In November 2019, a team of Olympians, professional athletes, and Protect Our Winters (POW) ambassadors Danny Davis, Nick Russell, and Elena Hight embarked on a journey to ski and snowboard amidst the rugged terrain, breathtaking glaciers, and exotic wildlife in one of Earth’s last frontiers - Antarctica. This team of friends brought their world-class talents to the highest, driest, and coldest continent on Earth with the team at Ice Axe Expeditions. This 14-day adventure not only brought these three friends on a unique experience to the frozen continent, but also brought individuals representing 20 different countries on an experience of a lifetime and to ultimately return home as new ambassadors to the most fragile environment on our planet.
"Riding Remote" - A Trip To Antarctica with Danny Davis, Nick Russell and Elena Hight
More people have summited Mount Everest than have skied and snowboarded Antarctica. Founder and President of Ice Axe Expeditions, Douglas Stoup, characterizes Antarctica as a rose...
“...Getting to Antarctica is like passing through valleys of thorns as you cross the Drakes Passage - the most dangerous ocean passage on Earth. But once you get through the thorns, you are rewarded by the most visually stimulating and beautiful landscape you have ever seen - those like rose pedals...”
20 years ago, Doug Stoup had a dream to bring 100 of his best friends on a trip to Antarctica to also experience the pristine and awe-inspiring white continent that had changed his perspective on life. Inspired by the legacy of Antarctic discovery, adventurous friends from around the world can now journey to Antarctica to ski and snowboard with some of the world’s most experienced guides. Doug has built a team of world-class guides from around the world to ensure the safest and most transformative experiences in an effort to create memories that last a lifetime.
Danny Davis, Nick Russell and Elena Hight together traveled through alleys of icebergs and explored harbors and bays while surrounded by clouds of seabirds and curious Antarctic wildlife. While adventuring across 50,000-year-old glaciers, they were immersed in the raw beauty of a land covered by ice. The fragility of the environment echoes as you hear magnificent glaciers calve into the Southern Ocean.
However, traveling to Antarctica incurs a cost. Danny, Nick, and Elena along with their guide team and camera crew each traveled from Lake Tahoe, California. This long-distance travel created a significant amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere that, in turn, leads to the continued and unfortunate collapse of these glaciated environments.
In association with Protect Our Winters (POW), a non-profit organization that was founded by Jeremy Jones with a huge alliance of athletes, brands, scientists and artists who work to mobilize all members of the outdoor community in climate policy, advocacy, and activism. This Antarctic team used POW’s Cost of Carbon Calculator as a method of offsetting their carbon footprint from their homes in Lake Tahoe to Antarctica and back.
"...With the POW Cost of Carbon Calculator, each member of the team was able to purchase offsets and chose where their carbon offset credits would go towards..."
Each member of this team’s carbon footprint amounted to about 16,000 pounds. With the POW Cost of Carbon Calculator, each member of the team was able to purchase offsets and chose where their carbon offset credits would go towards. Some of the verified and registered carbon offset programs include the Wisconsin Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, forest management organizations, biomass projects and more.
In addition to the carbon emitted, you also don’t want to bring any foreign organisms into the environment. Before arriving in Antarctica, every member who hopes to step foot off the ship must vacuum every pocket of their outerwear, clean all their gear and wipe down equipment and shoes to ensure the continued protection and absence of foreign objects being brought to the continent.
As professional athletes, guides, filmmakers, scientists and adventurers, there is an inherent cost of experience. It is true when those say that first-hand experiences are the most powerful and bringing back visual stories can help bring awareness to those that don’t have the ability to visit these environments. This awareness comes with a cost and with the help of progressive organizations like POW, these athletes and storytellers have the means to support innovative programs that forge what it means to be an imperfect advocate.
This Antarctic adventure was documented and recently released across all of the Outside TV platforms as a 20-min short film called ‘Riding Remote - Antarctica’. This film is presented by Ice Axe Expeditions and Tahoe Matt Media in association with Outside TV, Protect Our Winters, and Neon Wave.
Stein is a professional ski mountaineer, Ice Axe Ski Guide, adventure photographer/filmmaker, and activist from Olympic Valley, California. He has spent the last 4.5 years training under the mentorship of polar explorer, Douglas Stoup and spent 8 months of his life between 2017-19 on expeditions above the Arctic Circle or in Antarctica working with explorers, visual artists, and conservationists. He has lead ski expeditions to some of the World's northernmost mountain ranges and has guided trips for Ice Axe Expeditions in both the Arctic and Antarctic.
Stein was stoked and honored to be involved with the "Riding Remote - Antarctica" project as it was a dream to ski with the crew: Danny, Nick and Elena.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST LOGISTICS ISSUE IN PLANNING A TRIP LIKE THIS?
Founder and President of Ice Axe Expeditions, Doug Stoup, could definitely speak more to this, but happy to answer based on what I know… Antarctica the most remote continent on Earth with nearly no one living there full-time. The logistics of bringing people down to Antarctica takes a huge permitting and application process. You have to abide by the rules and regulations of a couple different Antarctic organizations protecting the continent. The logistics of putting together a film crew is next level because you have to account for the overall safety and comfortness of guides bringing athletes and filmmakers on the ice. Antarctica is known to be one of the most difficult places on Earth to guide because there really isn’t much if at all, specific ‘beta’ on routes, avalanche forecasts, crevasse movement and expansion. It’s extremely taxing to constantly be aware of your surrounding and keep a team of people safe. If someone gets hurt, the entire ship has to go North and you need to board a small plane to fly several hours to a hospital in South America. It’s an intense environment that takes a ton of preparedness and numerous years of experience to do what Doug has put together. I have utmost respect for what Doug has created with Ice Axe Expeditions.