I called Akureyri home for many years and frequented the region’s ski resorts, especially with my kids, who practically lived on the slopes during the winter. There are five main ski hotspots in North Iceland – Hlidarfjall (Akureyri), Boggvisstadafjall (Dalvik), Tindaoxl (Olafsfjordur), Skardsdalur (Siglufjordur) and Tindastoll (Saudarkrokur) – and it’s possible to buy a five-day ski pass for all five. Hlidarfjall, the biggest of the five and highest in the country (950 m / 3,117 ft) is only seven minutes’ drive from Akureyri town centre, and its reputation as one of the best is well deserved. Its extensive slopes are regularly slammed with fresh powder, the weather is often perfect for skiing, the views are incredible, and the numerous well-groomed runs carve through some of the most epic undulating vistas I’ve seen.
Though the scenery is spectacular, masters of the slopes may find the elevation for downhill skiing in Iceland limited. On the other hand, there’s plenty of creative forms of skiing on offer, with heli-skiing, ski touring, backcountry and ski mountaineering
all increasingly catching on. Bjorgvin Bjorgvinsson, the co-founder of Viking Heliskiing Iceland and threetime former Olympian, runs multi-day tours in the fairytale-like mountains of Trollaskagi. They have 256 landing points and around 500 routes in the “vast and largely unexplored area”, but Bjorgvin’s favourite is called “Thor” – a run which offers a higher-than-heaven ski high from the summit of Vikurhyrna (1,200 m / 3,937 ft) in Hedinsfjordur valley, with an extraordinary run right down to the sea. “There’s nothing like skiing down slopes in between towering peaks, ending the ride where the shoreline meets the North Atlantic,” says Bjorgvin.
Adventurous heli-skier descending Thor’s Run in Hedinsfjordur Valley, North Iceland. Image courtesy of Viking Heliskiing.