Top three reasons to go backcountry skiing in Iceland
Enjoy sensational panoramic views from the top of three volcanoes
Engaging terrain with varied steepness guarantee that you’ll never get bored
Deep, cold snowpack perfect for skiing spring powder and corn all the way to sea level
Nestled in Iceland’s wilderness, just a few hours from its capital, three stunning glacier-covered volcanoes are just waiting to be explored! With an endless number of slopes and challenging ascents, Iceland’s volcanoes present the ultimate ski touring adventure. Explore the remote parts of Iceland formed by the combined forces of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic and geothermal activity, and see the sights along the way. Ascend three stunning peaks: the iconic Snæfellsjökull Glacier on the beautiful Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the world-famous Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, well known for the troubles it caused for air travel during its eruption in 2010, and Iceland’s highest summit, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m / 6921ft), towering over Vatnajökull icecap—the largest one in Europe. Freeriders will definitely enjoy shredding fresh powder from the top—take full advantage of the abundant snowpack and enjoy the breathtaking variety of Icelandic mountain scenery!
May through June
Keflavik, IS, is less than an hour away
Intermediate to advanced
Book this adventure
The Volcano Ski Touring Challenge
Take on Iceland’s magnificent glacier-covered volcanoes on this ultimate six-day ski touring adventure! Join your experienced local guide as you overcome three stunning volcanic peaks, taking in the breathtaking variety of Iceland’s mountain scenery on the way. Spend your nights in hotels, and your days conquering challenging and rewarding volcanic objectives, culminating with a summit attempt on Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest peak!
Day 1: Reykjavík – Snæfellsjökull Glacier
Start the tour with an early morning pick up in Reykjavík and head out towards the Snæfellsnes peninsula. A two-hour drive takes you to the foot of the Snæfellsjökull Glacier, a 700,000 years old dormant volcano, rising 1446 m/4,744 ft above sea level! Start ascending the glacier and in about 6-7 hours you will be rewarded with a sensational panoramic view from the top. Return to the foot of the glacier and enjoy a hot meal and a warm bed.
Day 2: Snæfellsnes – Golden Circle
Spend your second day skiing on the Snæfellsnes peninsula and afterwards, head south to explore the fascinating waterfalls of Hraunfossar. Discover the well known Golden Circle, including Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir. Spend the evening in a hotel at the foot of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier.
Note: The days skiing will be based on weather and snow conditions but there are plenty of greater slopes on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to choose from.
Day 3: Eyjafjallajökull Glacier
On day three, it is time for the second challenge—the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier (sometimes referred to as E15) that caused a lot of problems for air travel when it erupted in 2010. The glacier is 1651 m/5,417 ft high, and boasts magnificent views from the top. The ascent will take about 8-10 hours. After reaching your goal for today, return to the foot of the glacier and enjoy a well-deserved dinner.
Day 4: South Coast – Glacier Lagoon
Spend Day 4 sightseeing the South Coast, relax, and prepare for the final challenge. Heading further east along the beautiful south coast of Iceland, enjoy the spectacular scenery along the way. The highlights include the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, the picturesque village Vík, Skaftafell national park and the glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón and its spectacular diamond beach. Once you reach Hvannadalshnúkur, have dinner with your group and rest for tomorrow’s challenges!
Day 5: Hvannadalshnúkur
There’s a long day ahead of you! Today’s challenge is Hvannadalshnúkur (2110m / 6922ft), the highest peak of Iceland. With a climb of 2000 m/6562 ft that will take about 10-12 hours, this is the biggest undertaking of this trip. Still, with great challenges come great rewards—once you’re up there, you’ll officially be standing on the top of Iceland with a panoramic view like no other. The ultimate reward, however, will be skiing down the 2000 m/6562 ft slope! Once you’re all skied out, return to your accommodation and savor the delicious dinner and reminisce about today’s victories.
Note: In case snow/weather conditions are not good on Hvannadalshnúkur, your guide will have to change the itinerary to another similar summit in the area.
Day 6: Return to Reykjavik
After five days of fun and adrenaline-inducing adventure, it is time to head back to Reykjavík. Stop by the impressive Skógafoss waterfall along the way and head back home in the late afternoon.
Meet your guide
Icelandic Mountain Guides
We had the absolute best, professional, and very knowledgeable guides. I highly recommend you book your tours/excursions through Icelandic Mountain Guides!
Small group. Expert leadership. Friendly and informative. Aware of the needs of the slowest members in the group. I’m often very critical and these guys were so good that I could not think of a single thing to improve. So yeah, 5 stars for Tryggvi and Hallþór!!!
I have no way to compare them to any other guide company, but I honestly can’t imagine there’s one better than Icelandic Mountain Guides. Everyone was very professional, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and funny, all while taking their responsibility for our safety very seriously. I can’t recommend them enough! Fabulous group!
Things to know
Covid measures in 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, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Iceland, please read the Official COVID-19 updates by the Icelandic Government.
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, qualified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Transportation in a minibus
- Accommodation in twin/double rooms in 3 star hotels for 5 nights
- Full board
- Safety equipment
What’s not included:
- Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
- Transportation to and from Iceland
- Accommodation in a single room in 3 star hotels for 5 nights
- Accommodation in Reykjavík before and after the tour
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 4-12 hours a day for 6 full days, covering 6-10 miles (10-15km) of terrain every day. You will need to manage 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?
To participate in this tour, you need to have previous powder skiing experience. You will be skiing, touring, and summiting on glaciated terrain for 5-7 hours every day. 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.
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)
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:
Keep in mind that renting ski touring equipment in Iceland can be tricky, and you’re better off bringing your own equipment if possible.
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 prices:
- The guest to guide ratio for this hiking tour is usually 4 to 12 guests and two guides.
- Pricing is per person, and the cost does not decrease as your group grows.
If your skiing party is larger than six people, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Because this tour requires a minimum enrollment of four people, if you are booking alone, your reservation is subject to change up until the last day if the minimum enrollment is not reached (but fear not, as that is rarely the case!).
Min. age requirements:
- Anyone over the age of 18 can join this adventure
Deposits and cancellation policy
Registration for an adventure with your guide requires a 50% deposit. The balance of program fees will generally be due 90 days prior to the starting date of the program. It is your responsibility to adhere to the fee payment schedule. Late payment will result in cancellation of program reservations and forfeiture of all fees paid.
All cancellations must be made by letter or e-mail. In conformity with business practices within the Icelandic travel industry, the travel agent is obliged to charge cancellation fees to passenger(s). If clients formally cancel their participation:
- 15% of the tour price is non-refundable
- 50% of tour price is refunded if cancelled 30-59 days prior to departure
- 25% of tour price is refunded if cancelled 16-29 days prior to departure
- 0% of tour price is refunded if cancelled 15 days prior to departure.
Icelandic Mountain Guides reserve the right to alter tours and itineraries due to weather or road conditions. All programs can be changed or cancelled at any moment during the trip to assure the safety of the clients and staff. No responsibility is accepted for losses, expenses due to delays, changes of flights, or other services or because of strikes, accidents, sickness, damage, negligence, weather, war, changes in schedules, or other similar causes. Icelandic Mountain Guides does not assume responsibility for accidents or death that can be traced to the participant’s negligence, acts of third parties or exterior circumstances such as weather, natural occurrences, war or other similar causes.
Any eventual changes in rates (due to purchasing prices, currency fluctuation and such) will not be made with less than 8 weeks’ notice prior to arrival.
After the invoice has been issued, the price is guaranteed against any surcharge, unless an increase is due to government laws or currency changes. Your guide will absorb an amount equivalent to 5% of the package price. Amounts that exceed the 5% will be charged and clients will be entitled to cancel their booking with a full refund if the surcharge exceeds 10%.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Reykjavik, most people fly into Keflavik International Airport, about 45 minutes away. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. Once you get to Reykjavik, your guide will pick you up before heading out of the city towards the Snæfellsnes peninsula