The Lab

Skiing in Iceland with Sebastian Jakobsen

Posted on November 7, 2016 by Linde Werdelin

Sebastian Jakobsen is a Danish sometime-competitive freeskier. On a trip to Iceland in April this year he took a SpidoSpeed Carbon – Green on his adventure. In this three-part series over the course of three weeks here on The Lab, Sebastian will share his words and stunning photography to recount the experience. This is part one.

Iceland, first settled in the 9th Century, primarily by Vikings, is one of the youngest civilisations in the world, certainly in Europe. Its geography was primarily shaped by centuries of volcanic eruption and earthquakes, and has led to it being a great place to ski.

I travelled to Iceland in April with eight fellow passionate ski enthusiasts from the Danish ski club “Powder8” to see what the country had to offer.

We landed in Keflavík airport in south-western Iceland. From here we had a six-hour drive in two rented 4WD cars to our destination. A very scenic drive! The first part was a flat and barren lunar-like landscape covered by black volcanic stones. It was a long time before we saw snowy peaks. Finally, we approached the mountains – and snow, at last! – and after we crossed a snow-covered pass we had made it to our remote little hut 18 kilometres from Dalvík.

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.1[A car had skidded off the road just before the group got there.]

After unloading the cars, doing some grocery shopping and eating, all of us were dead tired and we went straight to bed, which resulted in a 5am start the following morning. From the window we could see the sun peeking in between the mountaintops. We made one of the couloirs from Hálshnjúkur the first target of the trip.

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.2[The wide couloir just to the left of Sebastian’s pole is the target for the group. That’s the SpidoSpeed Carbon – Green on his wrist.]

The start of the hike was fairly easy, but when we reached the bottom of the face with the couloirs we realised how steep it was. We made it to the start of a wide couloir and half the group went back down. Thomas, on the other hand, dug out his ice axe and started scaling the thing. Altogether, there were three of us who persevered to climb.

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.3[Steep and deep – a tough climb!]

The three of us made it halfway up the couloir before we clicked back in our skis. We did so both because it was getting really steep and tough, but mostly because the rest of the group was waiting for us. It was time for the first descent; time for our first turns; would the four-hour hike pay off?

Yes! The snow was way better than expected. The steep, north-facing couloir was untouched by the sun and therefore still filled with powder snow! It was a glorious feeling to hurtle down the couloir in such deep powder snow. Those minutes of freedom made the long hike worth it.

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.4[Powder!]

At the bottom of the slope, we reunited with the rest of the group for some lunch before returning to our cars. The rest of the way down was mellow and relaxed spring skiing, but with a fantastic view – over the mountains and the sea at the end of the valley.

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.5[Sometimes… you just feel small.]

Back at the hut we dried our skins and other equipment, refilled our empty water bottles and gathered energy for our afternoon ride.

To close out the day, we decided to go for a west-facing mountain to get the most out of the afternoon sun. The hike was quite easy this time, and while skiing we had a fantastic view and surprisingly good snow!

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.6[When not driving, the rental car doubled as a drying rack for all ski gear.]

LW_Iceland_Skiing_Sebastian-Jakobsen_1.8[More powder skiing.]

Sebastian Jakobsen, a sometime-competitive freeride skier, and ski adventurer, will be recounting his Icelandic skiing adventures in a three-part series here on The Lab. His skiing trip took place in April, but we are sharing it now as we head back into the skiing season. If you would like to see more of Sebastian Jakobsen, his photographs and adventures, his other two posts will be on The Lab in the coming weeks. You can also follow him on Instagram: @sebastian.jakobsen.

This post was tagged with Adventure, Iceland, Road Trip, Sebastian Jakobsen, ski, skiing, Travels