Greenland Wants You to Visit. But Not All at Once.


The Arctic island, renowned for its glaciers and fjords, is expanding airports and hotels to energize its economy, even as it tries to avoid the pitfalls of overtourism.
“The weather decides”: It could almost be the motto of Greenland. Visitors drawn to this North Atlantic island to see its powder blue glaciers, iceberg-clogged fjords and breathtakingly stark landscapes quickly learn to respect the elements, and they’re sometimes rewarded for it.
One cold December day, I was waiting for a delayed flight in Kangerlussuaq, a former U.S. military base just above the Arctic Circle, when a friendly Air Greenland pilot named Stale asked if I’d like to join him on a drive to the harbor to “pick up some musk ox heads.” The offer seemed very Greenlandic, so how could I refuse?
By early afternoon, it was already getting dark. We hopped into a pickup truck and headed down a long, icy road. At the water’s edge, Stale picked up a musk ox skull — they are kept as trophies, and the horns can be valuable for carving and toolmaking. Then we drove up a snow-covered mountain. The full moon illuminated the fjord below. Next to it, the town looked like a lunar base: a small pocket of human activity nestled in a seemingly infinite void.

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