Snowy adventures on the Last Continent

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of July 31-August 6, 1997
Sightseeing around Anchorage, Alaska
Snowy adventures on the Last Continent
Family vacations away from Disneyland
Summer ski trips near Portland, Oregon
January getaways around the globe

Snowy adventures on the Last Continent
Question: I am looking to get to Antarctica this winter and would like a trip that will provide me with more excitement than simply looking at penguins from a boat deck. With all of the ice and snow, I would love to find a trip that centers on skiing and mountaineering. I have contacted a company in London whose prices were a little out of my range. Any suggestions?

Alan Vieiro
Bound Brook, NJ
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: The reason you're running into trouble finding a relatively inexpensive jaunt into the wilds of the Last Continent is that there is no tourist infrastructure to support the kind of trip you're looking for.

Unless you want to hole up in McMurdo Station with the research scientists who take occasional breathers to the Ellsworth Mountains, you're going to pay through the nose.

Adventure Network International (011-44-1494-671808) is the only company I've seen that offers exactly what you're looking for: a strenuous, two-week wilderness ski into the Ellsworth Mountains, but it's probably the same company you've already checked out. In all honesty, $15,000 isn't too unreasonable to schuss into some of the world's most unskied terrain, considering that your average Everest climbing expedition costs $65,000.

If you are really adverse to simply "looking at penguins from a boat deck" and want a twist of the bizarre, consider Forum Travel International's (510-671-2900) skydive trip, designed for the person who's done it all. You'll jump from 18,000 feet into the eternally celestial blues and frosted whites of Antarctica. The $22,000 pricetag excluded, this could be the adrenaline rush you're looking for.

Wacky itineraries aside, I haven't come across anything other than the average boat tour, which you're trying to avoid. Though by my estimation the scenery would be anything but average. Just for the fun of it, look into Mountain Travel Sobek's ship-based excursion. The price is much less prohibitive ($4,295 to $5,795), and you'll visit a passel of Antarctic destinations before cruising back to Ushuaia. Call 800-227-2384 for more details.

Marine Expeditions does a more academic, elongated version of virtually the same trip, with prices ranging from $2,995 to $5,495. Call 800-263-9147 for more details.

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