8 AM and Reykjavik is lit up by the sunshine, the sky is a shade of blue which no computer or amount of Photoshop software could replicate.
What could be better than spending a Sunday afternoon skiing in Iceland?
Bláfjöll is a ski resort, south west of the capital city, Reykjavik. It has 14 lifts which combined total 15km of pure downhill skiing.
From Reykjavik it takes around 30 minutes to reach Bláfjöll, which means ‘Blue Mountains’. As my companions and I drove further up the mountain path, the bright white snow-capped peaks stand proud and tall in stark contrast to the blackened flat lava fields.
We parked the car and my cousin looked a little pale (more than usual) and was remarkably quiet! Having just informed me that he had not been skiing in over a decade, he anxiously looked up at the chair lift and towards the slopes.
I was excited; my tummy was fluttering and could not wait to get going. Upon entering the ski hire shop we were hit with a strong waft of stale smelling sweat. Having picked up my gear I began impatiently shoving my feet into the uncomfortable cumbersome ski boots then waddling over to collect my equally cumbersome skis.
After buying a day lift pass for a reasonable 3000 ISK which is 15.00 GBP. I made my way to the ski lift. Gaining height I began to feel the drop in temperature as every breath I inhaled got colder and colder around -4 degrees.
At the top of the lift I stood and admired the incredible view. A flat landscape that merges into the ocean with the occasional mountain that pops up from nowhere. The clouds hung low in the distance creating layers of white and blue.
It was not very busy and so I made my way towards the piste. With a huge smile on my face as I set off, the wind picked up my hair and I began to gain speed. The first run was all about remembering that I can ski and allowing my brain to tell my legs what to do. A sub-conscious muscle memory re-caps and then I was flying.
Fuelled by adrenalin I could not get back onto the lift quick enough. Up again I went, and again and again. The sound of whooshing down the mountain is one that I find to be truly euphoric.
After a couple of hours the leg burn started to kick in and the hired boots were beginning to misbehave as they crushed my calf muscles. The feeling of releasing my boots was like turning on a tap that had been blocked and then suddenly explodes with gushing water. The blood began to flow around my feet again as we sat in the café warming our bodies with a hot chocolate and cream (of course).
As the day moved on the weather had started to turn as clouds filled the sky everything looked began to look white, but we managed a couple more runs before retiring to the warmth of the car. Descending back down the mountains towards Reykjavik the warmth from the car made began to make my eyes heavy and I struggled to stay awake.
In true Icelandic fashion the only way to unwind is by immersing yourself in natural hot water, aka: a hot tub! We arrived at my cousin’s parent’s summer house and weightlessly floated in their hot tub with a glass of red wine; heaven I thought to myself.
Bláfjöll ski resort is open throughout the year dependant on the weather, but generally the season runs like any other resort in the Alps would, from November to April. Buses depart from Mjodd Bus Terminal when Bláfjöll ski resort is open. There is also a ski rental, and a skiing school that offers instruction on weekends.
If Bláfjöll is closed then do not fear, if you are an adrenalin junkie and fancy something a little more ‘extreme’ you can go Heli- Skiing in the Arctic Circle from late March through to June.
Heli-Skiing tours are operated by Bergmenn Mountain Guides on the ‘Troll Peninsula’ in Northern Iceland. Prices for a 4 day semi- private Heli- Skiing tour start at 5, 285 Euro and 7, 290 Euro for private tour per person.
Legend holds that Iceland’s last troll was killed in a cave there in 1764 by a farmer who was angry that the troll had stolen and eaten his cow.
Iceland has the largest glaciers in Europe. In total, about 11 percent of the country is covered by glaciers. More than 60 percent of the country is tundra which means ‘treeless mountain tract’ and is largely uninhabited.