Perhaps it had to happen – one of the world’s final frontiers has opened up to skiing.
While it may not yet be possible to ski down Mt Everest commercially (though a couple of daredevils have done it), clients can now ski in another of the world’s least accessible areas.
In Sydney last night, Chimu Adventures launched a sail and ski expedition program to Antarctica, the great southern white continent, coldest, windiest and driest continent on earth and repository of 90% of the world’s ice.
Launching the program, Chimu’s Chad Carey said the new tour would let guests see dazzling landscapes and unique wildlife at the end of the earth from skis, kayaks and the deck of the expedition ship, Icebird.
The trip doesn’t come cheap – although given the remoteness, the logistics and the generous duration it represents value: AUD 35,205 for four weeks, 28 days.
Carey said the new tour confirmed the company’s position “as having Australia’s most diverse range of Antarctic travel options”.
“For the adventurous at heart, climbing a virgin summit is a breathtaking prospect. And then to attach your skis and be the first person to ski down from the summit is just exciting beyond words.”
The 28-day adventure aboard the centrally heated, high-tech expedition yacht Icebird departs from Ushuaia in southern Argentina on 19 November 2017.
The trip will be led by a highly experienced skipper, mate and expedition leader, and will include training, safety gear, use of satellite phones and email, accommodation in Ushuaia, skis, kayaks, mountaineering equipment and meals.
Forget ski lifts. The first skiing on the trip will take place at Igloo Hill on day five of the 28-day itinerary. Wikipedia describes Igloo Hill as “a completely ice-covered hill, 280 metres high, in the central part of Reclus Peninsula on the west coast of Graham Land, Antarctica”.
There’s also skiing at Jabel Peak and at other landmark sites. The itinerary includes visits to Two Hummock Island, Portal Point, Wilhelmina Bay, Paradise Harbour, Mt Banck, Bruce Island, Base Camp Iceberg, Jabet Peak, Port Lockroy Base, Minaret Peak, Lemaire Channel, Peterman Island, Vernadski, Wordie House and Cape Horn. There’s an ascent of Mt Scott as well.
Participants must have a reasonable level of fitness, be capable of skiing blue or black runs in resorts and must undertake some prior training in roped glacier travel and crevasse rescue.
Chimu advises that team members must come with an “expedition mentality”.
“This is no package cruise this is a true travel adventure! Team members are invited to help in sailing the yacht, take a watch at sea and generally muck in with chores around the yacht from anchoring to domestic duties. Everyone is a team member. In return you will have the satisfaction of Rounding the Horn on our way back to Ushuaia, knowing that you have really earned it!
“If you haven’t sailed before you’ll be given instruction and come back a seasoned Southern Ocean sailor and Antarctic skier.” More details of trip: http://www.chimuadventures.com/destinations/antarctica
Written by Peter Needham