Top reasons to go sailing and skiing in Iceland’s Westfjords
Sail, tour, and shred pow in one of the most remote regions of Iceland
Sample the Westfjords’ legendary summit-to-sea lines
Explore the fjords and glaciers of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Ever dreamed of sailing to the furthermost reaches of the Earth, shredding untouched pow for days on end without seeing another person? If so, make your way to the Westfjords. Populated solely by ocean birds and arctic foxes, the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve promises peace, solitude, arctic scenery, and fantastic ski runs. With a dense snowpack, steep couloirs, and long summit-to-sea lines, it’s some of the best skiing you’ll find in Iceland. You’ll be gliding from slope to slope on the Örkin, a charming oak sailboat with a spacious deck and SUPs for apres-ski action. As soon as you find an alluring fjord or glacier, drop anchor and tour to your heart’s content. It’s a type of freedom that can only be found at the ends of the world.
April through May
Reykjavik, Iceland, is a 40-minute flight away from Isafjördur, the starting point of this tour
Intermediate to advanced
Book this adventure
Sea to Summit Sailing and Ski Touring in the Westfjords
Spend six days sailing, shredding, and ski touring in the most remote reaches of Iceland! Join an experienced local guide and embark for the Westfjords in a cozy, rustic sailboat. Tour the fjords and glacial valleys, find your ideal summit-to-sea line, and shred pristine mountain pow far from the crowds. Off the slopes, chill out on your spacious deck, have fun on the onboard SUPs, or take a dip in Iceland’s refreshing seas.
Day 1: Arrival
Meet your guide at the Isafjordur harbor around 11 am. After a quick safety briefing, board the Örkin, a beautifully restored oak boat with all the necessary amenities, and embark for the remote fjords of Hornstrandir. Anchor in a secluded cove and squeeze in an introductory ski run before dinner!
Days 2-5: Touring the Westfjords
Embark on a fjord-to-fjord ski tour among the beautiful Westfjords. Load up with a generous breakfast, and sail the chilling seas of Iceland until you find a good slope. Then, it’s anchors away and time to tour! Summit-to-sea skiing is the name of the game, and if opportunities arise, you may ski some of the steep couloirs straight down to the fjord.
When you’re off the slopes, enjoy the views from your spacious deck, make use of the onboard SUP-s, or if you’re feeling fearless, take a revitalizing dip in the ice-cold waters!
Day 6: Departure
Get up early to enjoy a final ski run before motoring back to Isafjordur. Your guide will have you back in the harbor in time for your flight to Reykjavik.
Meet your guide
Perfect harmony between nature, host, and guest. What an exceptional place!
Things to know
Covid measures in the Westfjords, Iceland
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Westfjords, please refer to Iceland’s official COVID-19 travel guidelines.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Six days of backcountry ski touring
- Safety briefing on Day 1 of the tour
- Sailboat transportation and accommodations for the duration of the tour
- All meals for the duration of the tour
- Use of onboard SUPs
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment (available for an additional fee)
- Transportation to Iceland
- Transportation from Reykjavik to the Isafjordur harbor and back
- Food and accommodations off the boat
How fit do I need to be?
To enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to be in excellent physical shape. You will be on your feet for 6 days, covering miles of complex and glaciated terrain every day. You will need to manage steep, controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
This tour is meant for intermediate to advanced skiers with previous backcountry skiing experience. You will be skiing, touring, and summiting on steep, complex, and glaciated slopes for 6 days. Your guide will take care of the planning, oversee your technique, and teach you how to better manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training necessary to keep you safe.
If you’ve never backcountry skied before, we suggest joining a guide for a 6-day beginner-friendly backcountry skiing and van trip in Iceland.
What equipment do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and poles (can be rented)
- Avalanche safety equipment (can be rented):
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
- Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)
- Crampons (for advanced touring)
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Gloves and hat
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Down jacket or vest
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
- Camera — optional
Can I rent equipment?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
Skis, skins, crampons, and avalanche safety equipment can also be provided by your guide for an additional fee.
Ski rental locations are in Reykjavik and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and pricing:
- For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 8:1. All prices are per person.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Ski touring in the Westfjords can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
Deposits and cancellation policy
A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.
- If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to one hundred twenty (120) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund.
- For cancellations ninety (90) to one hundred nineteen(119) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
- For cancellations seventy five (75) to eighty nine (89) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
- After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the Isafjordur harbor, the starting point of this tour, most people fly into Keflavik International Airport near Reykjavik, Iceland. From there, take one of the 2-3 daily 40-minute flights to Isafjordur Airport. To ensure that you arrive at Isafjordur in time to meet with your guide, which will usually be around 11 am, we recommend flying into Reykjavik at least one day before the tour.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the Isafjordur harbor or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.