Skiing The Antarctic Peninsula
Unless you have been hiding under a rock where you don’t get any Internet connection you have heard about Ski Cruise 2009 in Antarctica by now, or at least you should have. Doug Stoup’s dream to bring skiers to the last continent happened this November and it was the most amazing trip ever! Seriously! Seven sunny days with SICK terrain, lots of wildlife and an international group of skiers and snowboarders made it an all time get together. Thanks to Doug and Karyn for putting the trip together and making it happen, can’t wait to do it again.
I arrived in Ushuaia, the launching point for a trip like this, tired, groggy and sluggish, I was in Kathmandu two days earlier. Nothing could have snapped my attention back quicker than the smile Jason Court flashed as I walked into baggage claim. All my bags made it and I instantly began dreaming of the ski lines that surrounded Ushuaia. Arriving at the Hotel the weight of the trip began to settle in, the hallway was scattered with gear and excitement about what people had skied today, we had two days to get on the boat and already the energy was wild!
For 2009 I was lucky to be a part of a crew that was filming for next years Warren Miller movie, yea-Haw! Our group included Tom Day, Colin Witherall, Keoki Flagg, Adam Clark, Jon Morrison, Andrew Mclean, myself and about 80 other skiers bound for the Antarctic Peninsula.
After unpacking and saying hello I was informed that we were skiing in the morning, so get ready! Dodging a physical request to meet John Griber at the bar for some drinks I instead packed for the morning and snuck into bed, excited to be skiing the next day in Ushuaia.
As I remembered the skiing was great. Ushuaia is a great ski destination on its own and I would recommend it to anyone. Skinning toward the cirque I began loosing control of my speech as I do sometimes when I get really excited. With a handful of good lines, some great blown in snow and no one else back here I felt good about things.
We skied all day whooping and hollering with excitement, knowing that things were going to get better. That night eating dinner at Kaupe, best restaurant in Ushuaia, watching ships cruise into the harbor, we all talked vivaciously over each other about what was going to take place over the next two weeks. Lots of skiing, eating and good times.
Boarding the Clipper Adventurer and leaving port seemed to fly by and before we knew it we were toasting champagne to the captain. For the next two weeks we would live at sea in search of good lines on the Seventh continent.
Easy seas made the Drake crossing, considered one of the roughest waterways in the world, simply and quick. My stomach managed OK on the crossing and allowed for some hanging out on the deck watching the Petrels and Skuas fly effortlessly behind the ship. A few games of Scrabble and lots of eating, three full serviced meals a day.
On the third morning we woke up to icebergs and endless ski lines everywhere, blue skies and zodiacs waiting to bring us ashore. Zipping away in the Zodiac it was hard to stay focused finding the ”best” ski lines with Penguins Purposing all around us. We managed to hunt out some lines and our first day of skiing was a great introduction to what the entire trip would be like.
Over the next few days we managed to film everything: seals, penguins, skiers, Zodiac rides and overly excited skiers and snowboarders chowing seconds in the dining room. At the end of each day the boat pulled anchor and we set out to discover new terrain to ride. Each day provided different terrain; some steeper and some had better snow. A little corn here and a little powder there, we really couldn’t go wrong.
One our second to last night on the Peninsula a “White Party” was thrown to help celebrate the amazing week, I would love to elaborate but as the cliché goes “What happens in Antarctica stays in Antarctica” but I would recommend asking anyone that witnessed the madness how they felt about it.
I really want to send out a HUGE! Thank You to Doug Stoup and Karyn Stanley for putting this amazing trip together. Rumor has it that the ship might sail again in 2011, I would make sure you do what you can to be on that boat. Chow.