I was offered a chance to shoot at the Iceland Winter Games and jumped at the chance—even though I had ACL surgery a couple months back and would only be able to shoot photos. Unfortunately, I arrived in Iceland and found that they’ve been engulfed in a harsh winter and our week was a continuation of that trend. Bursts of great weather were interrupted by winds, snow and even a bit of rain.
My first view of the course at Hlíðarfjall ski resort, above the town of Akureyri, came during one of those breaks in the weather, after a long day on a bus tour of the five resorts of Northern Iceland. The resorts share a ski pass deal, poetically named the 5X5 pass, which offers, you guessed it, five days at any of the resorts. With a small field, even for an AFP Gold level event with a $25,000 prize purse, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as I rode the lift down from a meal at the mid-mountain lodge I saw the three rail features and three jumps and got excited for the contest.
A big storm was moving in though, so the event was moved forward by a day. That contest day dawned clear but windy and during training only a few of the skiers even attempted the two big jumps that had me so excited to shoot photos. After a meeting with the event organizers and athletes, it was decided that the event would run in the afternoon on the three rail features and only the smallest jump. Ultimately, the wind mellowed out and clouds rolled in, but the skiing went off and a victor was crowned: Siver Voll, a 19-year-old Norwegian who is now the two-time defending champion.
His run was sick for the conditions—front swap, pretzel 450 on the first rail; blind 450 off the second rail; switch lip 270 on the third; and on the jump he pulled out a smooth switch 1080 mute.
Not far behind were two Americans, Robbie Franco in second and Noah Wallace in third. Klaus Finne, another of the strong Norwegian contingent, just missed the podium in fourth with Americans Finn Kennedy and Freddy Brideweser in fifth and sixth respectively.
Enjoy the photos and check back for more info on skiing in Northern Iceland.
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