Hi! It’s great to see you back. Today we’re introducing Guðmundur Arnar, who joined the Summit team in 2023. Our collaboration actually began with Arnar guiding the first ever Sea to Summit ski touring expedition in Hornstrandir with our sister company Sóti Summits. By all accounts it was a brilliant trip, and long may the adventures continue!
So without further ado, let’s get to know Guðmundur Arnar!
Tell us a little bit about your background and guiding history
My background is from skiing and Search and Rescue (SAR). I was a ski racer from age of 10-16, then joined SAR at 17 years old and am still active.
I have guided hiking trips on peaks all over Iceland, both on and off glaciers, and backcountry ski trips around the country as well.
When I was 12 I got my first mountain bike and have been riding since and loving it, so I’ve also guided some multi day mountain bike trips in the highlands.
I also occasionally work on big film projects – mostly involving safety on glaciers and fall prevention near heights.
What have you been up to during the summer?
This summer I hiked quite a bit. Mainly day trips, to beautiful places like Laxárgljúfur and Grænihryggur. I’ve also been slowly getting back into rock climbing after a long break, so I went climbing a fair bit. Mostly in Stardalur, Norðurfjörður but also in the US!
What’s your favourite thing about being a heliski guide?
Being a heli ski guide allows you to explore and learn in detail the beautiful area around Sóti. Also being part of the talented crew that Sóti has makes it fun.
Do you have a day that sticks out as being the most memorable as a guide? Tell us about it!
Last winter I guided a ski backcountry group for a few days in Eyjafjörður and the Troll peninsula. The conditions were tough. It was early winter. The choice of mountains were conservative, often in no visibility.
On the last day, we aimed for Jökulkollur. Slowly during the day the weather improved, and when we stood at the top the weather cleared with amazing views. Since the weather was so great another peak was visited, Karlsárfjall. The ski run east towards the ocean was one of the best. Great snow and overlooking Eyjafjörður and vicinity. The guests were impressed by the ocean view while skiing. It was a nice ending to a challenging week.
What do you like most about skiing in Iceland?
My favorite time of the year is the spring – its the best time for skiing as well. Days are long with midnight sun, the weather is stable and there’s plenty of snow. Birds are singing. Snow conditions are often great with corn snow.
Do you have a favourite ski run in the Troll Peninsula? Which one is it, and why do you like it so much?
My favorite ski runs would be from Hvanndalabyrða peak in Héðinsfjörður – both towards west and east.
The view towards the west is unmatched. Skiing towards Héðinsfjörður down to the ocean, with the north Atlantic spread out and the cliffs in Hesturinn ahead of you.
Skiing east down to Hvanndalir – there is quite a bit of history involved in this place. And how hard it must have been living in Hvanndalir. The last person to live there moved away in 1896, and the land was bought by the local authorities to ensure that no one would live there anymore.
Iceland’s deadliest airplane crash also happened here in Héðinsfjördur.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone going heliskiing for the first time?
If you have the opportunity, practice skiing off piste – in safe surroundings of course. Preferably by doing repetitive ski touring. You get a better feeling for the snow and gain confidence skiing in it.
Don’t forget to breathe, relax and enjoy the views.
So there you have it! If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the history of Hvanndalir (or just want to ski some awesome lines with awesome views), drop us a line for more information. We’ve still got some availability for 2024, but seats are filling fast – get yours before they go!