Welcome to the hidden gem of the North. Ólafsfjörður sits in the Eyjafjörður fjord an hours drive from the biggest town in the North of Iceland, Akureyri. It is a small, unspoilt fishing settlement that’s fast becoming an outdoor enthusiast‘s dream come true. Ólafsfjörður was connected with a ‘road’ for the first time in 1940, when the horse riding trail through Lágheiði was improved enabling cars to get over the heath. Before, ships, seaplanes, and horses provided the transport. The population isn’t far off 1,000 people (officially recorded at 824 in 2011).
Fishing is still the main industry in the town and several fishing trawlers make their home in the town‘s harbour, although tourism is becoming more and more important for the local economy. There are a handful of heli-skiing operations working in the area and these base themselves in surrounding lodges and cabins.
It is still so remote, however, that if you just turn up to ski on your own or in a group, there is very little information on where to go. But that’s what we liked the most.
Skiing around Olafsfjordur. We spent most days setting off with the car and driving to a nearby spot along the highways, pulling up and skinning from the car to nearby peaks. We found vertical descents of around 1500m, with no one else in sight. A paradise for skiers and mountaineers.
There are no websites with information on ski routes. There are no guide books. It’s the complete opposite to Chamonix, where you can find detailed guides and accounts of all the routes. The only thing we relied on was a topo map and our local friends’ recommendations. It was a raw experience and it was awesome!
A big thanks to Bjorn and Gunnlaugh for letting us stay in your amazing apartment and for all the local knowledge and a big party night in Akureyri! Also thanks to Magnus and Bryndis for just being awesome and joining us whenever you could around your busy schedules. There’s a reason you guys are in high demand. You guys are the best!
Biggest thanks goes to Dan and Adam who made the trip what it was and it was epic. You guys rock. Some advice for both of you though.. Adam, make less coffee and Dan, drive into snowfields less!