A Sub Zero Trek In Skiing Alaska
I said below zero? I mean much deeper than the red line you’ll find on those old white plastic thermometers attached to the wooden walls of a roadside gas station in the middle of nowheresville.
I would say temperatures will be closer to minus 30°C, which is quite cold.
Hello, my name is James and with my blogger friend Jake I run TrekSumo.
We are based in the UK and much of our writing focuses on equipment reports and hiking routes around the British Isles.
Most of our writing is ironic – we don’t take anything too seriously except security.
Here’s a little more from my trip.
I am a former Soldier in the British Army; mostly in the army served in an air unit where we did a huge amount of very interesting work.
Well, certainly more interesting than painting vehicles and sweeping the barracks every other day.
After 13 years of service and many operations, I decided it was time to take a break from my broken body – I retired.
In the civilian world, I decided to start a computer consulting company.
I must add that I do not particularly like technology. It’s more that the job is relatively simple, as I have a very technical mind (read: logic and Borderline ‘Vulcan’ aka emotionless) that serves my clients well.
Now that we’ve done the intro, let’s move on to the details.
In February 2022, I will ski with a teammate / cover 600 miles across the northwest slope of Alaska. So a walk in a very large Park. Very large.
Some of you may have already entered the wild and harsh extremes of the frozen States. For those who haven’t, here’s a look at what it takes to prepare for and complete a trip like this.
Note: I have already made ski expeditions to the North Pole, through Greenland and several trips through northern Norway.
If you are like truly wild places where only a few people cross your path, then I recommend Baikal as a destination for one of your future adventures.
Why ski in Alaska? For a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the remote expanses of snow-covered terrain.
This trip is much affordable, does not require dedicated support, and the itinerary is accessible to almost anyone who has modest expenses and a little willpower.
And for the Beauty of the Area. The mountains to our left, the oceans to our right and the ice sheets in the middle.
There are no “firsts” here, no bragging about being the first person to make the crossing.
It is simply a chance to experience something beautiful and challenging.
The three keys to success. Planning, planning, planning. Well, with suitable material and a lot of food (including a couple of tons of dark chocolate – delicious).
Now you’re probably wondering what kind of planning and preparation goes for a trip where you’ll be carrying over 100kg on snow and ice for about six weeks, right?
Well, I hope, otherwise what I’m going to write will be wasted.
Still here? Cool, let’s prepare a high-level look at what I’m going to follow.
Much more affordable than a one-day marathon to the South Pole, this trip costs around if you leave from the UK.
As Britons, we are cheated at every turn by local businesses, and the government and travelers from other countries will likely find that their costs are affordable.
If you live in the United States or Canada, you will easily lose 1,500 of this prize, provided you have all the equipment you need.
When I pause and close my eyes, I see images of explorers gliding across snow and ice with little effort.
No sweat beads cling to your forehead. Their faces reveal no signs of effort.
They look so simple.
But this is not the matter.
If you plan to travel hundreds of miles through snow and ice while carrying a small house-sized sled behind you, you should be aware of the consequences the journey will have on your body, especially if you are unfit.
If you are not reasonably fit, you should never consider a trip like this.
Here is a minimum standard that I would recommend to you:
Able to run 10 miles without stopping. Not because you walk on snow, which is really hard work, but because a good level of cardiovascular fitness is a must for anyone who wants to travel long distances.
Can pull several car tires, cross-country skiing, for several hours at a time, because well, it looks cool, and everyone wants to know what you are training for and then you can sunbathe in the spotlight. Ok, joke aside, pulling tires is a great way to condition your body in readiness for hours and days in a harness.
Go to the gym and start pumping iron! Squats! Many of them build leg muscles that Arnie would cry with envy. The stronger your legs, the easier it is to carry. No Argument.
Train your body in motion for two hours at a time. No, that doesn’t mean putting a few more hours into the daily drive. Your big training runs – the 10 milers we talked about a minute ago-should last at least 120 minutes. Why? Because this is the average time you ski without interruption.
Choice of shipping equipment
So far, we have learned that money is very important and fitness is important. And both considerations can be changed up or down depending on your plans for skiing in Alaska.
But the most important consideration you need to take before you go is The equipment you are going to take. Only food is more important.
Take the wrong equipment, and you’ll pay the price-maybe the one your body can’t afford!
I could list all the speed fluctuations for different environments, but that would be a waste of time.
The best suggestion I can make for you is to talk to someone who is familiar with the environment you want to go through.
First-hand knowledge is a lifeline (and you might even get some tips to help you reduce the weight of your pulka, a Nordic-style sled that’s always welcome).
Once you have chosen the right equipment, you should think about how many delicious calories you take from your meals.
If you do not plan to stop on the way to villages and settlements, you need to carry all your food.
Hunting would not be an option, even if there were a plethora of creatures that jump into the depths of winter because they would waste too much energy hunting down their lunch.
And I hate to tell you, but there are not many, if not at all, Mcdonald’s in the snowy plains (a fact that fascinated my youngest daughter: “but dad, isn’t Mcdonald’s everywhere?”I can still feel the moment when my answer broke his heart.)
When you start planning your meals, you need to think about “high calorie” and a lot of protein.
On average, my body burns about 7000 calories a day during a trip, so I need to get those exact numbers back into my body.
Well, if you’re wondering what kind of diet would provide me with those energy levels, here’s an example of an average daily meal when I was heading to the North Pole:
Breakfast: porridge made from hot water and chocolate powder mixed with cooked bacon and melted cheese.
Lunch: pasta, cheese, bacon and salami. All thrown into a giant cup and heated with boiled water before dropping camp this morning.
Dinner: a freeze-dried meal containing at least 1,800 calories, enriched with Tabasco sauce and, as you guessed, bacon and cheese.Tags: Prepare, Skiing, TrekSumo