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Iceland 2018 Trip

AXCS Trip Plans and Updates....

This page was last updated on July 25, 2017.

The Fossavatnsgangan (also known as the Fossavatn Ski Marathon or Fossavatn Loppet) is the annual Icelandic Worldloppet event scheduled over the last week of April each year. The Fossavatn is notable as the very last major Nordic-only ski event on the Northern Hemisphere calendar every spring. Because of the relatively early MWC2018 event hosted in Minneapolis, this year only AXCS has a (very) rare chance to offer membership a special AXCS-organized trip to this bucket list event. In addition to current AXCS membership, a requirement on this trip that every participant also takes part in the Minneapolis MWC2018 in some impactful way (racer, volunteer, official).

Official Fossavatnsgangan Event Website: http://www.fossavatn.com/en

AXCS Travel Package & Basic Trip Plan -- week of April 23-29, 2018
(Note: arrival & departure dates are very flexible).

Sign Up & Deposit Instructions Here: http://www.xcskiworld.com/iceland-2018-sign

Organization:
For this particular trip, AXCS is partnering with local tour operator Wild West Fjords to arrange the required travel pieces. As with all Masters World Cup trips run by AXCS, National Director J.D. Downing << jd at xcskiworld dot com >> will be your primary contact for all trip arrangements and J.D. also plans to go on the trip to provide additional organizational support as needed. As always, AXCS aims to only cover necessary association expenses to keep your costs as low as possible.

Included in the AXCS Basic Travel Package:
— 5 nights lodging and breakfast in Isafjordur (arrival Tuesday, 24 April — departure Sunday, 29 April);
— transport on BOTH Tuesday, 24 April and Sunday, 29 April to/from Reykjavik and Isafjordur (your choice of bus or domestic flights each direction);
— guided one-way tour as part of the April 29th Isafjordur-Reykjavik ground transport journey (7-8 hours);
COST: 170000 ISK per person in a twin/double hotel room or shared apartment -- OR -- 220000 ISK in a single hotel.

Cost Notes: As of mid-July, currency exchange would put these prices at roughly $1600 per person double and $2100 single. Prices are subject to small adjustments (up or down) so that AXCS can match fixed association costs to size of trip.

Added Nights In Reykjavik:
AXCS has researched pricing with both local tour operators and what you can find on-line. Generally we can save money by booking our own hotel rooms for any added nights in Reykjavik vs. going through a tour operator. HOWEVER, a very important item (also listed below under arrival and departure planning) is that we need USA skiers to stay in the same hotel (or at least very close by) so that ground or air shuttle transport on the 24th and 29th will be logistically sensible. AXCS will soon have recommendations on Reykjavik hotel(s) that will fit our needs. Generally on-line searches are showing roughly $190-220 per night for a single or double rate including breakfast at 3-star city hotels.

Tours You Can Add-On In Isafjordur:

Dynjandi Waterfall & The Westfjords Tour -- special 5-6 hour version....16000 ISK (roughly $150) per person.

Isafjordur Bay Kayak -- special 3-4 hour version including waffles at Litlibaer turfhouse....12000 ISK (roughly $115) per person.

Isafjordur Culture Walk -- 1.5-2 hour walking tour of town....6000 ISK (roughly $60) per person.

Tours You Can Add-On In Reykjavik:
There are multiple options for day tours and other adventures out of Reykjavik that are best researched via the various tour companies. https://www.wildwestfjords.com/day_tours/ is the outfit that AXCS will partner with for the ski region trip elements, but is only one of several outfits in Reykjavik. You can find more options doing a little on-line search.

International Air Tickets & Arrival Plans

All AXCS members will need to set up your own international flights. You want to fly in/out of Reykjavik (pretty much no other option). We are already into the time window where you can buy international tickets at any time to the end of April 2018. So if you are 100% sure about this trip and want to lock in air tickets -- feel free to book your flights. A quick web search shows that nationwide tickets from typical USA skier gateway airports to Reykjavik (KEF) are currently in the $600-900 range.

If you require help with air tickets, the AXCS recommended travel agent is Diana Lynn Rau (866.759.6867).

AXCS encourages everyone to fly into Reykjavik no later than the early morning of Tuesday, April 24. It's a shorter journey from the USA than flying to mainland Europe, but you'll still need to plan on leaving the USA the day prior to arrival. If you want to have time to explore Reykjavik before heading to the ski region or if you want a day (or more) time to break up the travel, you can easily add nights to stay in Reykjavik before and/or after our planned group travel to/from Isafjordur (event host town)

To get to the Fossavatnsgangan event area will require one of two domestic travel options.

Option A. -- AXCS is setting up group ground transportation to go from Reykjavik up to Isafjordur (event host town). The bus ride will take roughly 7 hours (assuming no stops on the way north), but reportedly offers a great sightseeing opportunity along the way in itself. Because this is a long bus ride, if you have the time available it is suggested that folks try and fly in to Reykjavik one day before the bus journey to give your body a bit of a travel break (but note you'll need to add one hotel night in Reykjavik).

Option B. -- You can also take a domestic flight (90mins or so) from Reykjavik up to Isafjordur. But AXCS has learned that the drawbacks on this option are that you have to literally change airports in Reykjavik to get on the domestic flight and also that there is substantial risk of domestic flights being cancelled due to bad weather. So if you really want to fly up vs. the bus ride, the smart move is to still have one full day in Reykjavik before you plan to take a domestic flight to the snow.

Important Note: For anyone adding-on nights in Reykjavik before the 24th, we will either need everyone to be in the same Reykjavik hotel (or nearly the same) OR you will need to arrange a shuttle back to the airport for the bus or flight up to Isafjordur. Logistically the tour operator can pick up skiers at a centralized Reykjavik hotel location, but will not be able to pick-up at multiple different Reykjavik hotels.

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At The Event Area

-- AXCS has already set up tentative lodging in Isaijordur via a local tour operator for rooms in a variety of hotels and apartments. All lodging will include breakfast.
- 4 rooms at Hotel Horn, all with private bath and possible to upgrade any or all to deluxe.
- 10 rooms at Menntaskolinn Isafjordur, all with private bath (the same rooms used in summer by Hotel Edda Isafjordur).
- 12 rooms at Fisherman Hotel Westfjords, most with private bath and the rest with shared bath (note that this hotel is a 20 minute drive from Isafjordur (so additional transfer arrangements are required).
- Accommodation for up to 15 participants in private apartments in Isafjordur and/or Bolungarvik, with bathrooms shared by 4-8 persons (this is great for families, friend groups and/or a collection of single skiers who don't want to pay for a single room)

-- All lodging options will include breakfast. You'll need to plan on eating lunch either out on your own or getting supplies to eat in your rooms. Dinners will be out on your own, but we'll plan to communicate within the group about trying to do mini-group dinners so everyone has other AXCS members to eat with.

-- All lodging will have basic facilities for waxing on site or a few minutes walk away.

-- Local transportation during the event week is reportedly very easy with a ski bus offered to get folks to/from the short distance from the hotels to actual skiing.

-- Assuming arrival to Isafjordur on Tuesday, April 24 in the late afternoon/early evening, you would have at 1.5 days of skiing before the 25km FS on Thursday evening (you can do an easy ski that morning). The 50km CL is Saturday morning so you'd have 3 days (Weds, Thurs, Fri) of skiing before that event.

-- A big banquet and party is included with the 50km on Saturday so it makes sense to stay the night in Isafjordur. Thus our target departure day from the snow region would be Sunday, April 29.

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Departure Plans

-- Currently AXCS plans to set up another charter bus (or vans) to take skiers on the return 7+ hour drive back to Reykjavik. This return trip would be more likely to include a few stops for specific sightseeing opportunities (since the ski events would be done). Those that take the return bus would be best off planning to fly out of Reykjavik no earlier than Monday morning (April 30).

-- Anyone that requires a small trip window can opt for domestic flights on any arrival day and then back to Reykjavik on Saturday PM or Sunday AM to try and catch international flights as early as Sunday AM. But note that you'll again have the complication of switching airports in Reykjavik, dealing with weather delays, etc.. Thus, the domestic flight instead of bus for the return is probably less stressful if you planned your international flight for Monday.

-- Important Note: For anyone adding-on nights in Reykjavik for Sunday the 29th or thereafter, we will either need everyone on the returning ground transport or domestic flight to be in the same Reykjavik hotel (or nearly the same) OR you will need to arrange local transport once we come down from Isafjordur. Logistically the tour operator needs to drop skiers at a centralized Reykjavik hotel location vs. multiple different Reykjavik hotels.