Posts tagged travel


Jess McMillan takes it all in. Photo by Mike Arzt

Words by Jess McMillan

The last three days in Iceland have been incredible. Nestled into the Skier’s Valley is Artic Heli Skiing’s home base. Peaks rise up to 4,000 vertical feet in a 360-degree view that is breathetaking.

True to its namesake (Niceland), Iceland is home to some of the most kind people I have ever met. And they have a great sense of humor. For example, we were having lunch in Olsfiorder and one of the newscasters was doing the news, on camera, in his underwear. I think he was trying to make the point that it was a nice, warm day in Iceland. Point taken.

A warm day in Iceland isn’t that warm. The average high is 55 degrees in the summer. On the flip side, it’s not as cold as I had expected. The winter temperatures average around 30 degrees.

We’ve had just a taste of the skiing so far, which definitely left us wanting more. Every direction I look there is a beautiful peak, waiting to be skied.

Most of the slopes are 35-55 degrees and average 2,000-3,000 vertical feet. Iceland may be famous for its corn skiing, but I can attest that the powder skiing is as good as it get as well.

I came to Iceland to ski, but skiing is not the only thing there is to do on the island. In the last three days I have been surfing, seen waterfalls, walked through volcanoes, stood in a light house, rode a horse, and experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life. We even got to see the Aurora Borealis (see below). 

And that is just touching the surface (the tip of the iceberg) of what there is to do and see in this magnificent place.

[After the jump there are some photo contributions from Sierra Quitiquit as well!]

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By: “Captain” Grant Burrow

Ping…Ping…Clank…Ping…Clank.  This is what I hear every morning around 4:30am on the ‘Ring of Fire’ Volcano Tour.  My eyes slowly open; I can smell the coffee brewing and sense the stoked atmosphere inside the Spyder Land Yacht from Team Volcano Tour as they prepare to climb and ski yet another volcano. 

This is a volcano tour – an attempt to ski seventeen volcanoes throughout the Pacific Northwest during the month of May. But this is much more then a ski trip – it truly is a journey (and a mostly unscripted journey at that). Beyond the team’s stated priorities of meeting local skiers and mountaineers, partaking in local activities, and, well, climbing and skiing a ton of vertical feet, it’s an open book.

For those of you who have been following our blog, you know about the team’s experiences on the mountain.  As the ‘Captain’ of the Land Yacht, I have a unique perspective of this journey.  As ‘Captain’ – and we’re going to use a more expansive definition than a mere driver here – I spend my days holding down the fort as the cleaning crew, the cook, the jester, the DJ, the maintenance tech, and as the navigator. I’m a one-man army up in here.

 My day starts when the team rises (no soundproof walls in the Land Yacht). After a quick bite to eat, I watch them exit the rig and then disappear into the woods or up a trail. Then what? I turn into the cleaning machine. For me, a clean home is a happy home!  I tie up my apron, put on my rubber gloves, and get to work.  I vacuum, do the dishes, set out our “outdoor patio” (artificial grass and lawn chairs – yep, as hilarious as it sounds), and then prep food items for brunch for when the team returns.

(Post is continued after the jump.)

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