The most renowned sculpture in Reykjavík is the Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sólfar) by Jón Gunnar Árnason, a stainless steel sun ship that looks to the sea, representing the allure of undiscovered territory. The spirit of exploration and reverence for nature are key themes in the culture of Iceland, as well as our own culture here at Kitsbow. Our ambassador Weston Shirey, a professional guide at Western Spirit Cycling and protean outdoorsman extraordinaire, recounts a recent trip he made to this land of sweeping landscapes and untamed beauty.
On May 2nd, myself and 2 compadres met in Reykjavík to embark on a 16 day tour around Iceland. Our main objectives were to ski, photograph, and take in some true Icelandic culture.
We started our journey by cutting lines in the powder on Snæfellsjökull, a 700,000-year-old stratovolcano visible from Reykjavík. We visited Bjarnarhöfn, a shark museum where we indulged in Hákarl, a traditional Icelandic delicacy of fermented shark. Yes, it was as repulsive as it sounds.
From there we went north to Dalvík and Siglufjörður and skied the steep fjords which end at the local roads and villages. Runs were a consistent 3000ft of vert down to sea level. It was a skier’s dream. As we continued to the East, fjords continued to impress with amazing views and terrain.
Heading further south, we hiked around Jökulsárlón, a glacier lagoon with a dramatic expanse of every shade of blue against a white backdrop. We also checked out Svartifoss, a basalt laden waterfall surrounded by dark geometric lava columns. Of course we stopped at several volcanic black sand beaches, as well as the famous waterfalls Skógafoss, Kirkjufell, and Seljalandsfoss.
Continuing on, we arrived at a friend’s ranch where lambing season was in full swing. We helped birth a few baby lambs before trying our hand at trout fishing on their river. This season is a special event in Iceland and really gave me great insight into how the people of Iceland embrace nature and the land they live on.
The awe-inspiring landscapes are populated with all types of exotic animals. Along the way we made friends with native seals, puffins, reindeer, white tailed eagles, and Icelandic horses.
Nearing the end of our journey, we went out with a bang. We took Stella, a 6 wheel super jeep van, up Hekla, the most active volcano in Iceland. With the warm conditions Stella was bogged down, so we hopped on the snowmobile back-ups. We ripped and rallied all day on Hekla, doing snowmobile assisted ski laps through the lava fields. It was like a playground for big kids with big toys, and a lighthearted way to bid farewell to the landscape that had shown us so much beauty.
Iceland is a place we’ll never forget.
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