Iceland 2022 : a wilderness adventure post competitive season
After a busy ski mountaineering season full of emotions, the need to live a new adventure replacing a stopwatch by simple desire and curiosity became a priority.
This winter marked the best sports season of my career, achieving in particular the big crystal globe of ski mountaineering. It was the first time I experienced such intense emotions, race after race, incredible feelings but which come with a certain emotional fatigue.
During the season, our races are practically back-to-back, every week. Rare are the moments when you can really go on an adventure in the mountains, without looking at the stopwatch or the cardio.
Having planned our trip a bit late, we only had 4 days after the last World Cup to prepare all the necessary equipment, our plans, and the logistics. Efficiency under pressure was the mantra. In terms of gear, I had the chance to test the new E-Tour 90 skis from Dynastar. I’m not super accustomed to using skis over 66 under foot, so I planned to ski them for a day before setting off.
And what fun it was!
I had forgotten about the pleasure of skiing with “wide” skis ! And with the added bonus of some fresh spring snow, it was a blast. Reactive underfoot and yet fluid I realised how much more confortable it was than skiing on skinny skis… Ok, I approve! After looking at the conditions in the north of Iceland we saw that 50cm had fallen a few days before, and we could already imagine the trip! Let's go!
After a first day of rain, we arrive by car at our destination in the Trolls peninsula in the north of the country. First impressions were that there was a little less snow than we had imagined, it seemed to have been washed away with the rain that fell during the last few days. Despite this, to our delight, the weather was improving and there still seemed to be plenty of snow to ski down to the sea! Off we go for 5 days of skiing the peaks along the coast between Akureyri and Siglufjordur, all with a view of the sea.
The great thing was that many things could be done by scouting lines from the bottom. We simply had to spot them from the road, park on the edge when a line or a route seemed good and off we went for the climb!
The snow conditions were spring-like, nice and springy and pleasant to ski, with some portions of snow that were slightly wind-blown. The skis responded really well, a little heavier than usual on the way up but a real pleasure to descend with allowing a good feeling of stability in changeable snow!
8:30 am, off we go for a 20-minute drive to reach a small peak that we had spotted the day before. We park in a small fishing village. The summit seemed to be around 900 m of climbing and with small gullies that lead to the water. We decide on a route and off we go. The snow is firm with a small layer that allows us to grip well on the climb.
We arrive at the top and the view opens to us. An absolutely picturesque view with fjords making their way up each side and the peak and spots of light dancing up and down the different snowy faces. We head for one of the couloirs we had spotted, and off we go for a 900m descent down to the sea! The snow is firm as we begin the descent and softens as we go down. But no matter, I feel like I’m flying! Once we make it back to the car, we head towards a small picnic corner at the edge of the water, before leaving for a second summit in the afternoon a little further south.
We end the day in Dalvik in a local bar to end the day with a beer : a small luxury (considering the prices in Iceland, a big luxury even) that we allow ourselves after a great day filled with adventure.
After 5 days of skiing in the north and east, we decided to discover the island by doing the full tour to fully enjoy the changing landscapes and the spectacular beauty of Icelandic nature. Between waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes, we were well served! Iceland is clearly a country that will have surprised us, and will have made us even more eager to return and explore more, because for now, we have only experienced a seed of all that the country has to offer.