LifestyleTrainingXC Antarctica

FasterSkierDecember 29, 2003

The toughest part about nordic skiing in Antarctica comes the moment you turn around to ski back. It's when you realize that, after 40 minutes of effortless V2-ing, you've been skiing with a gale force tail wind the entire time. And now you have to ski back INTO it in order to get home. Duh.

McMurdo Station, Antarctica (summer pop. 1200) is located on Ross Island and is the US Antarctic Program's base of operations. The more infamous South Pole Station lays 900 miles inland but plays a less critical role in the whole scheme of science. The town of McMurdo resembles a cross between a mining camp and a military installation. This is an outpost for scientists though, not miners, and contract workers like myself looking for a little adventure while making a quick buck. Surprisingly, over 40 percent of McMurdo's population is female and, of which is commonly noted, the odds are good but the goods are odd. I'm sure that saying goes both ways.

Weather seems to be the primary factor as to whether or not you are able to ski each day. During the all-too-often stormy weather, I stay in touch with my nordic sensibilities by repeatedly waxing my skis, re-reading Pete Vordenberg's book, Momentum, or surfing the FasterSkier website. It might seem that I spend more time waxing than skiing in Antarctica (which I probably do). But while applying those collective layers of CH4, I find myself dreaming fondly of those freshly groomed trails, tree-lined and rolling through gentle terrain… Without any wind, of course.

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