Saturday, June 1, 2013

Iceland Heli Skiing

At the end of May, most people have hung up the skis and begun the climbing season. While recent posts here are more rock climbing oriented, I have just finished my ski season with two great weeks of heli skiing in Iceland.
This year the company I ski guide for, Eleven Experience ( began the process of opening a heli operation on the North side of Iceland. This year was a dry run with a few selected guests, more guides than we needed and lots of logistical support from the locals. Next season we hope to be fully operational with lodging, down day activities and lots and lots of quality skiing. 
Our pilot was pretty rad

Iceland is an amazing place. Wild, remote and sparsely populated with the friendliest people I have ever encountered. Most of the population is scattered along the coastlines with the mountains being in the middle of the island and dropping straight into the ocean.
Skiing toward the fijord

We basically had the run of the land. The helicopter parked just outside our remodeled shepherd's house and we skied when the weather was good. With around 22 hours of daylight, we could ski just about anytime of day or night.
Plucking the gems

With no one around and no limitations by permits or the like, we just fly to what looked like a cool line, shredded it and moved on to the next one.
Skiing to the sea
The small sample of mountains that we skied were amazing. There is endless potential for new lines, and likely first descents within a quick flight from our base.
Sunset skiing
I came home jonesing for more, and can't wait to get back there next spring to keep exploring with more time, more guests, and lots more skiing!

Steve Banks

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