Skarland was born in Høylandet, Norway, on September 2, 1899. He earned a diploma from the Steinkjer School of Forestry in Norway, in 1921. The later moved to the United States for further education. He studied at the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, he graduated in 1935, having majored in English. In 1942, he was awarded a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Harvard University and in 1948 received a Ph.D. from the same institution. He was a student of Earnest Hooton. He worked with Otto W. Geist.
The Geography and Archaeology of Alaska in Pleistocene and Early Post-glacial Time (1949)