I sat down here at my desk hours ago with the task of writing about Iceland, what makes it so special to me, and why I return every spring like a bird migrating home. Now, the hours have passed and I struggle to find the words. How does one describe a dream? Does this magic land in the North Atlantic even exist, or does it just live in my mind like Never Never land?
This spring I returned to the West Fjords for the 3rd year in a row with the standard checklist of skiing couloirs to the ocean, finding a Scandinavian wife, and skiing in the most remote part of the Iceland called the Hornstrandir. I traveled over with an epic team consisting of skier Mckenna Peterson, photographer Mike Schirf, and videographer Matt Hardy. We had a few different projects to work on, so our itinerary was packed, and it was pretty much a sprint for 2 weeks to get everything done. I wanted to create a video that showed off all things I love about Iceland right down to the sound. The music I picked for this video comes from Rythmatik, a band from the small town of Sudureyri in the West Fjords. I watched them perform at an Easter concert (thats a whole other story) a couple years ago, and was floored by their passion, amazing sweaters, and Icelandic sound. As far as the skiing component goes, we sought out waterfalls, strips of snow that cut through rocks and resemble zebra stripes, and that amazing Icelandic corn we call Creme Brûlée. The team was also very patient with me as I worked out my complete obsession with a mountain that I had failed to summit the year prior. The mountain named Skessuhorn, the “Icelandic Matterhorn” is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen, jutting 3,000 feet out of the ocean. I spent 2 days of the trip battling North Atlantic weather for a chance to summit and ski, eventually getting the opportunity just before sunset on the last day of the trip!
There is corn skiing and fjords a lot of places on this earth. So what makes Iceland so special? The island radiates an undeniable energy thats powerful and intense, and at the same time lighthearted and quirky. The energy nests itself in everything around, especially in its people, and if you have ever met an Icelander you know what I mean. It is not uncommon to be listening to a story about fairies and elves from a 200 pound viking that could rip your head off in a second if he decided to stop being so damn cuddly. Icelanders are the best story tellers in the world, you literally can't ask for directions without hearing an epic mythical tale. Everything is rooted in legend, and everything is the way it is because of some obscure Icelandic Saga. So what makes Iceland so special to me? All that, and the skiing totally kicks ass!