Snowboarding in Antarctica!

Well, I’ve snowboarded on the harshest continent in the world.  Something not many people get to do.  I was very happy and excited to do it, but it’s not like snowboarding on the deep soft fresh snow we have at home in Colorado.  The snow here is sastrugi and is basically like icy drifts that set up like concrete.  It’s so hard that it breaks many of our snowmobiles.

The only decent area to snowboard here is about a 9.5 mile walk round trip and as a result it deters many from trying it.  Because of that my coworker  Dave and I wanted to get people out there without all the hassle and risk.  A proposal was sent in to station management and the NSF to use a Pisten Bully to shuttle people out there and also to use to get them up the hill.  We were really excited when it was approved, but it happened right before Dave left the ice so I led all of the trips while he was surfing on some tropical island.  I led about a dozen snowboard trips during both day and night (the sun was up 24hrs a day) so that everyone who wanted could go.  It was really awesome when people said that they had their best day on ice during one of my trips!

A self portrait outside the Pisten Bully.  As you can see the visibility is terrible... the snow is also not like home.  We have sastrugi snow here in Antarctica.  Basically it means that the snow blows into very hard drifts and sets up like concrete.  I used the Pisten Bully to drive over it repeatedly to soften it up a little.

A self portrait outside the Pisten Bully. As you can see the visibility is terrible… the snow is also not like home. We have sastrugi snow here in Antarctica. Basically it means that the snow blows into very hard drifts and sets up like concrete. I used the Pisten Bully to drive over it repeatedly to soften it up a little.

Leaving the station in our trusty Pisten Bully.  I had to stop to see the icebergs floating by and check for Orcas.  I have seen quite a few whales in this area.  You can get really close to shore and the whales will swim right by you.  I'll have a post on whales coming up.

Leaving the station in our trusty Pisten Bully. I had to stop to see the icebergs floating by and check for Orcas. I have seen quite a few whales in this area. You can get really close to shore and the whales will swim right by you. I’ll have a post on whales coming up.

Standing on Castle Rock enjoying the views of the ridge and a smoking Mt. Erebus in the distance.  The frozen Ross Sea is in the middle of the picture.  You don't want to fall off this part of Castle Rock as there are big crevasses between the rocks and the bottom.

Standing on Castle Rock enjoying the views of the ridge and a smoking Mt. Erebus in the distance. The frozen Ross Sea is in the middle of the picture. You don’t want to fall off this part of Castle Rock as there are big crevasses between the rocks and the bottom.

Dave and I making our way down.  Very flat light made it really hard to see.  You could barely tell what was ground vs what was sky!

Dave and I making our way down. Very flat light made it really hard to see. You could barely tell what was ground vs what was sky!

Looking along the ridge towards Mt. Erebus.  We snowboard down the right side of the ridge as the left has big crevasses to fall into.

Looking along the ridge towards Mt. Erebus. We snowboard down the right side of the ridge as the left has big crevasses to fall into.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s