Skiing Iceland, Magically

Skiing Iceland, Magically

[slider_pro id=”85″] Iceland might be the easiest place in the world to mythologize,and Jordan Manley does what so many other



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Iceland might be the easiest place in the world to mythologize,and Jordan Manley does what so many other filmmakers and writers have done — at the beginning of the latest installment of his A Skier’s Journey series, he goes straight to Iceland’s biggest cliche, the people’s supposed belief in trolls and elves. But in this case, it isn’t a mistake. Rather, he lets an Icelander talk about it, in slow, measured consideration that makes you do the same.

“You ask a lot of people and they say, ‘I can’t say I believe in it, but my grandmother did and who am I to say that she is wrong?’ ”

Manley lingers over the idea long enough that you understand why the superstition first arose and why it echoes today — Iceland’s landscape and its ever-shifting moods stand apart from our normal expectations of how a place should be, and the only way to explain it, it seems, is with magic and the supernatural.

Fortunately, he moves on and you learn a little about the rugged life in Iceland’s Westfjords, where people made a living dragging driftwood from Siberia across mountains to sell to farmers. This, of course, is a land where trees are sparse and stunted. As the joke goes, what do you do if you’re lost in a forest in Iceland? Stand up. In the end, though, I suspect that Iceland doesn’t need jokes or myths to explain itself, or words at all. Iceland is a place you feel, and with these pictures both moving and still, Manley does that as well as anyone.

Photos by Jordan Manley. To see more, visit jordanmanley.com.

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.

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