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Arnaldur & Olafia

Skiing in Iceland

Arnaldur & Olafia

Skiing in Iceland

Iceland‘s dark winter season brings the inevitable return of chaotic wind and numbing snowstorms. In a matter of minutes, clear skies can transform into a world of ice and road closures. Yet, when the weather breaks, Icelanders rush to the slopes.

We headed to the Bláfjöll ski resort with the face of our recent winter campaign model Arnaldur Karl Einarsson and his sister Ólafía Elísabet Einarsdóttir, both Icelandic ski champions from a young age.

The siblings have been skiing the mountain since they first learned to walk. They reminisced on the days of battling relentless weather extremes just to carry on with their training, and how to thrive while skiing amidst the winter elements of the North.

Just 25 minutes outside of Reykjavik, Bláfjöll or the ´Blue Mountains´ is one of just a handful of locations with functioning ski lifts around the country. Though tiny in size compared to its European counterparts, Bláfjöll makes it‘s presence known by the challenging conditions it throws at skiers and lift workers. The wind up there can be so relentless that it pushes you backwards up the slope, though that does give you more time to enjoy the short ride down.

As far back as their memory serves, Arnaldur and Ólafía recall the countless training sessions under the guidance of their parents, both experienced ski instructors at Bláfjöll.

No matter the weather, their close family bond and dedication to the sport has seen them make the trip up to the mountain at every possible chance. This quickly developed into a competitive drive that led both siblings to begin competing at a young age.  

”I’ve been ski racing as far back as I remember. I’ve probably spent more time up on Bláfjöll than at my own house”

Skiing in Iceland is full of quirks. With just a few hours of daylight and plaguing storms, ski days are dark and few and far between. Most skiing at Bláfjöll is done under artificial lighting to combat the lack of sun, it really is a matter of making the most fun out of the difficult conditions. Having the right clothing is essential.

Arnaldur wearing Snaefell Neoshell Jacket, Hornstrandir Gore-Tex Bibs and Langjokull mittens.
Read more about layering for skiing in our guide.

”Iceland is by nature very unpredictable when it comes to the weather.”

Arnaldur and Ólafía have both achieved the champion position several times on the Icelandic ski circuit. Often they‘d have to travel to Akureyri to get access to more snow, a five-hour drive north. With an intensive training schedule, Arnaldur reminisced on a year where they made the trip almost every week for a whole season. With the constant concern of dark icy mountain passes and blowing snow on the way, this can quickly become a stressful commute, but as most things go in Iceland, things usually always work out in the end.

”In the mountains you learn quick that there´s nothing worse than being poorly dressed. There can be bright sun one minute and a snowstorm the next. This is why it’s so important to have good clothing and even some extra layers packed just in case things take a sudden turn.”

See our ski layering guide for inspiration on what to wear.

Featured styles - Women's

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Raguel

Hornstrandir 66.45°N

“I came here first in 1994, the year I was born, and returned nearly every summer since then,” says Raguel, whose forefathers lived in Hornstrandir for generations. His grandmother was born and raised there but moved with her parents and eight siblings as the community in Hornstrandir was beginning to fade away.

Some of the families that left never returned — they left the life they knew behind and left their houses to ruin and eventual collapse. Others have returned to their homes every summer, allowing the next generations, including Raguel, to experience life at the edge of the world.⁠

IVAR PETUR KJARTANSSON

Full-time musician, part-time snowboarder

“The only thing I think about are snowboards. Even when I’m playing music. My snowboarding talents, however, did not come as naturally as the music and that is why I’m still involved in music, it pays the bills.”

Raguel

Hornstrandir 66.45°N

“I came here first in 1994, the year I was born, and returned nearly every summer since then,” says Raguel, whose forefathers lived in Hornstrandir for generations. His grandmother was born and raised there but moved with her parents and eight siblings as the community in Hornstrandir was beginning to fade away.

Some of the families that left never returned — they left the life they knew behind and left their houses to ruin and eventual collapse. Others have returned to their homes every summer, allowing the next generations, including Raguel, to experience life at the edge of the world.⁠

Ivar Petur

Full-time musician, part-time snowboarder

“The only thing I think about are snowboards. Even when I’m playing music. My snowboarding talents, however, did not come as naturally as the music and that is why I’m still involved in music, it pays the bills.”

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