It is pretty hard to describe a ski expedition to Antarctica. As one of the guides said - before trip you can't believe that you going there, once on place you can't believe you are here and after return back home you can't believe that you have been there.
This is a truly unique adventure, skiing on one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the planet. And let's be honest, skiing by itself is just a half of the idea. Mind blowing scenery; inhabitants of peninsula - penguins, whales, seals; the history of Antarctica explorations is another great part of this journey.
Still, speaking about skiing. It can be pretty different there. Most of the time you have either nice mellow cruising or real steep skiing. Which slope to take - up to your abilities and wishes. But even skiing on simple easy slopes with surrounding views provides unforgettable memories.
There are two main possibilities to get there.
You also can bring non-skiing family members, there are few activities available such as snowshoe hiking, sea kayaking and paddling. This expedition runs in early November.
Itinerary for this trip will be*:
Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. Preparation and trainings. Overnight in Ushuaia.
Day 2 Board the Sea Adventurer and set sail down the Beagle Channel.
Day 3-4 Cross the Drake Passage. Sperm, fin, and humpback whales, along with skies of sea birds will accompany our journey. Arrive at Deception Island’s on the afternoon of Day 4 for a short touring.
Days 5-10: Skitouring in different destinations, such as Anvers and Wenke islands, Ronge island, Charlotte Bay. Visiting different scientific stations.
Day 11-12 Sail Drake Passage; pass the dramatic cliffs of Cape Horn.
Day 13 Disembark the Sea Adventurer in Ushuaia, Argentina.
*Flexibility is necessary for all Antarctic travel. This program is subject to change throughout the journey depending on ice, weather and local conditions.
Another option is to freight the yacht and go there with a small team of like-minded persons. With yachts a usual group size is 6-8 guests and 2 guides. Trip duration is about 3 weeks. Period for this expedition - from early December to mid-January.
Of course, such a set-up requires more time, but also means more time in Antarctica and provides better experience and flexibility. With a small team you can moor to the places which are not reasonable or even possible for a couple dozen people but good for several of us, and ski the first lines of the white continent! Depending on the yacht we also can bring sea kayaks or SUP and spend few days watching the wildlife cruising along the shore.
You may suggest that such expeditions cost way more than cruise ship option. But not, it costs around the same amount of money and can be compared with a week of heliskiing in some destinations.
Approximate itinerary will be:
Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. Preparation and training. Overnight in Ushuaia.
Day 2 Come aboard and we set off to sail down the spectacular mountain lined Beagle Channel.
Day 3-5 Cross the Drake Passage.
Days 5-19: Skitouring along the Antarctic Peninsula.
Days 19-22 After a few exciting weeks of cruising, exploring and skiing we begin to watch for a weather window to sail back across the Drake Passage
Day 22 Disembark the yacht in Ushuaia, Argentina.
I have good contact with few reliable yachts and captains with extensive experience of sailing in Antarctica. Contact me to get more details.
The Antarctic peninsula provides very different terrain which can suit any level of skiers and snowboarders, from beginner to expert. The main idea is to have more or less the same level in the team, and then it is guides work to provide good skiing according to group abilities. Even if you are a novice in skitouring or splitboarding, there is plenty of simple terrain for you and your friends.
You should be fit and able to skitour up to 1000 meters per day, which is basically normal activity for any person involved in winter sport.
When people hear "Antarctica" they start to imagine storm winds, temperatures around minus 50 Celsius and other stuff like this. Well, it is like this but on continental part and mostly in the winter. In summer months (i.e. December-January) climate there is pretty mild and comfortable. day temperatures are around 0 Celsius, so it feels like a spring in the Alps or any other mountain places in Northern Hemisphere. Once per week or so you may get a day with strong wind (still fine to go out) but nothing more.
There are two main parts of this expedition - Drake passage crossing and cruising along the Antarctic peninsula. Once you arrive on the peninsula, the sea is pretty quiet there and you have almost no issues while sailing from one skiing spot to another. Very short-term ailments are still possible during the transition from one bay to another, which, however, can be easily treated with medicines (tablets, plasters). Drake passage is a bit different story, and depending on the type of ship, it takes 2 to 4 days to cross it. This time may be uncomfortable for those who are not used to dealing with sea sickness. But as it was mentioned, there are a wide range of modern medicines which help to significantly reduce the issue or even move it away