Onundarfjordur has some of the best skiing in the Westfjords. The area is known for heavy snowfall so one should be able to ski from November until June - or even July. For some moderate skiing, the area around Korpudalur or Kirkjubol are ideal for touring. But for some quick steep turns the most straight forward line is simply right above the town of Flateyri. And that's what we did one evening last week.
Skies were grey when we approached Flateyri to do some skiing. The person writing this text even commented something like: “I don’t feel like going skiing”. Of course it was temporary mood and as soon as the skis were on the snow we all felt excited and motivated.
The aim was to skin and bootpack up the big gully above the town and then ski down the smaller gully to the right. The ascent started with easy skinning. Soon it was whiteout and it got considerably steeper.
Skis were taken off and strapped on our backpacks. 50 meters below the summit skies cleared up and sun came through. All the work was worth it.
Jay, the sailor that has been living on his sailboat for 12 years, was surprised to see that the top of our mountains are completely flat. "You could play football up here!".
The ski down was rather hard on the top section but turned into nice and fluffy powder in the lower part. We skied through little trees and all the way to the car. As one can see, the trip left a big smile on everyone's faces.
Download the GPS track of the route here.
Back in her homeland Costa Rica, the 8 year old Luna was used to go to school on a horse back. After sailing with her family on a small sailboat to the US, driving across it in a lime green WV Kombi and then setting sail again even further north to Iceland, she was stoked to finally see horses again. As soon as the car stopped she ran off to greet them. True adventure kid.
This is Gudmundur Bjornsson from Holmavik and his 29 year old Suzuki Fox. "It never fails me. It goes where the big trucks can't go. I've driven over Drangajokull glacier many times, that's a beautiful drive."
The only problem he has had with his Suzuki was with mice: "They somehow climb up and into the hood, then they bite the cables and hoses" says Gudmundur.
Every Westfjordian has heard of the legendary Pollurinn - "The Puddle" - hot spring in Talknafjordur. Arsaell Nielsson, one of the locals, describes Pollurinn as the heart of the community: "It's the main meeting place, it's where the locals get together, exchange opinions and solve the world's problems. There is no generation gap, everyone is welcome, young and old go there and discuss like equals".
We came into town and asked the smiling lady working at the shop how to find it. "Drive through town and along the fjord for a few minutes. The hot spring will be on your right. If you see an old church then you've driven too far.". With that information in mind we drove on through the snow, along the fjord until we noticed steam coming up on the right side of the road. This was it.
There is a little hut with changing rooms and outside shower. Three different pools of different temperatures, all with a view of ocean and mountains. Endless flow of hot water streaming through them secures that it's always nice and clean. What can possibly be a better way to relax during a road trip through the Westfjords?
The Westfjords are off the beaten track and Iceland's least visited region. It's full of history and hardy people, people that don't call everyone their grandma, as we say in Iceland. The region is also the perfect giant playground for active people that like to be outside and explore.
We like to believe these are the best fjords of Iceland.
This blog is a part of a year-long project dedicated to explore and document personal stories, adventures and places in the Westfjords. We will introduce local farmers, musicians, craftsmen and fishermen, outdoors people and shop workers - and hear from them why they choose to live in the Westfjords. We'll hike trails less travelled and attend festivals and events. And we'll tell you all about it.
The project is owned by the Visit Westfjords marketing agency and mostly funded by the local Development Fund. Haukur Sigurdsson is running the project, makes pictures and creates videos. Haukur is a visual anthropologist with years of experience from adventure tourism in the region. Diana Johannsdottir and Birna Jonasdottir are the magic women behind the scenes making sure that everything works as it should.
We hope to inspire local people and guests alike by showing what sort of a community the Westfjords really are. We're social and we'd like to hear from you. Be in touch via Facebook or Instagram; @visitwestfjords