Photo: Scott Fennell.
For our last day of skiing in Antarctica, the ship brought us to some mellow terrain around Discovery Bay on Greenwich Island, where the emphasis seemed to be on seeing seals and penguins, rather than skiing. And since it was long night of partying on the ship for many the night before, a lot of the people on the ship seemed content with just sitting around and recovering.
Photo: Scott Fennell.
Our group on the other hand, really wanted to make the most of the day, since the sun was out and it would be our last chance to ski on the white continent…at least on this trip. It took a while to get everything dialed for our zodiac shuttle to the shore, and we didn’t leave the ship until around 10am. With the terrain being pretty featureless, we set our sights on the one prominent snow dome that pushed upward out of the big, flat snowy plateau.
The peak was caked with rime and topped with a mushroom-like summit, and although it didn’t really hold any super-sick ski lines, it would for sure still offer great views from the top. The skinning was a bit tricky because of all the rime, but we were able to keep the skis on our feet for the entire ascent.
Photo Scott Fennell.
At the top, we had great views of the area near Half Moon Island, where we had skied a few days earlier. In the distance, many island ridges and spires poked up out of the sea, and one wonders how many more you would see if you were swimming around underwater.
It was hard to leave the summit because it was so warm and such a nice day, but we picked our way down on ribs of softer wind-blown snow, and made our way back to the shore. Our next skiing zone was near a Chilean scientific base and a Chilean flag donned the top to the peak behind it. As we went upward, we could tell that the skiing was going to be awesome, as the sun was softening the snow, making it prime time for a harvest.
After picking our way through some rime covered rocks, we reached a col and then dropped into a nice chute. Wanting more, we then booted up a short narrow line to the skier’s right. The snow was a little mankier, but still offered some great skiing above the Chilean base.
Our 4 o’clock pick up time was approaching quickly, so we raced uphill again and milked another run which lead to a steep slope down to some sea ice. It felt great to being skiing such great corn snow and have such good weather for the last day of the trip.
The Clipper Adventurer docks back in Ushuaia on the 17th and marks the end of the IceAxe Antarctic Ski Cruise. And although there was one hiccup with an injury that forced a change of itinerary, I think everyone, including myself, still had a fantastic time and I want to thank Doug Stoup and Karyn Stanley for making the adventure possible.
I will be spending one day in Ushuaia before making my way north to Mendoza and part two of my six week journey to the southern hemisphere, before winter kicks in full swing back in Jackson. Ciao for now!!!
Sam Bass says goodbye to Antarctica.