The Antarctic Peninsula is the most easily accessed part of Antarctica, and is full of mountains that rise to almost 3000m. With its heavy snowfall, the Antarctic Peninsula offers the best backcountry skiing on the continent, Add to this an abundance of wildlife, a coastline flanked by ice cliffs, and a landscape covered with glaciers, and you have a ski destination that is both spectacular and unique.
We travel to Antarctica during the austral summer. The lower peaks will usually have spring snow, while the highest peaks often hold powder or firm consolidated snow. With fjords studded with icebergs, fed by immense broken glaciers, the backdrop is always spectacular!
All skiing in Antarctica is on glaciers, and so we usually rope-up for ascents and descend the same way. Having summited over 140 different Antarctic peaks, we have a vast amount of knowledge as to where to ski and where to find the best conditions
Our ski locations along the Antarctica Peninsula can be grouped into 6 distinct regions:
The Northern Gerlache Strait
This wild region has a multitude of mountains up to 1700m, and a large number, many un-named, that are absolute gems for ski mountaineers. Our favourites include Mt Cornu and Two Hummock Island.
The Danco Coast
The peaks in this area are slightly lower, rising up to 1000m and include the beautiful Paradise Harbour and Andvord Bay. This is a great destination for day-trips, or to bag lots of summits from a single high camp. Our favourites include Harris Peak and Mt Tennant.
Anvers & Brabant Islands
Home of the giants! This is where you will find Mt Francais (2760m) and Mt Parry (2520m), superb mountains that give some of the longest ski descents in Antarctica, as well as a host of other worthwhile lower peaks.
The Lemaire Channel region
Due to sea ice, the vast Kiev Peninsula can only be reached after Christmas. With a handful of peaks above 2000m and a vast number of other gems, it is definitely worth exploring. Our favourites include the classic Mt Scott, the enormous Mt Matin and the steep north face of Mt Demaria.
Crystal Sound & Beyond
Truly wild, seldom visited and often choked with ice, skiing in the most southerly areas is only possible in late summer, and even then the opportunity has to be grabbed when conditions allow. Our favourites include the summits of Lahille Island, Mt Reeves,... and the many peaks that we havn't yet skied!
The South Shetland Islands
Although these islands in the far northwest tend to experience the worst weather, during the early part of the season and when the weather is good, they offer some very memorable skiing. Our favourites include the Baily Head traverse on Deception Island, Terter Peak and the peaks of the Burgas Peninsula.
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Everyone who visits South Georgia falls in love with the place. It's as if the alps have been transported to the middle of the South Atlantic. 180km long and only 30km wide, its alpine peaks rise to an impressive 2935m, and from which enormous glaciers flow to the sea.
Hardly anyone skis here. The skiing is truly adventurous to say the least, with anything from fresh powder to spring snow, and an endless number of day tours and longer excursions, including the famous Shackleton Traverse. The changeable weather means that we need to be very flexible with our plans here, and the only thing that you can be certain of is that you will have an unforgettable adventure.
South Georgia is much more than the skiing. The beaches and sea cliffs are also home to the most staggering amount of wildlife, including colonies of hundreds of thousands of King penguins, nesting albatrosses, and vast numbers of seals. And then there is the wealth of history and heritage sites, and a lot of first class hiking. South Georgia is a very special place indeed!
In addition to its two distinct ranges of high mountains, South Georgia also has a vast amount of worthwhile skiing on the smaller peaks in the surrounding mountains.
The Shackleton Traverses
Starting from King Haakon Bay in the west, these routes traverse through the mountains to reach the abandoned whaling station of Stromness in the east. Most people follow Shackleton's original route, but in 2014 we pioneered a new high level route that is somewhat safer and much better suited to skiers. In addition, many of the mountains in this area are very worthwhile ski peaks indeed.
The Allardyce Mountains
This range has 8 dramatic mountains above 2000m, including Mount Paget, which at 2935m is the highest peak in the UK. There are good ski objectives at the northern and southern ends of the range, where the glaciers are less broken and the terrain more amenable for skiing, as well as on the lower peaks close to the east coast.
The Salvesen Mountains
Although the Salvesen Mountains, which include four 2000m peaks, are very rarely visited, they offer a fantastic range of adventurous ski objectives that can be accessed from both the south-east and the south-west coasts.
The Patagonian fjords of Chile are one of world's last great wildernesses. Surrounded by towering peaks, many of the fjords are studded with icebergs from the glaciers that flow into the sea. Without needing to cross the open sea. they are remarkably easy to access by yacht, but notoriously difficult any other way! You will need a thirst for adventure to ski, hike or kayak here!
Flanked by dense Patagonian beech forest, the area is rich in wildlife; Condors circle the peaks, giant woodpeckers inhabit the forests, and the fjords are home to sealions and whales.
Rather than being ski-focussed, our trips here are an all-round adventure of hiking, kayaking... and hopefully some skiing!
Heading westwards from Ushuaia the Beagle Channel splits into two arms, the Brazo Noroeste, which separates the Cordillera Darwin from Isla Gordon, and the Brazo Sudoeste which separates Isla Gordon from Isla Hoste.
This impressive range of mountains has over 50 summits above 2000m, the highest being Mt Shipton (2469m). The range is covered with extensive icefields and glaciers that flow into the numerous deep fjords.
Less heavily glaciated than the Cordillera Darwin, the lower peaks of the island that splits the Beagle Channel are somewhat easier to access, and its network of snaking fjords are a delight to explore by kayak.
The southernmost island that flanks the Beagle Channel, this complex island has an icecap on the Cloué Peninsula whose 1300m peaks offer some great ski objectives.