Talking Antarctica with Tim Konrad on the eve of UnofficialSquaw’s South Pole ski trip

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on October 26, 2009 2:29 pm

Skiing in Antarctica?  The unforgiving place where explorers of yore ended up frozen tundra?  Ernest Shackleton anyone?  November 1, Tim Konrad and crew from UnofficialSquaw.com will be heading on a ski trip for the ages.  Of all the continents, Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and has the highest elevation.  I spoked to Tim as last minute preparations were being made.

Q: Antarctica, for real?
TK: It got started last year, they did another expedition I had some friends go on, unfortunately the boat broke down.  The wildlife is everywhere.  We’re planning this little trip to go down there.

Q: What’s the terrain like down there?
TK: It’s a continuation of the Andes mountains, the biggest peak around our area is 8000 feet.  There’s a ton of mini-golf short lines right on the water.

Q: Give us the roster.  Who’s joining you?
TK: Greg Martin (photo/video), Mattias Sullivan, and Ralph Backstrom

Q: Any others on the trip?
TK: Actually 40-50 people are going on the trip.  There’s two other production groups, and tourists just looking to go skiing there. 

Q: From where do you embark?
TK: Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world.  In Argentina, it’s a small little outpost, the main jump-off point for heading to that part of Antarctica. 

Q: What’s the itinerary?
TK: Ushuaia for four days.  There’s a glacier there with a small ski resort.  It’s closed now, but we’ll trek in there.  Then it’s two days across Drake’s Passage.  Deception Island is our first stop.  The island is just off the mainland of Antarctica.  Then we’ll cross over to the mainland, and spend 10 days there.  We’ll sleep on the boat the whole time.

Once we get to shore, we’ll hike up or skin up to the objectives.  We’re meeting up with Doug Stoup of Ice Axe Expeditions to talk about those objectives.

Q: Doug Stoup?
TK: Yeah, he walked to both poles by himself!  He’s totally sold on the place.  He’s been to Antarctica like seven times.

Q: Lots of sun this time of year…
TK: We’ll have 19 hours of sunlight to hike/film/and ski continuously.   Cool low angle light for extended periods of time.  That evening and early morning glow.

Q: I haven’t heard of skiing in Antarctica.  Hip me, is this new, or have I just been out of the loop?
TK: There has been no skiing going on down there.  There’s been early expeditions and science stations down there, but there really hasn’t been any skiing going on.  The Ukraine has a big science station there.  Tourists go down there, and they just cruise around with the penguins.  Outside of that you have to get permits.  Very few people who’ve brought ski gear.

Q: You have a videographer coming down, so what are your plans for the footage?
TK: We’re going to try to condense it down into a short documentary.  Bigger picture for unofficialsquaw, we want to do more travel documentaries, make this expedition a segment for a larger ski film.

Q: What are you looking forward to most?
TK: Skiing with the penguins.  There’s penguins everywhere, it’s fucking Antarctica, you know.

photos by Kristoffer Erickson

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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