Next day, we had to address a tedious skin issue with a guest and then we were off to Tunnel Town for some corn harvesting. Oh $hit, snow did not soften up as expected.  I suspect this was due to the narrowness of the fiord trapping colder air. We bailed halfway up our first ascent and practiced edging skills on the descent.  Option B was in order - lift assisted at the Sigli ski area with their fun wind proofed surface lifts.  It was still a bit crusty above 400 meters but very manageable with good skiing overlooking the Arctic Ocean.  I did have some disagreement regarding one of the ascent route choices but we agreed to disagree and it went well.  Fine corn skiing was had on south aspects on steep aspects.

With the bomber snowpack, we were skiing on steeper terrain. One thing I did pencil in my notes was my worry about getting complacent on steep terrain for this and future trips.

Mark P. Renson


On Sunday, October 23, 2022 at 05:52:49 PM EDT, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Next day ...... temps were warming in the present and in the forecast. We wanted to get the guests the experience of that big 42 degree couloir overlooking the fiord. This would include ice axe and crampon work, albeit easy work. Hence the 2nd day was to be the day as we risked having the couloir turn to glop with the warmth.

Once again, my skin track was a little too steep hence I still have to dial things back a bit.  We transitioned to ice axe and cramps and I assisted the 19 year old son with putting on crampons and getting him dialed into it.  We went 1-at-a-time at the steep rollover to avoid having too much weight pounding on it.  Great corn skiing was had!

Later that night the 19 year old kid sat down with me at the table and had a long discussion.  It was his first time booting (skis on pack, ascend on foot) and says the day "was one of his best experiences ever".  I then gave him much advice and showed him some important books such as Amazon.com: Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert Series) eBook : Wheeler, Margaret, Volken, Martin, Schell, Scott: Kindle Store

I totally forgot about this experience for me until I just went through my notes.  Maybe I'm not too much of a $hithead after all. It feels good.


Mark P. Renson


On Sunday, October 23, 2022 at 05:30:48 PM EDT, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


The first group presented challenges for me and it was one of the best things to ever happen to me! :)

Next we got a new group of 5 - a mom and her son, 2 younger guys and a Stowe skier.  Rob from the office and recent Pro 1 Avalanche grad joined us with Riley. I was to demo for him to set examples.  For our first day, we were to keep it mellow as our group just got in from a long trip and unknowns of the group. One member had some unfamiliarity with some gear which was overcome.

First day was fun. We took a different route to a summit we did the prior week and in limited visibility found the summit - Gaia has become an invaluable tool for me.  Great corn skiing was had on slopes up to 30 degrees. One guest had a ski get away and run into a stream which presented some challenges. I learned that I should help people manage their transitions with some vigilance per my notes.  Per my notes though, I also scribbled "Group was well managed for a first day. Nobody gassed and satisfaction high". 


Mark P. Renson


On Friday, October 21, 2022 at 07:03:43 PM EDT, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


The next day, we dropped our guests off at the airport in Akureyri. 

Later on, trip leader Al and I had a long discussion about guiding and the challenges I had doing it with the group. Many blisters had to be addressed and that did not stop this group. This is common on big trips like this. As IFMGA guide Mark Synnott once said, people seemingly go on these trips to kill themselves.  

I was told to dial things back a bit and make things easier. Apparently, I have been influenced by some very tough difficult people who have taught me some great things but are not for everyone hence I have to cool it. I was reminded that these people are on vacation.  

I penciled in many notes during these talks and while it was sobering it was also enlightening. I did many great things and am positioned to do even better now.

It was all draining and afterwards I sat in my room for about 5 minutes thousands of miles from home in an Arctic foreign country, I felt like the World's loneliest person as I stared at the wall ...... until the geothermal hot tub opened up and it had come time for a tasty hazy IPA and a hearty meal of fresh caught Atlantic Salmon.  Then all was well. This is how ya' roll in Iceland. 


Mark P. Renson


On Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 07:38:32 PM EDT, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Hooray surface lifts! They're fun. We got 'em at Waterville. Let's see ...... 2 Pomas, a shiny new T-Bar at the summit (brilliant move) and a Magic Carpet which replaced a J-Bar which almost everyone got in an uproar about.

We rode a T-Bar, and slapped on our skins heading for a distant bowl.  All went well until we reached breakable crust at 2500 feet hence we cut our ascent just short of the summit. I deployed a falling leaf to get through the difficult snow but after that it was clear sailing.on some corn and hot pow.  We got another ride on 2 T-Bars (yes, we had passes) and then ascended more and traversed to a massive bowl overlooking the ocean into the Arctic just below the Arctic Circle.  Outstanding skiing was had and then we finished off the end of the day with a huge corngasmic run back down to the base.

Look hard and you can see the ski area. The massive bowl overlooking the Arctic is hidden and the other side and to the right of that pyramid shaped mountain in the middle.

 

Mark P. Renson


On Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 08:04:46 AM EDT, Mark P. Renson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Looking at my notes from Day 6, my Group Check In has under it items such as some physical issues, blisters, skin issues, gear problem and some fatigue among other things.  But they hung in there.

For Day 7, I see in my notes for Group Check In: "More group fatigue" and "I have been lauded for group management". Perhaps I'm only remembering the challenges and not the compliments ...... :) 

Part of my apprenticeship is to learn variations on backcountry skiing. Sometimes ya' gotta' "cheat" a bit and use a lift or even get a "heli-bump" (stay tuned for the latter).  For the last day we went to Sigli which is short for Siglufjörður. Yes, there is lift served skiing to be had there. This place has 1470 feet of verts with 4 T-Bars and accessible backcountry that is off the charts. 

Here is the base area. Three structures - sorta' - that includes latrines, hot dogs & beer/soda and a ticket office. I think there is another small building elsewhere, too.00 It appears that they don't even have a patrol. They do have a webcam: http://vedur.skardsdalur.is/cam1.jpg Wow,it looks like it is almost ready to go! 






Mark P. Renson

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