Doug Stoup has been pioneering ski descents along the Western Antarctic Peninsula since 2000. He’s led 15 expeditions to the peninsula and says it is by far one of the most spectacular ski destinations on the planet. One of Stoup’s biggest challenges organizing a trip like this is accommodating 120 skier’s different needs and expectations. “Most of the client’s goal is to ski Antarctica,” said Stoup. “My goal is for them to become an ambassador for the continent. The Antarctic is a place I fell in love with and it has not disappointed anyone.”
Stoup’s company, Ice Axe Expeditions is the only company that offers ski expeditions to this extremely remote corner of the globe. The terrain is awesome, snow conditions are fantastic and the maritime snowpack makes it fairly predictable.
Skiers start in Argentina’s southern most city, Ushuaia. Here, they can take a 10-minute taxi lift to the foot of the Marcial glacier and ski the rugged and jagged peaks of Terra Del Fuego before leaving port on the company’s 300-ft. Sea Adventurer ship. The ship becomes base camp for the next few weeks.
One of the biggest challenges of the expeditions is the 600 mile Drake Passage Crossing to the Antarctic Peninsula. The Drake Passage contains some of the roughest seas in the world.
With all of the peninsula’s terrain, Ice Axe guides and staff are able to find suitable terrain for every skier.
The beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula is unlike anywhere else on the planet. The pristine untouched mountains come right out of the water and the wildlife is everywhere – millions of penguins, thousands of seals and hundreds of whales.
Skiers and guides use zodiacs to get to shore from the Sea Adventure where they arrive at glaciers that come right down to the water.
Glacier travel skills are a must on the Antarctic Peninsula. Here, Hans Saari and Rick Armstrong Erickson put their skills to good use.
Thirteen years ago Stoup visited the Antarctic Peninsula with friends Kristoffer Erickson, John Griber, Rick Armstrong and Hans Saari to ski Mt. Scott.
Stoup and his friends skied the first ascent of the west face of Mt. Scott with plenty of turns off the summit, 18,000 feet above the water. “It was one of the great moments of my life,” says Stoup.
On the same trip Stoup took 13 years ago he and his friends coined this run “Sex Troll.”