Glacier Fjords Skiing and Sailing
This amazing tour combines the best of backcountry skiing and sailing. Operating from the comfortable traditional oak sailing ship Donna Wood – highly skilled and professional guides and crew anchor in remote bays for a breathtaking and unique experience.
Remote and unique
Jökulfirðir are among the most tranquil and isolated places you can find. Jökulfirðir would translate as Glacial Fjords due to the presence of the majestic Drangajökull glacier. Most of Jökulfirðir are inside the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This incredible area is part of the Northwestern tip of Iceland: The Westfjords.
Described as the most sparsely populated area in Europe, the Westfjords region covers around 40% of the coastline of Iceland with less then 7.000 inhabitants in total. And even more so, the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is secluded and only accessible by foot or boat. The last inhabitants left the area over 60 years ago.
Ease of access
With a relatively short sailing distance from the iconic Ísafjörður (Fjord of Ice), the main town of Westfjords, Jökulfirðir provides one of the most memorable back country skiing on the planet.
Sailing ship Donna Wood combines the best qualities and comfort in a movable base. The 31.2 m (LOA) ship has a roomy deck saloon – seating 24.
Accommodating 12 people in 7 beautiful cabins, each equipped with washbasins and closets. The hallway features spacious shared shower facilities and toilets. The ship is nimble and can easily navigate the coastline for better access to remote locations.
What makes this trip so very special?
- Sailing and living aboard the beautifully restored traditional sailing ship Donna Wood
- Exploring terrain in the company of certified ski guides
- Visiting the isolated and abandoned Glacier Fjords
- Skiing all the way down to the ocean
A typical day-to-day program
for the Ski to the Sea adventure
Final itinerary will be decided when leaving Ísafjörður harbour. Below is the most likely itinerary, but weather and snow-conditions are evaluated to look for the best possible option.
Depart from Ísafjörður at 19:00, with 2-4 hours of sailing to Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. We will relax at anchor and maybe explore on the Zodiac and 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, we will then have an option to do a short ski run.
We’ll begin the day with safety briefing, avalanche search exercise, and an explanation of what to do in case of emergency. We will then ski from Hesteyrarfjörður to Veiðileysufjörður. The climb up Hesteyrarfjörður is easy and the ski slopes on the other side offer many possibilities. We may 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.
Today we will ski to Lónafjörður (Lagoon fjord). We begin the day by climbing up to one of the cols to take a look at the bays on the north side. We then ski down to the first valley in Lónafjörður and climb at least two more mountains before meeting Aurora again in the afternoon.
We normally spend an extra day at the beautiful Rangali anchorage. Here are endless opportunities for skiing. From steep couloirs to rolling hills.
One route will take us 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!
Today we 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.
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 it is suggested staying at least one night in Ísafjörður to relax and get to know this old and beautiful town.
If conditions do not allow for a crossing to Grimsey island on day 4, we will set sail for the Troll Peninsula and enjoy the evening at anchor in a secluded bay or in one of the small villages that dot the northern tip of this mountain paradise. We would than enjoy another day of ski touring on the Troll Peninsula or the Hidden Land before returning to harbor in the afternoon.
Equipment list for the Ski to the Sea adventure
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket (Gore Tex or equivalent)
- Wind and waterproof pants (Gore Tex or equivalent)
- Base layer (wool or synthetic)
- Ski pants
- Jacket (Soft shell, fleece)
- Light down or fiber jacket
- Gloves (2 pairs)
- Ski socks
- Backpack 30-40 liters
- Thermos or water bottle (1-2 liters)
- Ski goggles
- Sun and lip cream
- Ski touring skis, telemark or split board
- Skins and ski crampons (ski crampons are not optional)
- Ski poles
- Avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel
- Bathing suit for the Arctic Ocean….
- Small first aid kit with personal medications, blister kit etc
Please have your ski boots in carry on baggage during your flights to Iceland. If your skis get temporarily lost we can provide excellent rental gear. If you choose not to bring your own equipment please contact us for information and availability of our rental gear.
For bookings and more information please contact:
- This expedition is available upon demand.
This tour is also available for group charter with sailing crew:
- More flexiblity in itinerary
- A mountain guide can be provided by North Sailing
For charter price and conditions
- Airport transfer in Ísafjörður
- 6 days (5 nights) on a sailboat
- Guided backcountry skiing
- Sailing instruction
- Services of guides and crew
- Use of stand up paddle boards (SUP)
- Use of wet weather sailing clothing
- All meals for the duration of the trip
- Transportation between Reykjavík and Ísafjörður
- Equipment rental
- Personal accident insurance