Randosteve skis above Cierva Cove. Photo: Scott Fennell.
In my world, and any other fan of backcountry skiing, today was a day dreams are made of. After being cooped up on the Clipper Adventurer for two days crossing the Drake Passage, the clouds parted and the winds eventually mellowed to allow for an amazing day skiing above the ocean and amongst glaciers under brilliant blue skies.
On the zodiac heading away from the Clipper Adventurer.
The day started a bit on the windy side but the seas were calm, which allowed for an easy, stress free and dry commute in the zodiacs from the mother ship to the snow in Cierva Cove. One by one, skiers and riders were transported to the shore and began skinning upward. My group started upward in the same fashion and then booted up a short couloir which brought us to the top of a peak in the middle of some of the most amazing views on this planet of ours.
Thomas Laakso and Glen Poulsen skinning in Antarctica.
Though we were at the bottom of the globe, we felt like we were on top for the world and our cheeks hurt from the endless smiles and grins we had on our faces. The snow sucked, frozen and crusty, but really…it didn’t matter one bit as we carved tracks on the southern most continent and we hacked out way down the couloir.
Steve Romeo skis a chute above Cierva Cove. Photo Scott Fennell.
Continuing further, we skied an open face in front of deep blue crevasses on a distant glacier. A blue that was hard to capture on film, but quite mesmerizing non-the-less. Wanting more vertical, we cut towards the skier’s right and found a slot that brought us down to spot just a few feet above the sea. Skiing right down the ocean was a first for me, and a very memorable moment that I will cherish for a long time…if not forever.
Kellie Okonek rips in front of an Antarctic glacier.
After booting up a few hundred feet, we transitioned back to skins and continued to the highpoint of the area. Chatter on the radios noted that the tide was heading out, making it more and more difficult for the zodiac landings on shore and signaled the end of the ski day. Riding in the bow, I kicked back and absorbed a much as I could of where we just were, and though I was on cloud nine, it became ingrained in my brain.
Thomas Laakso boots above the ocean in Antarctica.
We are all now back on the ship, drinking beer and planning the next day’s ski day. We are headed to Anvers Island tomorrow, home of the US Palmer Station scientific base, and 2 hour cruise southward. Hopefully the weather will hold and we can experience bliss once again.