Skiing Across Alaska: Our Story Draws to a Close

Apr 29, 2011
Outside Magazine

To raise awareness about first responders diagnosed with PTSD, guest blogger Michael Ferrara plans to ski 900 miles across Alaska, south to north, from the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic Ocean, with his dog, Lhotse, trotting beside him. To learn more about Ferrara's quest, read The Man Who Saw Too Much and check out his web site,


Well, gentle reader, our story draws to a close...

Due to the dry conditions in the interior and my injury, it seems wise to finish this trip here. Although I might still be able to catch the train to Fairbanks, it would sort of corrupt the concept. Since I cannot yet walk down stairs, going solo into the bush seems a bit injudicious. We did manage to cover about 250 miles—more if you count the train ride, but you probably won’t.

Like so many projects of such broad scope the priorities of the objectives change throughout the trip. In the midst of all the hoopla I at first was focused on the trip to Prudoe. The adventure of it was all that seemed to matter.

As the trip progressed I began to remember the purpose. I was skiing across Alaska to bring attention to the need for resources for civilians with PTSD. And somehow I kept getting drawn back to that topic.

I had trouble holding on to that goal. There was so much joy and beauty around me and within me it was hard to go into that darkness. It was then I remembered the real underlying goal that started this whole thing. I wanted a brilliant trip with my brother Lhotse. I wanted to rediscover the beauty and the joy. I wanted to use the new tool I had found in Nordic skiing to restore my spirit.

In the end I got so much more. I met so many incredible people on my journey. I rekindled old friendships and my love for Alaska. I rediscovered the joy of exertion and the importance of simplicity.


At first I was disappointed I had not achieved my goal, I later realized I had far surpassed it. As I have so often said since my breakdown, I’m the luckiest man in the world. Thanks to all the people who helped me the last two years.

I think the project is still a good one. I think that with what I have learned this time I can go back next year and get er done.  No doing laundry however.

I sure hope my sister likes her Moose droppings jewelry.

I got an email from a woman who asked if Lhotse was real or did I make him up. I must now confess, I made Lhotse up, I also made up Alaska.

Thanks again and Happy Trails from,

The Boyz in the Woodz


--Michael Ferrara

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!