Sunday, May 19, 2013

Photo Journal: Iceland--Sailing, Skiing, and Flying 2013

This May, after ten weeks on Thompson Pass working with Mammut partner Valdez Heli-Ski Guides, I flew to Reykjavik, Iceland with six good friends and clients for an amazing adventure in Iceland's Western Fjords and Troll Peninsula.

The Northern coast of Iceland offers incredibly accessible skiing opportunities by foot, sail, or helicopter--we opted for all forms.

The small village of Isafjordur

Upon arrival in Reykjavik we immediately jumped on a small prop plane for the town of Isafjordur in the Western Fjords where Borea Adventures is based. Borea Adventures is owned by Sigurdur Jonsonn. Eight years ago, after many years sailing and skiing in the Western Fjords, Sigi started Borea Adventures to share his local knowledge with skiers around the world.

Strong winds and snow buffered the small fishing village making our intended departure on Borea Adventures' Aurora--a 65' sloop--unlikely. Anxious to make some turns despite our delayed start, we joined local guide Haukur Sigurdsson (Sigi's son and the Aurora's second mate) for a tour in above town. Fifteen centimeters of new snow on top of an isothermic snowpack kept us on our toes. We did not get far--300m above town, as we entered a 1000m coulior, shooting cracks splintered from our ski tips. Upon retreat we triggered a small wet slab (WS-ASu-D1/R1-I) that ran about 100 meters downslope--enough excitement for day one (and confirmation that our Mammut R.A.S. airbags were not in vain.)

On May 5 the skies began to break--Sigi and Haukur announced that the the seas were calming. It did not take long to board the Aurora and cast off for the Fjords to the North.

Isafjordur is in the lower left corner. Our trip took us from Isafjordur, across the Isafjardardjup Fjord,
 across the Jokulfiroir Fjord. Our first night was spent in the Veioileysufjorour Fjord.

Boarding the Aurora in Isafjordur

Captain Sigi at the helm

Upon entering the protected fjords we took the Zodiac to shore for our first tour. The storm was lingering so we skied in near white-out conditions for the first two days.

Shore bound

Trigger happy 

Coulior hunting--Haukur led us into a rarely skied coulior
 filled with a bit of everything: wind drifts, pow, and ice.

Looking up at after an exciting descent

Skies began to clear mid afternoon on day 2. The new snow skied well all the way to the ocean.

On day three we awoke to blue skies after a cold night. We spent the morning touring to Snokur peak which gave us a view into the North Atlantic and gave the steeper runs time to warm up after a good overnight freeze.

Day 3: Bluebird

The boys heading up towards Snokur

By midday we were headed towards a large South facing coulior above that sat above the Aurora. 

 A beautiful coulior, Aurora below. The coulior had a very icy entrance
 but softened in the sun 100 meters below.

Some opted for a rope on the surprising icy entry. 
Others skied around the entrance and met us below.

Aurora awaits the return of the team.

Ron skis perfect corn into Hrafnfjorour Fjord

John above the Aurora

Arctic Fox tracks

 Arctic Fox

Sun bathing seal

Humpback Whale

 Cod fishing

 Icelandic beer cozy

 Captain Sigi at rest

Disembarking. Next stop: Deplar Farm, Troll Peninsula

After six days aboard the Aurora, we flew from Isafjordur to Akureyri on the Troll Peninsula to the east. From there we drove to the Deplar Farm, where pilot Reynir was waiting with a beautiful A-Star for a couple days of exploratory helicopter skiing. The Deplar Farm was recently purchasedby Eleven Experience, a company focused on skiing and fishing lodges around the globe.

Deplar Farm, located on the Troll Peninsula, where we chartered a B2 A-Star 
for some exploratory heli-skiing with the folks at Eleven Experience.

Deplar Farm

 Beautiful black A-Star

Special thanks to Simo, Tom, Ron, John, Brian, Tim, and Kevin who made this trip happen as well as Sigi and Haukur (Borea Adventures) and Alan, Mike, Alex, and Tom at Eleven Experience.

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