Ski Touring in Iceland's Troll Peninsula
When it comes to alpine ski touring, the alps can move over: there’s a new kid on the block.
The troll peninsula, Tröllaskagi in Icelandic, is a remarkable mountain/fjord valley range between Skagafjörður and Eyjafjorður lies a mountain range (see map below) with peaks reaching consistently above 1200m with the Kerling, the highest peak, reaching 1528m.
The area is punctuated with deep valleys left behind by long-gone glaciers; the area is now cut by rivers at the bottoms of the glacial valleys, taking over 10,000 years to form. It covers an area of 150 km² and holds 150 small glaciers.
What’s it like to actually ski there? I spoke to Ivar, one of our brilliant and highly experienced ski guides, to get the whole low-down on the experience of skiing in the Troll Peninsula.
Skiing in Iceland: The Going
Being in the far north, near-arctic latitudes means that the springtime sun is not that strong, not taking away our precious snow so fast. Also, there’s no need for an early start, the snow will stay good the whole day even on the south facing aspects. Most of the time our group will take their time for a good breakfast and not get out until 9:30 ish, depending on weather and conditions.
Not a person in sight either! OK, very few people at least. This is one of the main reasons why people keep coming back to ski in Iceland
Ski to the Sea
For most people that come ski touring in Tröllaskagi in the north of Iceland, the novelty is skiing down to the sea. Not only that, but lots and lots of virgin powder, these first runs are yours for the taking and are a particular feature of skiing in more remote regions such as Iceland as opposed to the alps where altitudes are much higher and certain spots are more crowded and the best ones more inaccessible.
How’s the Skiing? Skin Up, Link Up!
Most of the mountains will start just above sea level and rise to around 1000m: no single climb will be a big day out, allowing more runs per day. Those wanting more will usually do link ups, dropping a few hundred meters of the first summit and skin up to the next one. The terrain is perfect for that with plenty of features mid way where a run can end and a skinning track begin.
One, two or three runs later it is time to head back. The perfect apres-ski requires a stop at the local coffee shop in Dalvík or Siglufjöður, the local towns. This always puts a smile on everyone's face. It is the type of a place where everyone is always smiling and the owners and staff are world famous in the ski-touring world for their hospitality as well as the beer-bread, cakes and Iceland's best fish soup. The locals also come by too look at the funny, happy tanned ski tourers in their colorful clothing & and a glass of the locally made Kaldi beer.
For a luxurious country hotel, apres-ski experience, we also offer the possibility of staying the 4* Hotel Sigló in the quaint town of Siglufjöður.
Proper skiing requires proper food, and the day will then end with and Icelandic dinner. Food is very important to us here at Icelandic Mountain Guides, and we place great pride into introducing our guests to our local food culture. The day ends with a few beers or a glass of wine in good company.
Repeat this formula for good measure you have one heck of a ski vacation! You might even see the northern lights.
P.s. Lets keep this our little secret - although there is plenty of space we don't want everyone coming over to the ski with the trolls
About the Author
Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.
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