Course Descriptions>Backcountry Skiing in Iceland

Backcountry Skiing in Iceland - Troll Peninsula
April 21 - 28, 2018
High Intermediate - Expert Skiing
$2900.00 all inclusive with Avalanche and Wilderness Medical Training

Trip Leader: Al Mandell (AMGA Ski Guide Trained) and/or Jon Tierney, IFMGA Mountain Guide

Join the AMG team in Iceland to ski world class backcountry terrain overlooking the Norwegian Sea. Our 2018 trip is based out of Siglufjordur on the northern tip of the Troll Peninsula. Here, in the land of the midnight sun, you will find endless opportunities to ski rarely skied lines that can even take you from summit to sea! The Troll Peninsula boasts a wide variety of terrain making it ideal for both strong intermediate and expert skiers who want to go off-piste. After a full day of touring, you can relax in geothermally heated baths and hot tubs. Includes avalanche training refresher, companion rescue and optional certification in Wilderness First Aid.

Why go?

  • Iceland delivers the perfect spring skiing experience
  • Days are long and the snow pack is reasonably stable allowing for big ski tours
  • Easy access for east coasters -> a short, inexpensive five hour flight from Boston or New York
  • Up to 3000' lines with spectacular views of the Arctic Ocean, beautiful fjords and big mountain alpine scenery
  • Provides an extremely “remote” mountain feeling full of big faces and steep couloirs
  • Jump into one of the world’s hottest fringe ski destinations with guides that have been there!


  • Includes 7 nights lodging, all breakfasts and dinners, all transfers from Akureyri airport and return
  • professionally guided by AMGA trained or certified ski guides
  • 4 x 4 van for remote access to terrain and rendezvous points
  • One day of heli assisted backcountry touring
  • Lodging in a private high-end home in the fishing village of Siglufjordur. Easy access to the goods, yet close to town for restaurants and an evening pint of Einstok Olgero, the local microbrew.
  • Ratio: maximum of 4 clients / guide
  • Plan your travel to arrive in Akureyri on April 21. (easy flights from Reykjavik or easy bus 3x daily)
  • All group and emergency gear provided.

Sample Itinerary - Featuring 6 days on your boards. Final itinerary is determined based upon conditions and skier skills.

4/21 - Day 1: Plan to arrive in Akureyri by 3:00 pm (1500 hrs). Easy flights from Reykjavik or a bus ride daily will get you there. Meet your guide(s) in Akureyri and drive about 90 minutes to our private guest house in Siglufjorodur(Siglu). Get out for a quick ski tour to stretch our legs and shake down gear then enjoy our first dinner in Siglu.

4/22 - Day 2: Gain the backcountry via the Siglu T-Bar to get the trip started. There are many opportunities for great skiing and wonderful tours.  Brush up on avalanche rescue skills and refine some fundamental ski touring skills.

4/23 - Day 3: Tour into the Karlsardalur valley and ski the many faces of the Karlsarfjall.

4/24 - Day 4 - Head to Olafsfjordur for some couloir skiing in the Ytradaiur valley. There are many great runs to work on your boot packing skills and couloir skiing skills.

4/25 - Day 5
: Possible heli bump to the Gljufurarjokull glacier where we will descend and ascend several valleys as we ski through the mountains back to the cars.

4/26-27 - Day 6 - 7: With so much terrain at our disposal we can choose the type of skiing people are interested in and go where the best snow is stashed.

4/28 - Day 8: Return to Akureyri for flights home.


Backcountry Skiing in Quebec - Chic Chocs, Parc de la Gaspesie.
Trip Leader(s): Dick Chasse, Al Mandell and/or Jon Tierney

Skiing in the Chic Chocs is a great place for the novice backcountry skier and the seasoned veteran a like. The variety of terrain coupled with the easy access makes for a great ski destination.  The quaintness of the Quebecois culture coupled with the remoteness really gives the Gaspe a unique feel. It’s where the mountains literally meet the sea.


Skiing in the Chic Chocs is a great place for the novice backcountry skier and the seasoned veteran a like. The variety of terrain coupled with the easy access makes for a great ski destination.  The quaintness of the Quebecois culture coupled with the remoteness really gives the Gaspe a unique feel. It’s where the mountains literally meet the sea.


Do you love the grandeur of winter landscapes? Are you looking for a feeling of total freedom? Are you craving the adrenaline rush that comes with mountain activities? Then, backcountry skiing and snowboarding are made for you. And the Chic-Choc Mountains, in the Gaspésie region in Eastern Canada, are a true paradise for these sports.

Blessed by the snow gods, the area gets an average snowfall of seven metres on the summits every winter. “There’s a special spirit here in the Chic-Chocs,” says Pascal Lévesque, director of Parc national de la Gaspésie. “The area has not been altered much by human activities, so outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a truly authentic backcountry experience.”

But first, let’s clarify some geographical terms. For skiers, the term Chic-Chocs refers to an area that includes the Chic-Choc Mountains as well as the McGerrigle Mountains and even beyond, all the way to Murdochville. This vast territory encompasses Parc national de la Gaspésie and the  Réserve faunique des Chic-Chocs.

Skiers and snowboarders are spoiled for choice when it comes to potential destinations for day trips. Those who prefer wide open spaces will like the vast snowfields in the Grande Cuve on Mt. Albert or on Mt. Vallières in Saint-Réal, where you get the feeling of a high mountain environment. Adrenaline seekers will have a blast zooming down the glades on Mt. Lyall or the steep couloirs of the Mur des Patrouilleurs, on Mt. Albert. “There are lots of possibilities all around in the Chic-Chocs, including several technical lines,” says Lévesque.

Beginners also have many options to choose from. Champs-de-Mars and Mt. Hog’s Back are great introductions to backcountry skiing, because of the relatively short approach. And when it comes to short approaches, Auberge de montagne des Chic-Chocs is hard to beat, because you can literally ski to the door of the lodge.

A little further east, in Murdochville, is Chic-Chac, a hostel that has quickly become an institution for local skiers and snowboarders. “The Chic-Chocs have remained a fairly well-kept secret,” says Guillaume Molaison, the owner of Chic-Chac. “And yet, the area stands out from most skiing destinations because of the exclusive access for skiers and the low numbers of people in the mountains.” Chic-Chac offers various catskiing packages, where skiers are taken back up the hill (again and again and again!) in a tracked vehicle, notably on the slopes of York Mountain, which are lined with platforms that are very popular with thrill seekers. It also offers guided backcountry ski trips in the Chic-Chocs, an interesting option for beginners.

The best time of the year to fully enjoy the Chic-Chocs’ powder is from January to March, while the months of March and April are perfect for touring or trips in areas requiring a longer approach, because of more stable snow, lower risk of avalanche and longer days. Actually, January in Gaspésie is generally milder than most people think. “The water mass of the St. Lawrence Estuary tempers weather conditions in the area in January,” explains Lévesque. And what if Mother Nature does not collaborate in the days leading up to your trip? “Even if the snow is hard-packed, there’s always a way to find variety because of the geography of the Chic-Chocs and the various orientations of the slopes.”

As with any outdoor activity, caution should be exercised during trips in the mountains of Gaspésie. Visitors must be self-sufficient and responsible for their own safety, all the more so because several zones are avalanche terrain. “When you venture in those areas, it’s important to have proper avalanche safety equipment with you, including a transceiver, a shovel and a probe,” adds Lévesque. It’s therefore advisable to find out about current avalanche conditions from the Avalanche Québec website.

There are so many vast expanses to explore in the Chic-Chocs. Visit the Sépaq and Chic-Chac websites to plan your next unforgettable winter adventure!


Day 1
Head out to Champs de Mars for some fun ski touring. This is a great warm up where we can refresh avalanche rescue skills and ski touring skills all while getting multiple laps in on some great terrain.
Day 2
Go to Mont Blanche-Lamontagne for a longer tour and some nice open skiing with great views of the Hog’s Back and Mont Albert.
The reward of great tree skiing is worth the longer approach into Mont Lyall. Some of the best glade skiing on the east coast.
Day 4
The Hog’s Back is a classic peak in the Gaspe. Nice open faces, some cool glades, and great long runs like the Grand Couloir give us many options to play.
Day 5
Depending on our legs  and snow we can do a variety of different tours. Exploring Mont Vallieres de St Real or heading back to Champ de Mars or the Hog’s Back are a great way wrap up the trip.


Katahdin Spring Ski Camp
Get psyched up for this trip watching the trailer for the Meathead Productions film Epoch. They shot the Katahdin footage on a trip there with our Ski and Alpine guides.


Katahdin Spring Ski Camp
Get psyched up for this trip watching the trailer for the Meathead Productions film Epoch. They shot the Katahdin footage on a trip there with our Ski and Alpine guides.
The Classic Haute Route Ski Mountaineering Tour
This traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt is the most classic traverse in the world and is the ultimate adventure for skilled alpine skiers. We cross spectacular scenery on the way to Zermatt, using modern ski transportation systems to gain elevation. We stay in cozy alpine club huts, eat the local food and experience the diversity of Europe’s culture.


Our ski traverse begins in Chamonix


Day 1: Meet in Chamonix France in early morning for a shake down ski. Board the Aiguille de Midi telepherique. Step of the tram, put on your crampons and descend a short ways to the start of one of the longest ski descents down the Vallee Blanch.

Day 2: Leaving from Argentiere, a short ways up Chamonix Valley the Grand Montets tram takes us high above the Argentiere Glacier. A short, steep ski down to the glacier sets us up for touring up to the Argentiere Hut to end the day.
Day 3: Argentiere Hut to Trient Hut

Day 4: Trient Hut to Prafleuri Hut

Day 5: Prafleuri Hut to Dix Hut

Day 6: Dix Hut to Vignettes Hut

Day 7: Vignettes Hut to Zermatt

Day 8: Alternate Day

Day 9: Travel from Zermatt to Geneva

Day 10: Travel Home

Berner Oberland Haute Route Ski Mountaineering Tour
This chain of mountains just got voted as one of the world natural wonders. This 5-day tour will leave you breathless. The three mountains Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau offer a fantastic panorama that you will remember for a lifetime. The tour is only for advanced ski or snowboard mountaineers. After a great train ride, which stops at the Eiger North Face windows, used to access climbs on the famous north face, we exit through a tunnel onto the biggest glacier in Western Europe. From there we will conquer one or two peaks a day, with steep skiing down to nice alpine huts, where we can rest our tired legs, eat and share the days adventures. The tour ends by skiing out to the green valley of Valais at the end of the week.

Crested Butte to Aspen Ski Mountaineering Tour
An awesome American experience using the legendary 10th Mountain Division Hut system. The tour starts in the historic, quaint town of Crested Butte, an untouched old mining town with a very nice atmosphere. Travel from hut to hut, skiing steep shoots and couloirs in the quietness of the Rockies. During this time of the year, the crowds have left the backcountry. You will have the pleasure of total solitude in the backcountry and the huts. You will also be pampered as we cater to your every need. The tour ends in the ghost town, Ashcroft, which offers a distinct contrast to Aspen, where we end the day with shopping and lunch.

The Forbidden Tour - North Cascades
The most classic ski mountaineering tour in the Lower 48! The steep valleys, wild glaciers, pristine countryside and requisite bushwhacking may just make this the most exciting adventure you can do in the United States. We stay in our tents and cook small meals, but the main focus is on the skiing: steep, with lots of big crevasses to navigate as well as good climbing and skiing. If you are very fit and feel like skiing you are in.


A History of
Leading the way...

Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School is the preeminent leader in climbing instruction and guiding in Acadia and across Maine. We specialize in designing customized experiences or training for you, your family or your group.

Directed by internationally recognized IFMGA guide Jon Tierney who has been climbing in Acadia since 1982. Jon has over 30 years of local and worldwide experience. The IFMGA requires full AMGA certification as a rock, alpine and ski mountaineering guide.

All AMGCS instructors are certified by either the AMGA or the PCIA and all guides have been trained or certified by the AMGA.

• Since 1994 •
AMGCS is one of 30 AMGA accredited programs in the US and was one of the earliest to achieve accreditation.

AMGCS is the only climbing school in Maine to remain continuously accredited by the AMGA for eighteen years - several years longer than any other local service. We have had one or more full time AMGA certified rock instructors or rock guides on staff each year since 1994 - sixteen years more than any other local school.

• Since 2007 •
AMGCS has the distinction of also being accredited to the highest standards of the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. The PCIA requires all staff to be individually trained and certified.

Experience the difference.
Reach your peak with Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School.



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