country that has more seagulls per km2 than inhabitants!
Imagine your day: head out on skis from the seashore, ascents and long descents through a universe of crystals and white, with even earthy interludes… And return to the waters’ edge, to slip into waters naturally heated to 40ºC, as Iceland’s hot baths are a genuine cultural way of life and centres for health and well-being.
We switch between different accommodation options, all of which are extremely comfortable, from cabins on the banks of the fjord, to the welcoming annexe of a hotel, which prepares marvellous meals and breakfasts for us, to cosy guesthouses where we lodge with the owners whose welcome is matched only by the beauty of the surroundings…
As the statistics show, Iceland’s oceanic and northerly climate (we are very close to the Arctic Circle) is easily tolerable. Visiting in April allows us to make the most of the remarkable snow cover, both in terms of quality and quantity, down to the seashore, and remember the Icelandic saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute”!
This is an ideal destination for a first trip, thanks to the extremely varied range of outings available every day, in a comfortable and very different setting.
Strong points of this trip:
Experience a very different way of ski touring compared to the image of it embedded in our imaginations.
Sunlight up to almost midnight!
Unique and outstanding atmosphere and landscapes next to the ocean, with your feet in the snow.
Tourist sites and numerous non-ski related activities to explore (including the Husavik whales, the Siglufjördur herring museum, the Godafoss falls, the Myvatn site, and the Hjalteyri hot spring waters).
Naturally heated open-air swimming pools.
1. Day by day
Day 1: Flight from Paris to Reykjavik (Keflavík), arrive early afternoon, flight from Keflavík to Akureyri (45 mins). Hire of 4x4 and transfer to Olafsfjördur (45 mins) and our hotel, in the heart of this handsome Icelandic fishing village.
Day 2 & 3: We are based out of our extremely comfortable hotel and spend these days exploring the various slopes and small fjords around Olafsfjördur. There are multiple and varied possibilities, including above Siglufjördur, both sides of Hedinsfjord, and Mulkolla, Hestkard and Arnsfinnsfjall, as well as above Dalvik and Hoshyrna, Einstakafjall, and Kerahnjukur.
Day 4, 5 & 6: Nights in very comfortable guesthouses in the country’s interior, west of Dalvik, with a warm welcome and great food, and numerous varied ascents, including the tour of Skjördur and Gimbrarhnjukur, etc.
Day 7: Optional day: morning start with either the ascent of a final peak on the route back, such as Kinnafjall (1100m), or a tour of the Icelandic capital in the early afternoon and a visit at the end of the day to the famous Blue Lagoon. Night in comfortable hotel in Keflavík.
Day 8: Return to Paris, early morning.
Compagnie des guides ‘extras’
- Small group of maximum 6 people.
- Truly all-inclusive package, with no meals or other elements not included.
- Contact with your guide prior to registration for more information.
- Good flexibility thanks to our use of a locally hired minibus.
- Picnics prepared by the team with local produce.
- Guide with telemedicine training from IFREMONT.
- Sat phone available.
Dates: 07 to 14/04/2019
Meet: Keflavík (Reykjavik international airport) before 16:00 on day 1 and transfer by internal flight to Akureyri.
Transfer by minibus to Keflavík at the end of the stay and international flight to France.
2019 Price: 2300 euros (8 days) excluding flights, group of 5 people and over
+10% (4 people)
Please request quote for groups of 1-3 people
The price for this trip was calculated on 17/10/17 based on exchange rates and costs known at the time and may be subject to change between now and the departure date.
Organisation and guiding services of mountain guide.
All accommodation, meals and picnics.
Minibus transfers during the trip.
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
International and internal flights.
Tickets to tourist sites, such as museums, swimming pools and hot springs.
Anything not covered by the price includes list.
Reservation: by payment of 30% deposit made payable to the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix.
Insurance: Participants must have mountain sports insurance with repatriation cover. We strongly recommend that this include cancellation cover.
We offer cancellation cover at a cost of 2.75% of the total cost of the trip plus insurance including repatriation and search and rescue cover at a cost of 2.28% of the cost of the trip. Rescue and repatriation insurance are obligatory. You can take out personal cover but you must give us the name of your insurer, your contract number, 24hr emergency number and amount covered by your search and rescue cover.
- Valid passport or ID card, visa (if required)…
Guides, group size & group ability
One mountain guide for a maximum of 6 people.
Depending on the weather and snow conditions, your guide may have to change the programme to ensure the smooth running of the trip in optimal safety.
This trip is for participants with ski touring experience (see pictogram: fitness level 2; technical level 2).
You should be able to ski effectively in all snow conditions. There are variable daily vertical descents/ascents of 700m to 1300m depending on the routes chosen.
However, as the trip is based out of a couple of places only (although we change accommodation twice, this is not a true ski tour like the Alpine variety where we ski from hut to hut), we can go out with small daypacks and we can always adapt the programme depending on the team’s fitness levels and the snow and weather conditions.
Accommodation & meals
Seven nights in hotels and an extremely comfortable guesthouse with showers and sanitary facilities, including three nights at the Olafsfjördur hotel in double rooms with private toilets, three in a handsome guesthouse in the Svarfadardalur valley the only one in the region (10km from Dalvik), and one night in double rooms in Keflavík.
Single rooms available at extra cost.
The food here is excellent and very healthy, and is based on lamb and fish.
Picnic lunches, with evening meals in the hotel on ski days.
Meal in restaurant in Keflavík.
Transfers, documents & luggage
International flights (available from national and low cost airlines).
Passport must be valid a minimum of 6 months. (Visa not required for travellers from EU members countries.)
Group may leave from/separate in Paris, Geneva or Lyon.
It is possible to join and leave the group in Keflavík.
Transfers to and from the mountain ranges, and between Reykjavik and the northwest of Iceland, via locally hired 4x4 driven by your guide throughout the stay.
Bring 2 kit bags plus 1 ski bag:
- 1 backpack (30-40L) with ski straps (for use as a day pack during the tour and as hold luggage on the flights).
- 1 large waterproof duffel bag or kit bag for carrying your belongings in the 4x4.
- 1 ski bag for your ski equipment.
- Try to pack all your luggage in the ski bag for the flight (yes, it is possible!) including an empty travel bag (eg waterproof kit bag).
- Once in Iceland pack your ski gear in your ski bag and your clothes in the kit bag.
A ski bag is essential for transporting your skis on the plane.
Depending on the airline, you can expect to pay extra for more than one hold bag and for bags weighing over 20/23kg.
Weather & altitude
Even though we are near the Arctic Circle, Iceland enjoys a maritime climate with reasonable temperatures (-5 to 10ºC during the day), and the wind is ever present. We will be there in April, one of the driest times of the year, but with optimal snow cover down to the seashore. We never climb higher than around 1300m but we will always be setting off from practically sea level.
- Budget: exchange rate – 1 euro = 120 ISK
- Local time: 2 hours behind Paris summer time
- Electricity: as in France, small multi-socket adaptor would be useful
- Language: the national language is Icelandic but English is very widely spoken
- Health: no vaccinations required
- WiFi: available everywhere
A detailed kit list will be sent to you on registration.
- Bring clothing suitable for ski touring, as for spring skiing in the Alps, or 4 or 5 lightweight layers, rather than 3 thick layers.
- Also bring clothes suitable for tourist trips and après-ski wear, again as for use in spring in the Alps.
- Swimming costume and towel for the thermal springs.
- Ski touring boots
- Climbing skins
- Touring skis
- Lightweight harness (can be hired)
- Ski crampons
- Lightweight crampons
- Ski poles (preferably not telescopic)
Specialist equipment (avalanche transceivers, shovel, probe, harness) will be provided if you do not have your own.
Ensure that you check your equipment before departure (ski edges sharpened, good soles on boots, skins and poles inspected and optimised, etc).