Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

Posts tagged “Skate Ski

Skiing Around the World

I went for my first ski today. There is an outbuilding with ski equipment for anyone to use while at the station. I picked out some skate skis, boots, and poles and headed out. The weather report says it was -29C (-24F) but when I checked a thermometer on our ice core pallets, it read -33C (-28F) making this the coldest ski of my life – I normally sip a hot toddie on days this cold. But it’s the South Pole, it doesn’t get a whole lot warmer.

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As you can see, I was pretty bundled up. I had never used a face mask on my goggles before arriving at the South Pole. But the windchill is too much for my poor nose. It was a sunny beautiful day, but there was a breeze. The weather report currently gives the wind speed as 15 knots which gives a windchill of -44C (-48F). I think the wind has picked up in the couple of hours since I skied, but I can tell you I felt it going into the wind. You didn’t want any exposed flesh.

The skiing was actually pretty good. I even got a little glide where the snow was well-groomed. The constant sun must keep the snow temperature up a bit. There are no trails groomed for skiing here, so it’s a bit tricky crossing big ruts from heavy machinery. I skied on the skiway for airplanes, which was both slow and slick. I made the mistake of leaving the groomed roads and immediately got no glide with the rough snow crystals. Skiing to the Pole would have been a hell of a trial (but better than man-hauling).

On my way in, I stopped at the Ceremonial Pole.

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I had yet to visit the Ceremonial Pole, but it does provide a nice selfie opportunity. And to make sure I had skied around the world, I lopped around the true geographic Pole before putting my skis away.

It was a fun ski around the world.