It’s time for the newest edition of the Summit Heliskiing Guide Spotlight! This guide has been called “one of the most likeable persons on the planet” by his clients, and we couldn’t agree more. So make yourself comfortable, grab a brew and take a moment to get to know the legend that is Jón Gauti.


Tell us a little bit about your background and guiding history

Skiing with family and friends was part of the upbringing. Unfortunately though, the bloody football got all my attention during a big part of my childhood!

During teenage years, however, I got into camping, which soon led to rock climbing, then ice-climbing and general mountaineering, which grabbed me entirely. At the age of nineteen I was totally involved in all kinds of mountaineering, joining forces with the Air Ground Rescue Association and the Icelandic Alpine Club. Totally obsessed with the outdoors, I found meaning in touring around the highlands and across glaciers in both cross country and telemark skis, and in climbing steep waterfalls and mountain faces. In 1996 I was introduced to guiding and since then a huge part of my life has revolved around instructing and guiding.

The first 15-20 years were all about telemarking for me, but when I started my ski-guiding career I switched to touring skis. In between adventures, I graduated from the University of Iceland as a nurse, wrote two textbooks on mountaineering, co-authored two photography books and was editor-in-chief of an outdoor magazine. For the last four years I’ve more or less quit guiding… except, of course, for Summit Heliskiing and few other projects.


What have you been up to during the summer?

This summer I stayed a lot in our house at Siglufjörður, where we normally stay during the skiing season. This time my wife and I wanted to experience the summer up north, where we spent the days mending the house but also hiking, trekking, mountain biking and fishing. Not to mention a trip to Norway visiting the new grand daughter!


What’s your favourite thing about being a heliski guide?

Heliski guiding offers me not only a great opportunity to get to remote peaks outside the normal ski touring range, but also the chance to ski as much in one season as I might in many years of touring! (That’s not to knock ski touring, which I like even more.) Last but not least, heliskiing during the long summer days, even close to midnight, and skiing down to sea level is incomparable…


Do you have a day that sticks out as being the most memorable as a guide? Tell us about it!

I recall twelve runs, an incredibly still, sunny day, with some great skiing conditions (and others not as great). That day we skied from the summit of two active volcanoes, seven inactive ones, and three glaciers, only stopping briefly at lunchtime for pizza at an airport on the nearby Westman Islands. We finished the day in a natural hot tub in the highlands before landing back in Reykjavik.


What do you like most about skiing in Iceland?

Despite having skied both in the Alps and some parts of Scandinavia, Iceland is still “home sweet home” – I enjoy it partly because here I know my territory. Besides that? I guess the remoteness and the possibility of skiing in the company of just a few good friends is incomparable.


Do you have a favourite ski run in the Troll Peninsula? Which one is it, and why do you like it so much?

That’s a tough one, especially since I can’t even answer the other popular question I so often get – “what’s your favourite place in Iceland?” And the reason is … the weather. That being said – I don’t even have a “favourite” weather! Of course skiing in nice powder on a sunny day (these two rarely go together) with good friends, is always a recipe for a great day. That said – sometimes it’s the opposite; tough technical approaches, a nice summit and emergency skiing to get down to safety is what makes the day perfect.


What would be your number one piece of advice for someone going heliskiing for the first time?

Relax and ski like normal, let the guide tune the terrain to your needs!


And there you have it – you can rest assured that you’re in capable hands skiing with Jón Gauti! We have limited availability for bookings this upcoming season, so get in touch today and get ready to hit some Icelandic slopes this spring!

Whilst you’re at it – don’t forget to hit that follow button and keep up with us over on Instagram: @SummitHeliskiing