Like all great explorations, this one began on a whim.“Siggi has given us Aurora in March to help bring the 60ft sailboat to Greenland and scout for future ski trips!” I received the message one sunny September afternoon from my friend and long-time ski-partner, Camilla Edwards. We assembled our crew; dusted off our skis, and set out to sail from Iceland to Greenland in search of boat access backcountry lines. Turns out... a little more than 24 feet swells awaited us on this arctic inspired ski trip during a global pandemic.
Sigurdur Jonsson “Siggi” has skippered the sailing vessel Aurora out of a small port in the western fjords of Iceland since 2006. He has dedicated ample amounts of time into developing some of the most unique adventures in the world. Having worked in Iceland the past 5 years for various ski and adventure operations, I knew Siggi and always admired the generous part he played in developing the ski community.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
The plan seemed too good to be true. Aurora-Arktika would provide a private charter at a fraction of normal operating cost. In exchange, we would depart from Iceland to set the tone for future expeditions, exploring and mapping remote fjords for ski potential along the southern coast of Greenland. Our group of hand-selected backcountry partners and creatives would simultaneously build a collection of assets for Aurora-Arktika to market and run future, client-based ski trips.
A core group of individuals quickly established. I was absolutely delighted my 4FRNT team member and SKIDA Founder Corinne Prevot was available and pumped on the adventure. Our minds ran wild with ways to come up with the remaining funding needed to cover the trip costs. It was a rare opportunity to cross the barrier of a traditional "company-client" relationship and involve like-minded brands in emerging exploration. Specifically, we aimed to create a trip that would support local resources, showcase the beauty of the arctic landscape and importantly, look for opportunities to develop and involve the local ski community. We called up 4FRNT who immediately jumped on-board.
Months of emailing and planning at our backs, the dream began to unfold. I met a few of the girls in Keflavik and we began our drive north. We immediately careened off to a rocky start. Literally careened. Traveling north to our port of departure in a severe snowstorm, we (as in I), plowed the rental into a mean snow bank. After hours of digging and a night spent on the couches of a deserted hotel, I felt happily reaffirmed that my companions, Ilka, Marie and Flo, were made for this trip.
Our group arrived at the port of Isafjordur, Iceland on March 7th 2020. With a relentless weather forecast and the East-Greenland ice shelf moving to obliterate our tiny fiberglass sailboat on her proposed course, we made the most of a few weather days.
Avalanche and crevasse rescue skills refreshed, a run under our skis and a few joy rides around town, our skipper, Hayat, announced a slim departure window. Packed to the brim with gear, food and supplies and eight adventurous ladies, the SV Aurora left port on Friday, March 13th 2020. Though we could all foresee the rough and stormy sea's that would preface our ski expedition to Greenland, nothing could prepare us for the storms brewing in the world beyond…
Words by Keree Smith
Video by Anne Cleary
Photos by Mary McIntyre