Fischer-Craft and XC-Oregon skier Zach Violett won a competition and was selected as part of three-person American team to race a 368-mile cross- country ski race to the North Pole. Violett was selected, along with his two teammates, in a competition held in Colorado. Sponsored by Wired Magazine, 70 particpants were selected from a pool of 350, based on an internet questionnaire. The Polar Challenge hopefuls spent a day completing tasks in three-person teams. These included building a raft from supplied materials and crossing an icy lake, navigating a ropes and ladders course, and completing a 7-mile run.
Violett, training to make the 2010 Olympic cross-country ski team, appears to be the fittest on his team. Team Wired, which also includes Dell Weingarten and Ellen Piangerelli will compete against other teams from around the globe. All participants will take part in a training course in Norway to prepare for the Arctic conditions. One of the biggest bonuses is that Team Wired will have their $45,000 entry fee covered as part of the contest.
The race covers 320 nautical miles, finishing at the magnetic North Pole (as measured in 1996). Teams will stop at two manned checkpoints to resupply. The 2009 edition commemorates American explorers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson, the first explorers to reach the North Pole.
Read the Rocky Mountain News article on the selection of Team Wired:
Polar Challenge holds Colorado tryout to send U.S. team to North Pole
Read more about the Polar Challenge on the official website. Includes bios of all participants.