Northern lights, snow, frozen waterfalls. There are many reasons to enjoy Iceland in wintertime. For locals, one reason stands out: skiing. Even though Iceland doesn’t have high mountains like Switzerland, it is a ski paradise – if you know where to go. Don’t worry, we will tell you! And good news for beginners, there are almost no trees. Happy skiing!
Bláfjöll is a popular ski area, conveniently situated just half an hour outside of Reykjavík. It’s the largest ski resort in Iceland, with runs of varying difficulty levels covering a total of 15 kilometres. The slopes are wide and well-maintained. The longest is 2.5 kilometres and has an elevation difference of 240 metres. The most difficult is 700 metres long and has an elevation difference of 200 metres. A ski rental and a ski school are located on-site. Depending on the weather and snow conditions, the season runs from January through May. Keep an eye on Bláfjöll’s website to follow regular updates about opening times!
Opening hours (subject to change due to weather and snow conditions): weekdays from 14:00 till 21:00 and weekends from 10:00 till 17:00. Have a look at their website for entrance fees and weather updates: Bláfjöll Ski Resort
In North Iceland lies Hlíðarfjall, Akureyri’s top-notch ski resort. It’s located just a few kilometres outside of town, with breathtaking views over the fjord Eyjafjörður. Using natural snow and snow machines, the resort prides itself on its high-quality snow. Floodlit slopes guarantee skiing in the dark winter months, and ski and snowboard lessons are offered onsite. It has 30 slopes in total, and elevation levels differ between 500 and 1000 metres above sea level. It’s open from December to April, making it the most popular destination for winter getaways.
Opening hours are variable over the season and depend heavily on the weather. Have a look at their website for current opening times and entrance fees: Hlíðarfjall Ski Resort
Iceland has a lot to offer for cross-country skiing enthusiasts. Both Bláfjöll and Hlíðarfjall offer several cross-country tracks. However, the best trail runs through Landmannalaugar. This highland region is famous for the well-trodden Laugavegur hiking trail. Less travelled in winter, a journey through these rugged hills will take you past black, desolate lava fields and steamy geothermal springs. The hot river flowing through the area ensures that it’s the perfect location for winding down after a long day in the snow.
Heli-skiing is rapidly gaining popularity in Iceland. The best spot for heli-skiing is the Trollaskagi peninsula, in North Iceland. Different companies offer adventure skiing tours there, ranging from two to seven days. The peninsula is 4000 square kilometres and contains descents of up to 1500 metres. It’s home to long and exciting trails, starting at mountain peaks and heading all the way down to the sea shore. Hidden crevasses and open glacial surfaces provide challenges for all kinds of skiers. The season runs from February through the end of June. Perfect for skiing under the midnight sun in summer, and enjoying the northern lights in winter!