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Iceland Ski and Sail

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European Ski & Snowboard Safari Tours
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BOAT BASED GUIDED SKI TOURING
6 Days | 5 Nights | 5.5 Ski Days

Location: Europe | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Price p/p
USD 6,800
This trip is to the beautiful Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the West Fjords of Iceland, close to the Arctic Circle. The focus is on backcountry skiing between the remote fjords, anchoring in a different harbour each night. Join the fixed date tour.
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Fixed Date(s)
Days
Price
Availability
Fixed Date(s): Apr 27 - May 03, 2020
Days: 7
Price: USD 6,800
Availability: Available
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
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Iceland Ski and Sail Tour

The six day Iceland Ski & Sail adventure tour is geared towards skiers, photographers, and influencers with a common interest: to experience Iceland fjord skiing. The goal is simple… create once in a lifetime memories in a pristine landscape unlike any other place on earth.

This trip is a true Arctic Expedition to the beautiful Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the West Fjords of Iceland—only a few miles from the Arctic Circle. The focus is on backcountry skiing between the remote fjords, anchoring in a different harbour each night.

Many of the mountains and ridges have never been skied before and your guides are always looking for first descents. While the season is prime time for skiing, the boat may carry a few kayaks on board for those eager or interested in taking a break from skiing and doing some kayaking. The expedition yacht Aurora is your movable ‘backcountry hut’ and awaits us at the end of every day with gourmet meals, warm and comfortable bunks, and friendly conversation.

Skiing in Iceland

Cruising around in a boat is the best way to really explore the remote wilderness, and hunt down the best conditions. The boat moves to a different location each day and you head ashore via a zodiac.

The Iceland skiing terrain is similar to that of other fjord-rich areas of the Arctic & sub-Arctic, varying significantly from scenic and meandering alpine terrain to steep & challenging sphincter tightening couloirs. There are two mountaineering guides on the trip, so to some degree, the 2 groups can undertake different skiing and snowboarding objectives.

With respect to the Icelandic snow, expect any type with variants in the form of powder, crust, or corn. Shaded northerly aspects are generally fresher & most ski descents will be back down to sea level.

The Sailboat

The boat for the tour is the Aurora, a locally based sailing boat with many trips to the area 'under its keel'! The boat is relatively spacious, but accommodations & facilities are shared.

The waters o the fjords are generally calm so motion sickness is usually not an issue. Guests are encouraged to get involved in the sailing of the boat, adding another layer to the experience.

Landfall will be made via embarked Zodiac inflatable craft, depositing everyone on solid ground with dry feet (mostly!).

Required Ability/Experience

Whilst this sounds like a mission for a pro skier, you don’t actually need to be a pro skier or split boarder. As an absolute minimum you need to be a strong advanced skier or snowboarder (black ungroomed runs) and have plenty of experience riding off-piste in a range of snow conditions (including challenging snow quality). helps to like boats & seafood too!

Previous ski touring/split boarding experience is required. Human power via skinning and boot packing is the only way to get up the mountains, so needless to say, you’ll need to be fit.

The trip is limited to 8 clients per itinerary. Some guests travel with friends but many also travel alone.

Where is Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Iceland?

Wild & spectacular, the north-western fjords of Iceland near the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve offer an amazing ski & snowboard experience. The village and tour starting point of Ísafjörður is 220km north of the capital Reykjavik 'as the puffin fly'!

Iceland is situated in the mid north Atlantic, between Greenland & Norway. The capital, Reykjavik, is around 1,900km northwest of London & 4,200km northeast of New York. Flights to Iceland are plentiful from a host of North American & European origins. International flights arrive at the Keflavik International Airport (KEF), 50km west of Reykjavik.

Internal (domestic) flights depart from the Reykjavik Airport (RKV), located in the heart of the city. The sail-ski location of Ísafjörður (IFJ) is best accessed by flights direct from Reykjavik (RKV).

Search for a great deal on a flight to Reykjavik (KEF) or Ísafjörður (IFJ) here.

Once you arrive in Iceland, several private & shared transfer options exist from Keflavik International airport to Reykjavik & beyond. Search & book your private or shared transfer to & from Keflavik here. There is also the option to get an overland transfer up to  Ísafjörður using the same link to search for options.

Visiting Iceland

Once in Iceland there are a range of places & activities worth doing. It has an amazing 'fire & ice' landscape, that is worthy of further exploration. Even staying a few nights in Reykjavik is fun for those that have never experienced Iceland. Search & book accommodation in Reykjavik here.

Prior to & after the tour, it may be worth booking accommodation in the delightful coastal town of Ísafjörður. Search & book accommodation in Isafjordur here.

See the Iceland overview page for more information.

Iceland Ski & Sail Itinerary

Even though the group may not be far from “home”, this is still true exploration and the final itinerary will only be decided upon when its time to leave Ísafjörður harbour. Below is the most likely itinerary, but we will take into account weather and snow-conditions plus always look for the best possible option.

Day 1

Depart from Ísafjörður at 14:00, with 2-4 hours of sailing to Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Relax at anchor and maybe explore on the Zodiac to take a look at the old whaling station that once was the driving force in this now abandoned settlement. Since it will still bright in the evening during the latter part of the season, you will then have an option to do a short ski run.

Day 2

The day will begin with a safety briefing, avalanche search exercise, and explanation of what to do in case of emergency. Skiing will then start from Hesteyrarfjörður to Veiðileysufjörður. The climb up Hesteyrarfjörður is easy and the ski slopes on the other side offer many possibilities. It is possible to end the day by skiing the steepest slope of the trip, 45°-50° in steepness (of course this is optional—you can head down to the boat if you prefer!). Dinner will be at anchor in Veiðileysufjörður.

Day 3

Today you will ski to Lónafjörður (Lagoon fjord). Begin the day by climbing up to one of the cols to take a look at the bays on the north side. Then a lovely ski down to the first valley in Lónafjörður and climb at least two more mountains before meeting Aurora again in the afternoon. Overnight at the Rangali anchorage. 

Day 4

It is normal to spend an extra day at the beautiful Rangali anchorage. There are endless opportunities for skiing. From steep couloirs to rolling hills. One route will take the group to the Snókur mountain with a good view of the coastal mountains on the east side of Hornstrandir. Often there is an opportunity to pick mussels for an après ski snack!

Day 5

Today the group will skin up from the Sópandi Inlet and over to Hrafnfjörður (Raven Fjord). The mountain cirque at the head of the fjord is very beautiful and the anchorage is a perfect spot to spend the night.

Day 6

There is time for a morning ski session before sailing back to Ísafjörður, with arrival around 16:00 in the afternoon. You can catch the last flight from Ísafjörður that night, though we suggest staying at least one night in Ísafjörður to relax and get to know this old and beautiful town.

Rates & Inclusions

Rates

6 days, 5 nights from USD$6800

Inclusions
  • 6 days & 5 nights stay on board expedition yacht Aurora
  • Guided ski/snowboard touring (1:4 guide: guest ratio)
  • All meals for duration of the trip
  • Airport transfer in Ísafjörður (return to/from sailboat)
  • All shore landings/pickups by Zodiac
  • Sailing instruction & wet-weather sailing clothing
  • Optional use of sea kayaks & stand-up paddle boards to explore the fjords
Add-ons
No optional extras to display
Not Included
  • Flights to Reykjavik - flight options here
  • Transportation between Reykjavik and Ísafjörður before & after trip
  • Baggage, cancellation and travel insurance (emergency medical & evacuation insurance is mandatory)
  • Alcoholic beverages during the tour (can be purchased)
  • Gratuities for mountain guides & yacht staff
  • Ski equipment rental

Reservations and Payment

A deposit of 50% per person is required to confirm a reservation. The deposit may be paid by bank wire transfer, check, money order or Visa/Mastercard credit card. There is a 5% service fee for the use of credit cards. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure. Final payment may be paid by bank wire transfer or check. We do not accept credit cards for final payments. All prices and payments are in US dollars and no other currencies can be accepted.

Mandatory Travel Insurance

Passengers traveling with Ice Axe Expeditions are required to be covered by a travel insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage up to a minimum of $200,000 USD. Your policy must cover ski mountaineering if you will be participating in that activity. We travel to remote regions of the world and we recommend that the policy’s emergency evacuation benefit be higher than minimum.

Cancellations and Refunds

All requests for cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received up to 150 days prior to departure are refunded less an administrative fee of $500 per person. If cancellation is received between 149 and 95 days prior to departure, the 50% deposit is forfeited. Please note that for cancellations received within 94 days prior to departure, all deposits and tariffs are forfeited. If cancellation occurs within the 94-day period and full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and unpaid monies are due immediately. If for any reason the voyage on the vessel “Arctica II” (which is chartered) is cancelled, passengers will not be entitled to make any further claim for compensation or damages, for any loss, consequential damage, expenses, loss of time or inconvenience which may result from such cancellation arising, whether or not such cancellation arises in whole or in part as a consequence of any act or omission of Ice Axe Expeditions or its servants or agents. For these and other reasons mentioned below, passengers are strongly encouraged to obtain trip cancellation insurance.

Prices quoted are based on group participation and no refunds will be made for any part of the program in which you choose not to participate. It is understood that refunds cannot be made to passengers who do not complete the tour for any reason whatsoever. Itinerary The itinerary described is subject to change at the discretion of the ship’s master and Ice Axe Expeditions’ Expedition Leader. This is an expedition to a remote part of the world, and we reserve the right to change the itinerary due to weather conditions, availability of anchorages, political conditions and other factors beyond our control without consulting the passengers. It is understood that such decisions will be made in the best interests of all passengers aboard and with regard to the safety of the vessel. We may for any reason change the date of departure or conclusion of the expedition, the scheduled point of departure for the expedition, omit or change a scheduled stop on the expedition, change the scheduled place for conclusion of the expedition and change the mode of transport whether before or after the tour has departed, without prior notice to the passengers.

Passengers will have no right to refund and Ice Axe Expeditions will not be liable for any loss, consequential damages, expenses, loss of time or enjoyment or inconvenience in the event of these inevitable itinerary changes. The images featured in our brochure are inspirational in character and do not necessarily depict the exact people, animals, and places encountered by passengers. Ice Axe will not refund any of the payment due to weather delays and loss of ski days.

Rates

Voyage rates are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of printing and are subject to change prior to departure. Substantial changes in tariffs, exchange rates and the price of fuel, services and labor sometimes increase the cost of expedition arrangements significantly, and we reserve the right to alter our prices or introduce surcharges accordingly, even if payment has been received in full.

Responsibility

Please read this important information carefully. The payment of a deposit of any part or full payment for a reservation on this tour shall constitute consent to all the provisions contained herein. Ice Axe Expeditions acts as a general sales agent for the vessel, and also act as sales agents for the passengers with respect to other transportation, hotels, etc., and as such exercise every possible care. However, Ice Axe Expeditions and/or associated Agents shall not be held responsible for property loss or damage and/or any damages resulting from illness, personal injuries or death that may be sustained by reason of, or while engaged on, any tour whether due to the ownership, maintenance, use, operation or control of any automobile, boat, vehicle, hotel, common carrier or any other conveyance used in carrying out the tour. We can assume no liability due to any cause whatsoever whether caused by failure or delay or other irregularity, acts or omissions occurring during a tour under which the means of transportation or other service provided thereby is offered or supplied by owners, operators or public carriers for whom Ice Axe Expeditions acts only as Agent. Ice Axe Expeditions reserves the right (at their discretion) to alter or omit any part of the itinerary or change any reservation, feature and/or means of conveyance without notice and for any reason whatsoever and without allowance or refund, and with extra costs, if any, resulting there from paid by the passengers. We reserve the right to cancel any tour prior to departure, in which case payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. Ice Axe shall not be responsible for any injury to person (whether or not resulting in death) or damage to property arising out of any act of war, insurrection, revolt or other civil uprising or military action occurring in the countries of origin, destination or passage. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. In case of a medical problem arising during the voyage, either on board or on shore, which results in costs for evacuation, use of aircraft or repatriation, the responsibility for payment of these costs belongs solely to the passenger. The transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not aboard their carriers or conveyances. The passenger contract in use by the carriers concerned (when issued) shall constitute the sole contract between the transportation companies and the purchaser of these tours and/or passage. By accepting the ticket the passenger also agrees to its terms and conditions. By forwarding of deposit, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for himself/herself or other passengers. Ice Axe Expeditions reserve the right to cancel or withdraw any person as a member of the tour at any time.

Photography

Passengers extend Ice Axe Expeditions permission to take their photograph during the voyage and release all rights over those images. Passengers who do not wish to be photographed during the voyage must inform Ice Axe Expeditions in writing prior to the voyage.