Skiing in Antarctica and the Polar Regions
Surprisingly, much of Antarctica is unsuited to skiing, with the surface in coastal areas being wind-swept ice rather than snow. Inland the snow is also scoured by the winds, which compact it into a wave-like landscape that makes for a troublesome ski surface.
Dedicated skiers wanting to test Antarctica’s few suitable ski slopes will have to climb the mountain they wish to ski before enjoying the ride down, with an absence of ski facilities of any kind. Greenland and Finland’s Svalbard Islands offer similarly untouched slopes for intrepid skiers.
Skiing in the North Pole region offers less variation in terrain than skiing in the South Pole region, yet it is nevertheless a popular activity among visitors on expeditions to the geographical North Pole.
Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica: Home to the mighty Vinson Massif (4,897m), the continent’s highest peak, this little-skied mountain range presents some exciting challenges for intrepid skiers and snowboarders. In order to ski the exciting slopes of this range, you will need mountaineering skills to reach the summit and you must be prepared to carry all your own equipment.
North Pole: Challenging ski expeditions of varying lengths take skiers through pressure ridges and across frozen lakes en route to the geographical North Pole. With no facilities available, skiers must carry all of their own equipment, with harsh ice and weather conditions common.
Uummannaq, Greenland: Offering fantastic opportunities for heli-skiing, Uummannaq on Greenland’s west coast takes its name from its heart-shaped mountain. The midnight sun phenomena here means skiers can make the most out of their trip.
Atomfjella, Svalbard Islands: Few skiers get to enjoy the scenic peaks of the Svalbard Islands, but those who do are rewarded with Alpine peaks of up to 1,700m. Skiers can access the base camps of these peaks by snow scooter or pulka, dog-drawn sledges. Organised tours are available and best during the summer months of the midnight sun.