Skiing in North Iceland
Skiing in North Iceland is a great experience with many different ski areas to choose from. The main season for skiing in North Iceland is the months from January till late April and even longer when the conditions are right. Most of the resorts produce snow from spring water when the outdoor temp is cold enough (at and below freezing point). Note that these resorts are not Alp-size, they are mainly there to serve the people in the area, both skiing hobbyist and kids who enjoy skiing lessons on a regular basis during the wintertime. Up till recently these slopes have not been marketed for tourists, so you should expect local atmosphere. We could also say that given the low population, the ski resorts do have an admirable ambition and several skiers from this area have been able to succeed internationally.
The largest ski-area is in Mt. Hlidarfjall in Akureyri. They have 5 ski-lifts that reach from 500m over sea level up to 950m and even further if you want to take off your skis and walk. The view from the top, over the town of Akureyri and over Eyjafjordur bay is quite breathtaking! There is a special area for beginners/small kids and a ski rental where you can get all the gear you want.
The restaurant is quite small and in an old and cozy building but the hot dog and french fries are much appreciated after those long slopes. There’s also a special picnic area both inside a small cottage and outside in the cold fresh air.
On a cold and sunny day, especially during the weekends it can get a little bit crowdy. If you have a car we highly recommend visiting other ski resorts that are relatively close by, such as Dalvík, Ólafsfjörður and Siglufjörður.
Dalvík Ski Area is in Mt. Böggvisstaðafjall (try to pronounce that if you’ve mastered Eyjafjallajökull ?). It doesn’t seem very large but the hills are steep and challenging. There are two lifts with a total of 1200m slope length. On a good day when the view is clear you might be able to catch a ride with a snow mobile even higher up in the hills.
The town of Dalvik has a great outdoor swimming pool with hot tubs and a slider – a great relaxation after a marvelous day in the slopes. A popular choice is also a cup of hot chocolate and pastries at the Gisli Eirikur Helgi cafe.
There’s an approx. 30min drive from Akureyri to Dalvík, two great places for skiing in North Iceland.
Ólafsfjörður is in the same direction as Dalvík but a little bit further, approx 50 min drive from Akureyri. It has a great skiing area of approx 650m in length, an excellent country-cross skiing path and off track slopes for snowboarders. Ólafsfjörður also has a wonderful cafe, Kaffi Klara and a good swimming pool with insane slides!
Siglufjörður is another town with a great skiing area, when you’ve driven through Dalvík and Ólafsfjörður you go through another pair of tunnels and you’ve reached the skiing area. It’s got excellent slopes with a combined length of 1500m. If you’re into skiing you really should visit the Siglufjörður ski resort at least for a day. Siglufjörður has a couple of cafe’s and restaurant, and one chocolate coffeehouse not to miss!
On the east side of Akureyri, there are two skiing areas worth mentioning, Húsavík is an hours drive and has really nice slopes and then there’s Mt. Kaldbakur above Grenivík (a 25 min drive) which doesn’t have ski lifts but has regular daily tours with a large snowmobile that can take up to 20-32 passengers (10 persons minimum so you should contact them beforehand). The tour up the mountain takes approx 45 min and reaches one of the highest points in Eyjafjörður bay with a spectacular view all the way out to Grimsey island on the Arctic Circle. On the way down you can use the weaponry of choice, go skiing or on a snowboard, on a sled or racer (you can borrow some of theirs) or you can even breathe in the whole scenery and walk down the mountain. An experience not to miss!
If you REALLY want the thrill of a lifetime, you can go Heli-skiing with Arctic Heli Skiing in Skidadalur (close to Dalvik) or Viking heli skiing in Ólafsfjörður.
Heli Skiing Ólafsfjordur. They’ll take you in just a few minutes, up to the top of the mountain by helicopter and you’ll be able to ski, very likely all the way down to shore. Amazing!
Graphic Designer / Co-founder of UpNorth
Dagný is a travel and designer geek born and raised in North Iceland