Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between skiing to the North Pole and South Pole?
The North Pole expedition season is March to May, the northern spring. It can still be very cold, down to minus 40C, but 24-hour daylight has returned to the Arctic. Skiing on the Arctic Ocean is all at sea-level but it is far from flat or level. Pressure ridges are common and we often need to climb up and over them, with skis on or off. The Arctic Ocean is exactly that, an ocean, so we are often confronted by leads of open water. We are skilled and equipped for crossing all types of water so no need to worry about that, after your first time you will love it.
It is often windy and this, together with currents and tides, has an effect on the Arctic ice. It moves and we move with it, as we ski, as we break for lunch, as we sleep. We see the result of this movement in pressure ridges and leads and our GPS indicates the speed and direction of travel. Sometimes it moves with us, sometimes it moves us sideways, sometimes, frustratingly, it moves us backwards.
Often we ski on frozen leads of solid ice and often this ice sits just below a thin cover of snow, forcing us to use ice screws when setting up tents. We collect snow for melting from accumulated drifts which we camp close to.
Polar bears inhabit the Arctic Ocean so we are always on the lookout for them. We carry a rifle and ammunition for protection and a flare gun. On our Svalbard trips we also set up a trip wire around the camp.
The South Pole season extends from November to January, the southern summer. Temperatures on the coast range from 0C to -15C and are typically much warmer than the interior where temperatures can drop to -35C. Ironically it can often be colder inside a tent when on the coast because the sun can dip below the horizon or behind mountains plunging the camp into the cold shade.
The surface is generally flatter than the Arctic Ocean, wind-formed ridges called sastrugi being the biggest obstacles to a skier. On glaciers, crevasses can be problematic and we carry glacier travel and crevasse rescue equipment. This equipment isn't required for last degree expeditions.
Cancellation and refunds