All about Skiing in Iceland

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Iceland is famous for all sorts of things but at first glance skiing isn’t really one of them. It does not have the mega resorts of the Alps or the grandiose scale of the Canadian ski resorts. But this is not to say that skiing isn’t popular and relatively plentiful on the island. There is actually a very good dusting of slopes to shred right across the country. Skiing and snowboarding just happens on a quieter and more compact scale here in Iceland. The ski resorts are smaller and less crowded and they are often geographically quite close together.

Calm winter landscape with slope and ski sign. Skiing in Iceland.

For experts you can find many thrilling red and black runs in some incredible settings. There is also some seriously dramatic backcountry skiing to be had in North Iceland. Beginners and improvers will get to learn and practice on much less crowded pistes. Another plus is that the mountains here are not too high. Topping out at about 1000 meters above see level there is no need to worry about the challenges of altitude.

So should you visit Iceland for a ski trip?

It really comes down to what you are looking for in a holiday. If you like to mix up your skiing trips with sightseeing and off-piste activities then Iceland really comes into its own. Beyond the slopes you will find one of the most unique travel destinations in the world. The natural splendour of Iceland is simply mesmerising.

When not carving up the slopes you could be hiking up a volcano or taking a whale watching boat trip. You might find yourself soaking in a natural hot spring and gazing at the Northern Lights dancing across the sky. All good stand alone reasons to travel to Iceland in the first place. Other winter highlights include ice caving, 4x4 jeep adventures and snow mobile excursions.

So there is plenty to do off the slopes, but serious winter sports enthusiasts won’t go snow hungry. You can easily spend a good few weeks visiting the different ski areas of the north alone. And one thing is for sure this won’t be your average long weekend in the Alps!

The ski season and what to expect?

Skiing in Iceland is on a smaller scale to its distant European and North American neighbours. However the ski areas here are often quite close together. So it is easy enough to ski one resort in the morning and then drive twenty minutes or so to the next. The slopes are much quieter here in general too. So the greens and blues are ideal for learners to cruise and improve. They can take their time without worrying about strings of school children showing them up!