Alpine Ski Touring in Greenland

17242714991_ebea910138_k Photo by: Mads Pihl / Visit Greenland

Adventure in Greenland comes in all varieties – backcountry hiking and cultural exploration in summer & autumn to exciting snow sports like snowmobiling and ski touring in winter & spring. I might be here a while if I tried to list the full extent of things to do in Greenland!

Today a very special shout-out goes to Icelandic Mountain Guides out of Reykjavík whose video, “Alpine Ski Touring in East Greenland” just won the Adventure in Motion film contest put on by the Adventure Travel Trade Association – with over 24,000 votes!! It will be shown to hundreds of global tourism gurus at the upcoming Adventure Travel World Summit event in Chile.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE!

And check out more breathtaking photos of skiing in Greenland.

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Through the Airplane Window: Videos of Flying in Greenland

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Come fly with me!

Do you like flight videos? Are you the kind of person that likes to visualize what it looks like to land in a country before you travel there? Are you just daydreaming of Greenland?

Well, if you can look past the foggy windows (figuratively, that is) and, at times, shaky filming, then these videos of landing and taking off from various airports and heliports around Greenland (and at different times of the year) can give you the right impression that Greenland is the most majestic place on this earth!

Disclaimer: Every time I shoot one of these videos, I have the highest and most earnest hopes to edit them, add great music, etc. but it just never happens. So I’m abandoning those dreams and simply putting the videos here in their rawest form – take it or leave it! 🙂

The videos are ordered alphabetically by town name.

Illorsuit

Late Spring arrival to Illorsuit, Greenland via Air Greenland (settlement in North Greenland)

Ilulissat

Late Spring departure from Ilulissat, Greenland via Air Greenland (town in North Greenland, International Airport)

Kangerlussuaq

Late Spring arrival to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland via Air Greenland (settlement in Destination Arctic Circle, International Airport)

Kulusuk

Late Winter arrival to Kulusuk, Greenland via Air Iceland (settlement in East Greenland, International Airport)

Mid Spring departure from Kulusuk, Greenland via Air Iceland (settlement in East Greenland, International Airport)

Early Summer departure from Kulusuk, Greenland via Air Iceland (settlement in East Greenland, International Airport)

Narsaq

Late Winter arrival to Narsaq, Greenland via Air Greenland (settlement in South Greenland)

Narsarsuaq

Late Winter arrival to Narsarsuaq, Greenland via Air Greenland (settlement in South Greenland, International Airport)

Nugaatsiaq

Late Spring arrival to Nugaatsiaq, Greenland via Air Greenland (settlement in North Greenland)

Nuuk

Mid Winter departure from Nuuk, Greenland via Air Iceland (capital city, International Airport)

Late Spring arrival to Nuuk, Greenland via Air Greenland (capital city, International Airport)

Qaarsut

Late Spring departure from Qaarsut, Greenland via Air Greenland (settlement in North Greenland)

Qaqortoq

Late Winter arrival to Qaqortoq, Greenland via Air Greenland (town in South Greenland)

Tasiilaq

Early summer departure from Tasiilaq, Greenland via Air Greenland (town in East Greenland)

Uummannaq

Late Spring arrival to Uummannaq, Greenland via Air Greenland (town in North Greenland)

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Mid Winter flying over East Greenland and Greenland Ice Sheet via Icelandair (no landing)

Early Spring flying over Greenland Ice Sheet and West Greenland via Icelandair (no landing)

Early Summer flying over West Greenland via Icelandair (no landing)

PHOTO GALLERY: Greenland in Black & White

Greenland’s saturated sunsets and deep blue waters can challenge even the best painter’s palette, but Greenland can also be quite stunning in black and white. The chiaroscuro effect adds an element of mystery and enchantment, and at times it can be downright eerie!

So, as a direct follow-up to yesterday’s photo gallery, Colorful Greenland, today I present to you my best black and white shots.

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Kangeq, 21 April 2013 (Abandoned settlement near Nuuk where the Danish colonists tried to make it for 7 years (1721-1728) before moving the short distance to the mainland, where Nuuk stands today)

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Nuuk Fjord, 21 April 2013 (Sermitsiaq in background)

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Ilulissat Ice Fjord, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 8 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 27 April 2013 (Piteraq)

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Tasiilaq, 27 April 2013 (Piteraq)

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 28 April 2013

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 28 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Tasiilaq, 27 April 2013

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq, 24 April 2013

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Kulusuk, 24 April 2013

60-Second Tourism Evaluation of Kulusuk & Tasiilaq ! (65*N 37*W)

(From 30 April 2013) I had often heard East Greenland called the “forgotten side” of Greenland – so few residents, such harsh landscape, and all the way across that huge Ice Sheet! One might get the impression that it is a totally different country over here. Well, I am here to dispel that myth! At the end of the day, East Greenland is still Greenland! There are still quaint settlements to explore by boat, dogsledge, snowmobile, or ski (depending on the season). There are still smiling and happy people that provide great company and the most genuine service. There aregradual hills, steep mountains, and valleys of flowers to walk through or climb up, whatever you fancy. There are deep fjords with such still, striking blue water that you swear you are in a dream. And all of that is just 2 hours from Reykjavik, Iceland! So, “forgotten side”? Not quite!

PHOTO GALLERY: Greenland Towns & Settlements

Here is a one stop shop for town photos of every town and settlement I have visited, plus some quick facts! The order is clockwise, starting with East Greenland and finishing with North Greenland.

Sources: Wikipedia for coordinates… bank.stat.gl for population statistics 

Greenland // 2012 Population: 56,749 (Combined Greenland-born and other)

Greenland // 2022 Projected Population: 56,755 (Combined Greenland-born and other) // 2032 Projected Population: 56,184 (” “) // 2040 Projected Population: 55,386 (” “)

Tasiilaq // 65*N 37*W // 2012 Population: 2,004 (Town) // Photos date: 24-26 April 2013

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Kulusuk // 65*N 37*W // 2012 Population: 280 (Settlement) // Photo date: 28 April 2013

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Qaqortoq // 60*N 46*W // 2012 Population: 3,297 (Town) // Photo date: No Photo

Narsaq // 60*N 46*W // 2012 Population: 1,581 (Town) // Photo date: 15 August 2012

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Arsuk // 61*N 48*W // 2012 Population: 128 (Settlement) // Photo date: 15-16 August 2012

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Paamiut // 61*N 49*W // 2012 Population: 1,568 (Town) // Photo date: 16 August 2012

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Qeqertarsuatsiaat // 63*N 50*W // 2012 Population: 196 (Settlement) // Photo date: 14-17 August 2012

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Kangeq // 64*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 0 (Ruins) // Photo date: 21 April 2013

See here for summer pictures and a fun story about my friend’s afternoon in Kangeq. Her summer trip there was considerably more pleasant than mine!

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Nuuk // 64*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 16,181 (Town) // Photo date: 1 June-12 August 2012, 11 June 2013

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Qoornoq // 64*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 0 (Summer settlement) // Photo date: 3 July 2012

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Maniitsoq // 65*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 2,715 (Town) // Photo date: 18 August 2012

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Kangaamiut // 65*N 53*W // 2012 Population: 351 (Settlement) // Photo date: 20 August 2012

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Sisimiut // 66*N 53*W // 2012 Population: 5,571 (Town) // Photo date: 18 August 2012

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Kangerlussuaq // 67*N 50*W // 2012 Population: 513 (Settlement) // Photo date: 8-13 March 2013

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Aasiaat // 68*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 3,146 (Town) // Photo date: 19 August 2012

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Ilimanaq // 69*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 61 (Settlement) // Photo date: 8 April 2013, 11 June 2013

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Ilulissat // 69*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 4,621 (Town) // Photo date: 27 June 2012, 26 March-10 April 2013

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Oqaatsut // 69*N 51*W // 2012 Population: 50 (Settlement) // Photo date: 30 June 2012, 11 June 2013

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Qullissat // 70*N 53*W // 2012 Population: 0 (Abandoned) // Photo date: 24 June 2012

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Qaarsut // 70*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 171 (Settlement) // Photo date: No Photo

Uummannaq // 70*N 52*W // 2012 Population: 1,280 (Town) // Photo date: 22 June 2012, 5-6 June 2013

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Digidduaritsi! Welcome to East Greenland! (65*N 37*W)

(From Wednesday 24 April 2013)

Today I finally returned to the famed East Coast!  First I flew from Nuuk to Kulusuk (less than 2 hours flight time), and from Kulusuk I took a helicopter to Tasiilaq (10 minutes flight time). Both are Air Greenland flights.  You know you are getting close to the east coast when you see steep, sharp peaks and frozen sea ice 🙂

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When I walked into the Kulusuk airport, it was full of life!  Packed with film crews and tourists on their way to Reykjavik and beyond…  Packed with ice cap crossers, heliskiers, and extreme adventurers ready to get started on journeys of a lifetime!  Though Greenland gets a fraction of the tourists that other worldly destinations get, the tourists that are here are very special!  Very passionate about seeing the world; very curious about a life different from their own…  It is inspiring to be surrounded by such people every day!  I think tourists to Greenland must feel a little bit like they are members of a secret club – only others who have been here really know its majesty and the feelings it evokes.

With some hours to kill before catching my helicopter to Tasiilaq, I interviewed as many tourists as possible, and then I walked around to shoot photographs.  When I went out the door to the road, my first thought was, “Wow! There is a lot of snow here!”  Now, I fully understand the irony of this statement.  I am in Greenland… in winter/spring.  Of course there is snow!  But to be completely honest, this was the first place that I was seeing a large amount of it.  The unseasonably warm temperatures had melted every single flake in Kangerlussuaq in March.  There was some snow on the ground when I was in Ilulissat and Nuuk, but it was not more than I had seen before in Washington, D.C.  And, it was pretty dirty and rocky – also similar to Washington, D.C.  So, when I walked outside and saw pristine, white snowdrifts 3 meters (10 feet) high to create a road, I was impressed!

Here are some pictures of the snowdrifts.  Picture 1 is right outside the airport.  Picture 2 is closer to the settlement of Kulusuk; the trench in the foreground is the road 🙂 For reference in Picture 3, I am only 157 centimeters (5’2″) tall!

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One of the novel aspects of traveling to small towns and settlements is flying in a helicopter!  But it is a shame the trips do not last so long – approximately 15 minutes!  This was my second helicopter trip, but I was just as excited about it as the first!  Helicopters fly lower and slower than the small fixed-wing planes, so the view and photo-ops are fantastic!  Here are some photos I shot while airborne between Kulusuk and Tasiilaq.

Settlement of Kulusuk. The snow between town and the mountains is on land.  The snow between the town and me is actually sea ice.

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If you look closely at the snow, you will see dogsledge and snowmobile tracks. In fact, there is a dogsledge down there (sans dogs). Can you spot it?

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Easily the tallest freestanding iceberg I have laid eyes on thus far.

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One of my favorite things about transportation in Greenland is how simple and relaxing it is!  To juxtapose, it is nothing like arriving to an American or European airport where you are instantly in a rush to walk/run a mile or two to baggage claim, passing through door after door, going down hallway after hallway, making sure to keep your gaggle of family members relatively close by as you weave between others.  On the contrary, I stand behind the statement that transportation with Air Greenland is nothing like that!  Save for maybe Kangerlussuaq Airport during a holiday.

The heliport in Tasiilaq is truly just a small little bull’s-eye nestled right along the harbor amongst the tall East Greenland mountains.  When you land and the helicopter door opens, a rush of crisp, fresh air hits you and you step down and just feel happy!  The Arctic Calm is all around you.  You are on the east coast of Greenland!  You are alive!  Just look at how beautiful this place is!  There is no rushing around, and there is no need to frantically find a map before you take a single step more. There is only one road in / out, so take your pick! (Though there is a map outside on the door of the heliport 🙂 )

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From first impressions alone, Tasiilaq could easily be one of my Top 3 favorite towns in Greenland. I even sent an SMS to a friend that said, “I love it! I think I could be an East Coast woman!”

Final Stop: East Greenland

(From Tuesday 23 April 2013)

East Greenland will always be special for me simply because it is the very first place where my feet touched Greenland soil almost one year ago on Saturday 26 May 2012.  A stop in East Greenland was not in the original flight plan that day, but the headwind was strong so we needed to refuel before we reached Nuuk.  It was exhilarating to step out of Qarsoq, our little Air Greenland Dash-8 propeller plane, that day! The mountains were still so white, even in May; the Arctic air was so crisp; the sky was so blue… it was love at first sight for me!

We were on the ground for less than 30 minutes, but still it was nice to just get a mental image of East Greenland. I can still remember spotting sea ice from the window of the plane – that was a first for me. Soon we were landing on the short airstrip right in the middle of the mountain peaks.  Below are a few pictures I took back in May 2012.

First Sea Ice

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In the past year, I have heard a lot about East Greenland – it has a different language than on the west coast; it is the ‘wildest of the wild’; it is significantly less populated; it is a favorite starting point for the adventurous (not to mention extremely brave) souls who endeavor to cross the Greenland Ice Sheet and to complete other expeditions of a lifetime…

I have not been to East Greenland since my very first day in Greenland, so I am really looking forward to getting back there and experiencing firsthand everything that I have heard!