Come Ski Antarctica With Us in November 2017:

Miles Clark |
Brennnan Legasse tearing it up. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Brennnan Legasse tearing it up. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
**All photos in this article are from Ice Axe Expeditions’ 2016 Antarctica trip.

In both November 2016 and November 2014, I was fortunate enough to guide 4 fun skiers in Antarctica for a week with Ice Axe Expeditions aboard the 331-foot Sea Adventurer.  These were by far the coolest trips I’ve ever been on anywhere.  Not just the coolest ski trip I’ve been on, but the coolest trip I’ve been on anywhere.

Antarctica is the only place I’ve been that is 100% natural.  There’s not many places like that left on Earth.  Essentially no evidence of humans anywhere and we get to charge around and ski on it.

This is the trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to go back with you and yours.  If you’re interested in learning more about this 2016 Antarctica ski trip, please contact me here:

Contact@SnowBrains.com

Please read my detailed account of the incredible 2016 Antarctica Ski Trip below:

image: Court Leve/Ice Axe ExpeditionsSmooth…  image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

Sunshine.

The November 2016 Ice Axe Expeditions Antarctica ski trip experienced full blown sunshine nearly every single day.  That golden sunshine combined with an incredible lack of wind translated to corn snow, amazing visibility, easier everything, more wildlife sightings, more fun, more smiles, and more skiing.  I heard one of the senior guides who’s been on this trip 7 times say that he thought we’d gotten in more vertical on this trip than any other Antarctica trip he’d been on…

83 clients and 22 mountain guides from 16 different countries set sail in the 331-foot Sea Adventurer from Ushuaia, Argentina (furthest south city on Earth) for the Antarctic Peninsula with Ice Axe Expeditions on November 8th, 2016.  It took 2 days to traverse the 600-miles of open ocean in the notorious Drake Passage to the Antarctica.

image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Glassy.  image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

Sunny skies, calm winds, glassy seas, and corny snow made for one helluva smooth trip.  We were able to go where we wanted, ski what we wanted, and stay out late everyday.

Living on a luxury cruise ship, taking inflatable boats to rugged shores, and skiing right down to a water line full of penguins is an experience like no other.

Penguins and Orcas. image: Jeet Kalsi
Penguins and Orcas. image: Jeet Kalsi

It’s not easy to access the land of Antarctica.  The majority of land is guarded by 100-300′ ice cliffs that prevent any kind of access.  Every now and then, you find a ramp down to the shoreline and that’s what we use to access these mountainous islands and peninsulas.  Ramps are where the penguins access the land as well.  Nearly every time we land to ski, we’re dealing with penguins.  Sometimes hundreds of them.

Rich Meyer and crew on Nansen Island. image: miles clark
Rich Meyer and crew on Nansen Island. image: miles clark

Crossing the notorious Drake passage was generally uneventful on the way down as well as the way back.  Both voyages delivered 10-foot seas with 10-30mph winds.  Hundreds of birds followed us as we crossed the Drake each way including the largest wingspan bird on Earth (11ft, 6in), the mighty Wandering Albatross.

On they way down, we saw over 100 fin whales (2nd largest whale on Earth) from the boats decks in one day.  Many came right up to the ship and we were able to see them blow, gawk at their fins, and watch their smooth backs as they lolled and rolled in the nearby waves.  One day while we were skiing, a pack of 20 or so killer whales made an up close and personal appearance and blew peoples minds.

The Sea Adventurer and a Zodiac boat. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
The Sea Adventurer and a Zodiac boat. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

This trip was by far the most epic ski trip I’ve been on in my life.  Skiing great lines down to a smooth as silk ocean full of icebergs that dwarfed our 331-foot ship was simply surreal.  The constant penguins, whales, and seals only add to Antarctica’s flourish.

Although I’d been on this trip before, for the first few days, the scenery just wouldn’t register in my brain.  It all looked like a photograph, like a postcard, like somewhere I’d never get to go, like a dream.  After about 4 days of brilliant sunshine and sparkling icebergs, I began to fully understand exactly what I was observing all around me.  Once I finally gained some perspective, I was able to fully drink this place in and it tasted wild.

Gentoo penguins are cute. image: miles clark
Gentoo penguins are cute. image: miles clark

Good skiing, penguins everywhere, daunting ice-cliffs, yawning crevasses, corn snow, scorching sunshine, powder snow, flipping icebergs, crystal clear water, seals, killer whales, fin whales, a 5 star floating hotel, amazing meals, a vicious Black and White party, and the Polar Plunge made this trip almost too much to reasonably psychologically digest.

During our six days on the Antarctic continent, we skied 7 different islands, touched down on the Antarctic Peninsula 4 different times, and visited one research station. 

Doug Stoup and crew. image: rodrigo mujica/Powder South
Doug Stoup and crew. image: rodrigo mujica/Powder South

***

2016 ANTARCTICA TRIP SKIING DETAILS:

Map showing exactly where we landed on the 2016 Ice Axe Expeditions Antarctica trip.
Map showing exactly where we landed on the 2016 Ice Axe Expeditions Antarctica trip.
***Note:  Many other lines were skied and landing zones utilized on this trip.  In the report below, I only outline the skiing and riding that myself and my clients experience.

Day 1:  Half Moon Island & Livingston Island

  • My group skied 3 runs on Half Moon Island along with a few other groups.  A handful of groups went over to Livingston Island and skied some bigger, longer terrain.  Skiing was good on smooth, crunchy, edge-able snow.  Visited a Gentoo Penguin rookery with hundred of Gentoo Penguins and one confused Macaroni Penguin.  Saw some seals.  Saw penguins swimming and jumping.  Light winds, mostly cloudy, temperature:  37ºF.  
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Half Moon Island up top.  Livingston Island below.  Red Circle = landing/pick up.  Red Arrow = lines skied.
Half Moon Island. image: miles clark
Half Moon Island. image: miles clark

Day 2:  Half Moon Island + Deception Island

  • Big wind shut down landing Livingston Island this morning so we all skied a few mellow laps on Half Moon Island in crunchy, edge-able snow.  Cloudy, windy, 31ºF.
  • Moved the ship 4 hours to Deception Island and the sun came out and wind completely halted.  Deception island is the caldera of an active volcano (last known eruption:  August 13, 1970) with an old whaling station dating back to 1906.  Very cool old ships and buildings and tanks in the area.  Excellent corn snow skiing here this day.  1,000-vertical-foot laps.  My group cranked out two of these 1,000′ foot laps and we were screaming and laughing.  The skiing was excellent.  Soft, perfect corn snow.  Sunny skies, zero wind, warm temperatures as high as 50ºF.  We were climbing in only our base layers.
Deception Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Deception Island, a caldera of an active volcano that last erupted in 1970. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.

Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

Day 3:  Nansen Island

  • Steep climb to get onto the island, then wide open terrain with stunning views on this day.  Sunny, warm, cloudless, windless day with temps 32ºF and above.  Skied one run on big wide open terrain off one of the high ridges then skied over to the “mini-Matterhorn” and cranked 3 laps in exquisite corn snow on its flanks.  Big smiles, high fives, and great skiing.  Long traversing ski back to the landing where we belayed clients down a short, 15′, steep section leading back to the shoreline.
Nansen Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Nansen Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.

Brennnan Legasse tearing it up. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Brennnan Legasse tearing it up on Nansen Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

Day 4:  Ronge Island + Artowski Peninsula of Antarctic Peninsula

  • This was my favorite day.  We skied four 600-vertical-foot laps in perfect corn on the east side of Ronge Island.  Sunny, warm, no wind, gorgeous.  A breeze out in the channel blew sea ice into the small bay we were skiing above making it nearly unnavigable for our inflatable boats.  The Expedition Leader closed our landing site and we hoped in an inflatable boat and pushed our way through the ice back to the ship.  Our boat driver let us know that they had seen about 20 killer whales roll through the zone while we were skiing…
  • We returned to the ship, dropped off some clients and guides and noticed that Chris Davenport and crew were headed back out.  One of my clients and I decided to cruise out again immediately.  We followed rock star guide Stefan Palm over to the Artowski peninsula and the guy found true powder snow on a south facing slope on top of cold glacier below an intimidatingly beautiful mountain cirque.  We skied one lap with him then got a boat ride over to where Davenport and crew had skied an aesthetic, steep line on the Artowski.  We climbed up in boots with ice axes out and got about two-thirds of the way up the steep face before dropping in and skiing steep, firm snow back to the beach.  Absolutely exhilarating.
Ronge Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Ronge Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Artowski Peninsula of the Antarctic Peninsula. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Artowski Peninsula of the Antarctic Peninsula. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Mountain Guide Miles Clark skiing with penguins. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain Guide Miles Clark skiing with penguins. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

Day 5:  Charlotte Bay + Bluff Island

  • Gorgeous, sunny day with no wind and spectacular views into Charlotte Bay.  2 fun runs.  1st run hard up top, but softer down low.  2nd run powder up top.  
  • Bluff island was a gem with powder skiing right in front.  We did 2 laps in the 3″ deep pow and had a hoot.  Beautiful sunny weather and amazing views.
  • Charlotte Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
    Charlotte Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
    Bluff Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
    Bluff Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.

    Yes, there are mountains in Antarctica. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
    Yes, there are mountains in Antarctica. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions

Day 6:  King George Island + Artowski Research Base

  • King George Island was the final ski destination of our trip and we didn’t waste it.  The clouds finally returned on this day and we skied under cloudy skis with wind and firm snow.  We skied a firm run that got softer as we went down then a long, fun glacier run – then, later in the afternoon, the sun came back!  We finished the trip skiing 3 steep, corn laps in the brilliant sunshine.
  • We quickly visited Poland’s Artowski research base on King George Island after skiing and just before beginning our sail back to South America.  Cookies, cakes, tea and more is available in the Artowski for free.  Tons of history to soak in and trinkets to buy.  Gentoo penguin colony near the Artowski as well as a major whale cemetery with enormous whale bones strewn about everyone.
King George Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
King George Island. Red Circle = landing/pick up. Red Arrow = lines skied.
Our very last run in Antarctica in blazing sunshine. skier: Theresa. image: miles clark
Our very last run in Antarctica in blazing sunshine. skier: Theresa. image: miles clark

CONCLUSION:

I can’t express how incredible, intense, luxurious, and unique this trip was.  Incredible views and skiing, intense wildlife, luxurious anytime you were in the ship, and a relentlessly unique experience .  There is simply nothing like Antarctica.  It truly is a world unto it’s own.

Miles' crew loving life atop Charlottle Bay. image: miles clark
Miles’ extremely good looking crew loving life atop Charlottle Bay. image: miles clark

Ice Axe Expeditions will be cruising to Antarctica to ski again in November 2017.  I’ve been invited to guide the trip again and I’d love to share this experience with you and yours.

If interested, please email me here for the ski trip of a lifetime:

Contact@SnowBrains.com

***

There’s really nothing more that I can convey to you in words about this place.  I’ll let the 100+ photos below tell the rest of the story.  Thanks to everyone.  Such an unreal trip.

ANTARCTICA PHOTO TOUR:

Orcas up close. image: christian geissler
Orcas up close. image: christian geissler
Miles Clark. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Miles Clark and crew on Ronge Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Sunset and icebergs. image: miles clark
Sunset and icebergs. image: miles clark
Singing Chinstrap penguins and the Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
Singing Chinstrap penguins and the Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
 image: miles clark
image: miles clark
Flying penguins. image: Jeet Kalsi
Flying penguins. image: Jeet Kalsi
The 333-foot Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
The 333-foot Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
Simply stunning... image: miles clark
Simply stunning… image: miles clark
Orcas. image: Jeet Kalsi
Orcas. image: Jeet Kalsi
Identical twins Theresa and Rachie first in for the Polar Plunge. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Identical twins Theresa and Rachie first in for the Polar Plunge. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Sunset in Antarctica. Simply stunning... image: miles clark
Sunset in Antarctica. Simply stunning… image: miles clark
Chinstrap penguins. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Chinstrap penguins. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Rachie showing off her moves on the deck. image: theresa
Rachie showing off her moves on the deck. image: theresa
 image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Another stellar day. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Another stellar day. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Simply stunning... image: miles clark
Skiable? image: miles clark
Mountain guide Andrew McLean fueling the stoke. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Andrew McLean fueling the stoke. image: miles clark
Iceberg spires. image: miles clark
Iceberg spires. image: miles clark
Relax. image: miles clark
Relax. image: miles clark
Antarctic Magic. image: rodrigo mujica/Powder South
Antarctic Magic. image: rodrigo mujica/Powder South

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image: miles clark
image: miles clark
This is how you move icebergs. image: ode silvonen
This is how you move icebergs. image: ode silvonen
BBQ stoke. image: miles clark
BBQ stoke. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Ode is cool. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Ode is cool. image: miles clark
Joe & Chris on a mission on Bluff Island. image: miles clark
Joe & Chris on a mission on Bluff Island. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Jorge. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Jorge. image: miles clark
Rich Meyer pointing out something very cool. An archway in an iceberg. image: miles clark
Rich Meyer pointing out something very cool. An archway in an iceberg. image: miles clark
Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Gentoo penguin. photo: miles clark
Gentoo penguin. photo: miles clark
Ice Axe Expeditions www.iceaxe.tv
Ice Axe Expeditions
www.iceaxe.tv
Da crew. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Da crew. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
 image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
This is how we load the inflatable boats. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
This is how we load the inflatable boats. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain Guide Chris Davenport. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain Guide Chris Davenport. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Theresa is strong. image: rachie
Theresa is strong. image: rachie
The Sea Adventurer at night. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
The Sea Adventurer at night. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Ode getting air. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Ode getting air. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Guides Ode and Andrew soaking in the Darke Passage. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Guides Ode and Andrew soaking in the Darke Passage. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
 image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
The White Party. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
The White Party. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
 image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Brennnan Legasse tearing it up. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Brennnan Legasse tearing it up. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain guide Andrew McLean. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain guide Andrew McLean. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Miles' crew on Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Miles’ crew on Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
 image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Ice Axe Expeditions www.iceaxe.tv
Ice Axe Expeditions
www.iceaxe.tv

15110243_10157672689055167_1881693702286870956_o

Mountain guide Chris Davenport spreading the love.
Mountain guide Chris Davenport spreading the love.
Anchor. image: miles clark
Anchor. image: miles clark

dscn4927

Happy Birthday song. image: miles clark
Happy Birthday song. image: miles clark
Twins. image: miles clark
Twins. image: miles clark
Antarctic sunset. image: miles clark
Antarctic sunset. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Jorge. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Jorge. image: miles clark
Lead Guide Angela Hawse waiting for pick up after sea ice blew in and closed down our landing site on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Lead Guide Angela Hawse waiting for pick up after sea ice blew in and closed down our landing site on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Simply stunning... image: miles clark
Simply stunning… image: miles clark
Sunset in Antarctica. Simply stunning... image: miles clark
Sunset in Antarctica. Simply stunning… image: miles clark
The 333-foot Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
The 333-foot Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
Miles' crew happy on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Miles’ crew happy on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Lead guide Angela House being lead by a penguin on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Lead guide Angela House being lead by a penguin on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
BBQ Dance Party. image: miles clark
BBQ Dance Party. image: miles clark
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Poland’s Artowski research base on King George Island and whale vertebrae. image: miles clark
Bluff island powder. image: miles clark
Bluff island powder. image: miles clark

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Deception island whaling station. image: miles clark
Deception island whaling station. image: miles clark
Seals! image: theresa
Seals! image: theresa
Lowering a Zodiac. image: miles clark
Lowering a Zodiac. image: miles clark
Glassy seas, skiers, and icebergs. image: miles clark
Glassy seas, skiers, and icebergs. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Joe, pipe, and sunset. image: miles clark
Mountain guide Joe, pipe, and sunset. image: miles clark
Crystal. image: miles clark
Crystal. image: miles clark
Iceberg archway. image: miles clark
Iceberg archway. image: miles clark
Jim's people feeling happy. image: miles clark
Jim’s people feeling happy. image: miles clark
Twins. image: miles clark
Twins. image: miles clark
Lead Guide Angela Hawse waiting for pick up after sea ice blew in and closed down our landing site on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Lead Guide Angela Hawse waiting for pick up after sea ice blew in and closed down our landing site on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
The 333-foot Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
The 333-foot Sea Adventurer. image: miles clark
Theresa and her perfect form on Ronge Island . image: miles clark
Theresa and her perfect form on Ronge Island . image: miles clark
Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Simply stunning... image: miles clark
Simply stunning… image: miles clark
Miles' crew happy on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
Miles’ crew happy on Ronge Island. image: miles clark
image: miles clark
image: miles clark
image: miles clark
Nansen island.  image: miles clark
Gentoo penguin. photo: miles clark
Gentoo penguin. photo: miles clark
Ice Axe Expeditions www.iceaxe.tv
Ice Axe Expeditions
www.iceaxe.tv
Charlotte Bay. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Charlotte Bay. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Ice Axe Expeditions www.iceaxe.tv
Mountian guides Miles, Andrew, Rich, Chris lovieng it.  image:  theresa
Shipwreck and skiers. image: theresa mellas
Shipwreck and skiers. image: theresa mellas
Good times.
Good times.
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Miles' crew on Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Miles’ crew on Deception Island. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain guide Ode Silvonen. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
Mountain guide Ode Silvonen. image: Court Leve/Ice Axe Expeditions
image: miles clark
image: miles clark
English straight in the South Shetland Islands. image: miles clark
English straight in the South Shetland Islands. image: miles clark

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