The ColdAvenger is headed north. Way north. We’re helping a racer protect his lungs and airway in The Polar Challenge this spring, and we couldn’t be more excited.
The Polar Challenge is a 320-nautical mile race from Resolute Bay, Canada to the 1996 position of the Magnetic North Pole. Racing in teams of three, participants cover some of the most extreme, beautiful terrain on Earth. The race has been held between mid-April to mid-May every year since 2004 and is a televised event in 107 countries. Teams take approximately four weeks to complete the race. Teams usually Nordic ski between 14-18 hours per day with minimal sleep.
Here’s what Philip Hayday-Brown, the Operations Director says about the training that goes into this challenge:
First step is the Norway training which happens in January, during the training they learn all the skills they need to be able to survive and race in the arctic environment. The main skills being learning how to cross country ski, work the stoves, set up the tent and how to deal with polar bears.
Second step is the training in the Arctic, the teams are based in Resolute Bay, one of the most Northerly communities. While there they undergo more of the same training they had in Norway but this time in the actual environment they will be racing in. A number of different skills will be taught here such as shot gun practice, making ice runways and a lot more on polar bear drills.
After 2 days training around the hotel they are then taken out on a mini expedition (which lasts 3 days) to test their equipment and to acclimatizes to the conditions. The teams then have 1 more night in the hotel before setting off on the 5 day acclimatization ski to the start line – this is where the teams iron out any problems and get used to traveling for 10-12 hours a day.
Once at the start line they get one nights rest then they line up, we shoot the gun to start the race and they’re off and for the first time they are on their own in one of the worlds last real wildernesses. There are 2 checkpoints on route where they are resupplied with food and fuel before heading out again, eventually reaching the 1996 magnetic North pole position.
Once finished they are picked up by a twin otter aircraft and flown back to Resolute Bay, then on the next flight back to Ottawa then home. The next time they will meet the other racers is at the awards dinner, where the winning team receive the trophy.
Dell Weingarten, from Nevada, is one of this season’s competitors, and used the ColdAvenger while training in Norway. He loved it and is planning to take it with him for the duration of the expedition. His two teammates are Debbie Halbert from Hawaii and Ellen Piangerelli from Rhode Island. All three entered a contest from Wired Magazine to qualify for the Polar Challenge. His team beat out hundreds of applicants and was chosen as the first all-American team to enter.
Dell says, “I had a great training week in Norway, I liked the mask, but was only able to try it out to -10 F.Skiing and hiking 368 miles in the arctic, pulling a 100 lb sled, melting snow for our water and keeping an eye out for polar bears. It is amazing what some people do for fun.”
Good luck Dell! Watch out for Polar Bears and wear your mask!
John B. Sullivan, III aka ColdAvenger Pro