Trip Report: Skiing Sunshine & Powder in Antarctica With Ice Axe Expeditions 2018

Miles Clark | | Trip ReportTrip Report
Doug ripping down. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Sunshine dominated our trip to Antarctica in November 2018 with Ice Axe Expeditions.

The 2018 trip was simply epic.

***If interested in skiing/riding Antarctica in 2021 or 2022, please email me:

Miles and team on Nansen Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

It makes me reel just thinking about it…

We skied powder, soaked in mind-bending vistas, ate delicious food, hung out with penguins, watched whales fly, and laughed.

We laughed a lot.

It feels like cheating to be in such an intense, frozen landscape when the warm sun is barreling down allowing you to appreciate every square inch of the place.

The Ocean Adventurer. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

97 clients and 24 mountain guides from 18 different countries set sail in the 331-foot newly remodeled (including 2 new more powerful, quieter Rolls Royce engines) Ocean Adventurer from Ushuaia, Argentina (the furthest south city on Earth) with Ice Axe Expeditions on November 3rd, 2018.

It took us less than 2 days to cross the most notorious open water passage on Earth – The Drake Passage.

Scale. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

When you first arrive in Antarctica and see the towering masses of ice – the icebergs, the ice cliffs, the glaciers – you’re stunned.

You’re unsure. 

You’re baffled.

Then, it all starts to make sense.

Friends. Deception Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

You start to wind your way through the icebergs, up the glaciers, around the ice cliffs. 

Your perspective changes. 

You change.


The most gorgeous peak in Antarctica. image: snowbrains




Ice Axe Expeditions Antarctica 2018.


Day 1:  Deception Island


Deception Island.

Our first stop was an active volcano:  Deception Island. 

The snow came down hard at Deception Island.

Most opted not to ski in the white-out as we perused the ruins of an early 1800s whaling camp. 

The snow stacked up, the penguins waddled, and the sand steamed from volcanic energy.

Satisfied, we packed up and headed to the continent of Antarctica. 

As we left Deception Isle, a Humpback Whale breached 10 times next to our ship. 

We took it as a welcoming.

Lone Penguin and the Ocean Adventurer. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Day 2:  Chiriguano Bay on Brabant Island


Brabant Island.

Filtered sunshine & powder awaited us on our first ski day at Brabant Island. 

Chiriguano Bay delivered 4″ of powder snow and terrifically fun skiing all over.

Mt. Victoria is always an impressive & gorgeous ski.

We watched a Leopard Seal stalking penguins and the penguins running from him. 

The Angels of Antarctica, Snow Petrels, graced our presence this day.

Todd kicking up smoke on Brabant Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Day 3:  Ronge Island & Arctowski Peninsula


Ronge Island.

4-8″ of new snow.


Our highest summit of the trip – Mount Tennant. 

Amazing views, great photos.

We came home for “High Tea” then cruised back out for a run on the Arctowski Peninsula of the Antarctic Peninsula that was pure cold powder fun.

On our way home, we saw 2 Humpback Whales from only 50′ away. 

Then swam right past us and we could hear their deep, hollow, loud breathing.

Doug on a perfect day on Ronge Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Day 4:  Paradise Bay & Antarctic Peninsula


Paradise Bay.

We skied “Main Bowl” in Paradise Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The snow was hard but smooth and skied like a groomer.

When then crossed over to a different part of Paradise Bay and skied 2 fantastic “sun-kissed snow” runs before heading back to the ship.

We did the Polar Plunge this night into 32ºF water in the sunshine and then held our outdoor BBQ on the back deck and the setting was spectacular. 

The all you can drink hot spiced wine didn’t hurt anything.

Todd Offenbacher’s comedy-adventure slideshow was the highlight of the indoor entertainment on the trip, as per usual.

Andrew up. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Day 5:  Nansen Island


Nansen Island.

Great tour on day 5 as we wound our way back into the depths of the island and back. 

1 run, 2 runs, then 3 more runs back in a zone I love on the edge of the isle.

Wild views from up there.

Warm this day.

We went on a fun Zodiac cruise to nearby Enterprise Island to see the old shipwreck.

I jumped in the hot tub this night for the first time and watched the sunset. 


Miles down on Nansen Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Day 6:  Livingston Island


Livingston Island.

This day started sunny and nice and quickly became cloudy, windy, and cold.

We did 1 run in the main zone.

On our 2nd run, the wind became an issue and we pulled the plug and headed back to the ship.

After lunch and a nap, we headed to Half Moon Island and to spend time with the Chinstrap colony.

We watched a Giant Southern Petrel eating a dead seal and it was intense. 

Thor & seal on Livingston Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray


Day 7:  Headed Home


From the Antarctic Peninsula to Southern South America.

Our last ski day was canceled due to extreme weather approaching the Drake Passage. 

Our captain made the right call. 

Other boats stayed one more day and had to turn around and seek shelter for days after attempting the Drake. 

This storm was potent but we made across before its full fury was realized.

Polar plunge. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

I can’t express how incredible, intense, luxurious, and unique this trip is. 

Incredible views and skiing, in-your-face wildlife, ridiculous luxury anytime you’re in the ship, a fascinating social scene, and relentlessly unique experience.  

There is simply nothing like Antarctica.  

It truly is a world unto its own.

Ice Axe Expeditions will be cruising to Antarctica to ski again in November 2020.

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:


Up. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

I’ll let the 100+ photos below tell the rest of the story.  

Thanks to everyone.  

Such an unreal trip…


Zodiac rides rule. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Down above the turquoise. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Thor style. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Epic kayaking here. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Miles mean mug powder skiing. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Headed up. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
‘Sup? image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Seal. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Above and below. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Terrain. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Ice formations. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Doug on a perfect day. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Rope in the wind. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Penguin jumps. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
The Ocean Adventurer. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Rugged. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Deception Island. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Miles on Deception Isle. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Arrival. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
Doug to the sea. image: tyler wilkinson-ray
The Ice Axe crew 2018. image: snowbrains
Chinstrap penguin sings. image: snowbrains
Iceberg spire. image: snowbrains
Sunset sparkle. image: snowbrains
Sunset. image: snowbrains
Sharp. image: snowbrains
Enterprise Island. image: snowbrains
Our tracks in the powder. image: snowbrains
Unnamed peak. image: snowbrains
Penguins and our ship. image: snowbrains
Blue on blue. image: snowbrains
The Ocean Adventurer. image: snowbrains
Walls. image: snowbrains
Leopard seal. image: snowbrains
Whale oil tanks. Deception Island. image: snowbrains
Fur Seal. Deception Island. image: snowbrains
Penguin amongst the rubble. Deception Island. image: snowbrains
Snowing hard at Deception Island. image: snowbrains
Brennan and Torah to the summit. image: tyler wilkinson-ray

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