I just had to shovel the walk for the first time this year, as well as scrape off my car.  My windshield is fogged, there’s a leaf stuck in the blower fan, and only 2 of the lines are working on the rear defroster.  I cant feel my fingers on the steering wheel, and I couldn’t be happier: snowboarding season has arrived!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Snowboarding Antarctica PART 1: From Beagle to Glacier

“In preparation for landing, we ask that all passengers power down their approved electronics”

To hell with that. I have to get a picture of this!

After traveling for nearly 28 hours, my plane had  just flown over Ushuaia, and we were now circling back over the Beagle Channel to make our approach for the runway:

November 5, 2011

Sleeping on the plane was easy; I had stayed up all night packing.  I was pushing things to the last minute as usual.  Whatever, I got it done.  With my board-bag, backpack, and one massive piece of luggage and I was set to leave for Antarctica.  Since I have the greatest parents in the world, they made the 3 hour trip from Medicine Had just to see me off at the airport (Given my history of serious injury, maybe they were convinced that it would be their last opportunity to see me alive).

November 6, 2011

Ushuaia was a neat little city with one main drag.  At the end of this street there is a museum that is an old prison.  Unfortunately I never made it there.  I was planning to do so on the way back through, but they were not open on Sundays (oh well, I’ll just have to go next time I’m casually passing through the most southern city in the world).

November 8, 2011

After settling in for a couple of days, and meeting the rest of the Ice Axe team, we got together in our groups and headed to the Martial glacier to make sure our equipment was in order and to get some turns in.  It was a bit of a hike to get to the glacier from the parking lot, but the scenery was nice.

While most teams went up early in the day due to bad weather rolling in, we did not.  We went later in the day.  We got wet.  We got very very wet.  Thankfully I had the foresight to put plastic bags over my snowboard boots, which I had slung over my backpack for the hike up.  When we reached snow we changed footwear, dropped our skis (or splitboard as the case may be), and started our approach.  Did I mention that we were wet?

Did I also mention that this was my first time skinning?  It took me a while to get the hang of it, but managed to reach our destination.  Switching to ride mode, it was time to make our first turns.  South America – check!

One more reason to go to Antarctica: you get a bonus continent along the way!

Next up: Boarding the Clipper Adventurer and making our way across the Drake Passage.

Sent off with a… Dusting

20111104-101753.jpg

How appropriate. My last day in Calgary and we get the first snowfall of the season. What a nice segue to my Antarctic trip.

Itinerary

Although it’s subject to change.  This is what my current itinerary looks like:

T Minus 1-Week


This is an exciting time. I have a cocktail of mixed emotions flowing through my mind. I’m about to leave on the biggest trip of my life in one week, but I don’t know if I’m ready.

One one hand, I look back to where I was a few short months ago, and I’ve really made enormous progress. I’ve purchased a splitboard and countless other pieces of back-country equipment, I’ve done a pile of reading and taken a course on crevasse rescue, and I’ve done tons of standard travel preparation such as booking flights, getting vaccinations, and reading about my destination (I’ve also checked out the mountains and harbors in Antarctica that I’ll be visiting in Google Earth: way cool).

However, my mind is still pulsing with the critical next steps which need to take place before I can leave. I have long way to go, and a short time to get there… No, that’s not quite right… that’s a Jerry Reed song. What I’m getting at is it’s time to make things happen! No more wandering aimlessly in Wikipedia for endless hours, no more angry birds*, no more yielding to my inner “Lazy Brian” (who never wears pants and spends his time watching TV); it’s time to take ownership of my time and get an action plan!

First step is to take my own advice and brain-dump into a notebook. The times when I’ve felt stressed and have done so have always left me feeling… well, relieved. Seriously though, next time you feel overwhelmed, just start writing out everything that’s bothering you; followed by an action plan for each.  I’m always surprised by how many of the things I worry about are something I have absolutely no control over.

Once I have that done, the priorities will certainly become clear. Oh, look: right now I’m supposed to be playing dress up with my gear to make sure it all fits (and pretending to be snowboarding, making wooshing noises, obviously).

Well, time to get back to the task at hand. “Woosh, woosh, woosh …”

* I just got an iPhone about a week ago and it has very much made preparing for for this trip easier. I’ve been putting all my preparation notes into Evernote so I can access it anywhere, whether it be a shopping list, or things to do while I’m out etc. The downside is how much addicting the arcade games are. Meh; lesser of two evils I guess.

The Journey Begins

“Brian, I don’t care what it takes; you have to do this thing!”

-My Brother, three weeks ago

After months of contemplation and weeks of prep, I finally booked a trip that will change my life. I have many many things remaining to do, but as Lau-tzu put it, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and that step happened today.

Let me start with some background. I’ve always wanted to snowboard on every continent, but I thought it was just an impossible dream; I mean, like you could actually ski in Antarctica. Well as it turns out, yes, you can ski in Antarctica, and there’s a ski expedition going this November. Unfortunately it costs a small fortune; in fact, it would cost me all my savings. Well, I guess that’s that, I can’t afford to go.

However, I’ve had some interesting influences in my life recently. Between the book I’ve been reading (4-Hour Work Week), Dale Carnegie classes (highly recommended), and one very inspirational phone call with my brother, I had enough positive encouragement to follow my heart and live my dream. I sent the deposit for the trip today and it was like a giant weight being lifted off my chest. I know now with one-hundred percent certainty that I’m doing the right thing.

I’m super stoked about everything right now. I can’t wait to be in shape, because this trip has given me the drive to actually work out and eat better so I can manage the backcountry hikes. I want to learn enough Spanish to get around Argentina during my layovers. I have so much to read up on about the Antarctic Peninsula, and so much practice to do with my camera. Not to mention all the equipment I need to beg, borrow, rent, or as a last resort purchase for this trip. And I’m looking forward to it all.

I’m also excited to share my experiences during adventure. I’ve never been much of a writer, although it’s interested me, but once again this trip has given me the final nudge to do it. I hope this blog is interesting, informative, and entertaining to you, or maybe even helps you to stop chasing your dreams and actually live them.

“Do or do not, there is no try.”

-Yoda

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