South Pole Half Degree Ski Expedition

Do you want to have the experience of skiing to the South Pole without having to ski the last degree? Our Half Degree ski expedition offers a great alternative. While it's half the distance of our last degree ski expedition you'll spend the same amount of time on the continent, with a few extra days to explore the vicinity of the Union Glacier Basecamp.

Expect to experience extreme cold temperatures, gusty wind, glorious blue-sky days and complete white-outs. You can get it all during this expedition. Ending at the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station you'll have the opportunity to visit the base and experience the ceremonial South Pole as well as the Geographic South Pole (only a few meters away from each other). If the Station schedule permits we will take a tour of the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station and experience what life is like for the scientists and support staff that call this southern-most outpost in the world "Home".


  • Itinerary
  • Equipment List
  • Qualifications
  • Dates & Rates
  • Trip Insurance
  • Testimonials
  • Blogs

South Pole Half Degree Ski Expedition Daily Itinerary

Day 1-2
Arrive in Punta Arenas. Gear check and pre-flight briefing.
Day 3
Weather permitting we'll fly to Antarctica.
Day 4
Spend the day at Union Glacier basecamp.
Day 5-6
Weather permitting, we'll fly to S 89. 30' and get dropped off. Depending on the time we may opt to ski a couple of miles, but we will take it easy to allow for acclimatization.
Day 7-11
Ski to the South Pole! Arrive at the South Pole. Photo session at the ceremonial South Pole and time to relax at the expedition base camp. We plan to tour the Amundsen Scott South Pole station pending scheduling of the station staff.
Day 12-14
Return to the Union Glacier Basecamp, followed by return to Punta Arenas, Chile.

South Pole 20K Ski : Equipment List

Upon registration, you will receive a PolarExplorers comprehensive gear guide that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants.

  • 1 insulated parka with hood (available to rent)
  • 1 pair insulated pants (available to rent)
  • 1 pair snow pack ski boots (available to rent)
  • 1 pair wool, silk, or synthetic long underwear tops and bottoms.
  • 2 pair heavy wool or synthetic socks
  • 1 wool or fleece sweater (mid weight)
  • 1 wool or fleece sweater (heavy weight)
  • 1 neck gaiter
  • 1 pair wool or synthetic gloves
  • 1 pair wool or fleece mittens
  • 1 pair sunglasses or snow goggles
  • Casual clothing for Punta Arenas (shirt, pants, socks, pajamas, underwear, etc.)
  • 1 pair slippers for inside the mess tent
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, etc.)
  • Personal medications (with prescription for customs!)

South Pole 20K Ski Expedition Qualifications

Our North and South Pole Flights are for people who want to experience the North & South Poles, but don't have the time, energy or funding to do a full expedition. People on these Flights have ranged in age from 1 to 81 years! All of these trips require that you can climb several stairs into and out of the plane as well as being able to walk across the uneven terrain of the ice. We can assist you as necessary.

The South Pole Flight requires you to sleep in a tent (with a very warm sleeping bag). To best enjoy this adventure you should be in moderate shape. Contact us if you have any questions or to register for this great trip of a lifetime here.

South Pole 20K Ski Expedition Dates & Rates

2016-2017 Dates

December 31, 2016 - January 14, 2017


Please contact us for pricing


Includes all accommodations and meals while in Antarctica, guide(s), permits, communication & safety gear.

Expeditions Trip Insurance

Trip cancellation insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every PolarExplorers expedition.

Medical Evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of $300,000 USD is required on every PolarExplorers expedition.

Select a policy below to receive a quote or purchase a policy:

I live in the USA or Canada

Travelex Insurance

Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.

Travel Guard

Trip Cancellation & Medical Evacuation Purchase the policy within 14 days to get a pre-exisisting medical condition wavier.

Single Trip Medical Evacuation

Important! You must include the optional Adventure Sports coverage upgrade if you are climbing any mountains or traveling in rope teams. (Pre-existing medical coverage is not available with this policy.)

I live Outside the USA or Canada

Travelex Insurance

Important! Add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.

South Pole 20K Ski Testimonials

Tony ValukisA wonderful trip, with a truly extraordinary group of people . It was absolutely a delight traveling with our Dirk (our PE Guide) he couldn’t have been more helpful and encouraging.  He certainly knows how to fry polish sausage in butter.

Tony Valukis

Scott AndersonMy first glimpse of the Pole marker as we were approaching on our skis will stay with me forever. It's a place I'm unlikely to be again. Even if by some strange chance I find myself there again, to see it for the first time, and to have made it there myself on skis, it's a feeling I don't think I will ever duplicate.

Scott Anerson

  • River crossings, terminal moraines and sheets!
    River crossings, terminal moraines and sheets!

    Congratulations to the team for a successful crossing of the Vatnajokull Glacier!

    Annie reports that the day started out in a white out and they skied around a glacial lake that was an unexpected feature. not marked on the map and a bit of a surprise. Then the team continued down the glacier and had to portage their sleds up and over a moraine to avoid a river crossing later during the descent. Down the glacier weaving around rocks and glacial streams, sometimes going right through them. By this point they were off the rope team and managing their own sleds. We connected patches of snow until they were finally off the glacier and on to the terminal moraine which was relatively flat and braided with outflow. A few river crossings and they ended up pulling their sleds over a few km of gravel to get to a trail.  It was an exciting descent filled with various challenges. After a ride to the hotel they have polished off the day with a nice dinner at the hotel followed by some Vatnajokull beer. Everyone is in high spirits and looking forward to a good nights rest in a soft bed. 

    Make sure listen to John's audio report. 

    Stay tuned for more photo from the trail. Check back tomorrow. 


    Written on Thursday, 26 May 2016 01:05 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Outdoor Living!
    Outdoor Living!

    Annie reports that the team skied 8 miles today with weather that included the range from warmer in the morning turning colder as the cloud cover settled onto the Glacier. They have descended now to within sight of the famous Jokulsarlon Lagoon. Famous for the Floating Icebergs that travel the lagoon and meet the open sea of the south coast of Iceland. The day saw them travel surrounded by steep snowless mountain peaks. They are traveling on an active glacier that is moving and a highlight is to hear the glacier grone and creak. Just imagine the power and enormity of this. A highlight was a flock of geese that ventured up the glacier "flying by" the team as they headed back to the shores of the Atlantic. The team spent the evening preparing an outdoor kitchen to share the last trail meal. Camping on snow allows the luxury of sculpting the landscape into a perfect home away from home so why not feast in your own outdoor kitchen. Tomorrow the team will conclude the descent of the largest glacier in Europe to the shores of the Jokulsarlon Lagoon and meet transportation back to Reykjavik. Stay tuned for more.

    Team Location:

    Written on Tuesday, 24 May 2016 21:50 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Into the weather!
    Into the weather!

    Nancy reports from the glacier that the team skied into the weather. Starting with clear blue skies this morning the team travelled into the "snow globe". The system approached from the south. By days end the team reports complete white out with warmer temperatures at or near freezing, sleet and wind of 30 km. These conditions are certainly manageable but are not ideal for climbing the nearby peak Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m). So in the next days the team will begin to descend to the  Breidarlon Glacier Lagoon with the hopes of chasing better weather and calving glaciers. Stay tuned for more. 

    Make sure to check out the teams location

    Update to the photo from Happy Birthday Heather. The team sent an update with better quality! Check it out. 



    Written on Monday, 23 May 2016 21:15 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • On the move!
    On the move!

    The team is back on the move. WIth a huge day of 17.5 miles skied from the luxury of the Hut. They were on the move for just under 10 hour and encountered various weather. Cold and clear to start then warmer with strong winds up to 30 km per hour. Make sure to have a listen to the audio update the connection proved to be a challenge but all report healthy an happy to be back on the move.

    Team Location:

    Written on Sunday, 22 May 2016 20:30 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Happy Birthday Heather!
    Happy Birthday Heather!

    Peter reports from the Grismvotn Crater Hut today. Make sure to have a listen. The weather was spotty and great views eluded the team. However the day was spent relaxing, enjoying some of the various treats such as music and games. Peter notes the connect four games turned competitive. Of course they enjoyed the sauna and the chance to eat through their rations. The weather forecast looks great for tomorrow which sees the team back on the trail. For Peter this is a special day as it is his wife's Heather's birthday. Happy Birthday Heather! Peter and the rest of the team would not be able to enjoy this journeys without the support of family! 

    Picture says Happy Birthday Heather. 


    Written on Sunday, 22 May 2016 02:03 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Hike to the Hut!
    Hike to the Hut!

    John reports via audio update that the team is comfortably positioned at the Grimsvotn Hut on the rim of the caldera. The huts sit atop a geothermally active area (as recent as 2011) which provide the hut with a natural heat source. After the last few days of travel, the hut and included sauna provide a welcome relief to achy muscles. They are in no rush as tomorrow is a planned rest day to soak up the stunning beauty. They travelled just under 8 hours and covered 9 miles and 2000' of elevation today. The weather was partly cloudy with breaks of sunshine. A 10mph headwind kept the just below freezing temperature on the colder side. Annie reports her hair was in a constant state of frost. Make sure to check out the teams position at the link below. If you zoom in on the map you can actually see the huts on the caldera rim.

    Written on Friday, 20 May 2016 20:58 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Sunny day equals fun day.
    Sunny day equals fun day.

    The team reported great progress. They skied 13 miles. Under nice weather, partly cloudy right around freezing or slightly below. They only had to put on mitts occasionally to warm their fingers.  Wind is always a concern on the open expanse of the glacier but the team managed the 8-10 m/s. They report that it is coming at them on their right cheek. With 13 miles behind them everyone hit the hay early as they all were pretty tired. The team is now 7 miles from Grimsvotn. Everyone is have have a great time. They say HELLO to all their friends and family and hope they are having fun following along. 

    Check out the teams location here:

    Written on Friday, 20 May 2016 05:19 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Drop Off success and onward up the glacier!
    Drop Off success and onward up the glacier!

    John Reamer (make sure to listen to his audio update below) reports that the team travelled 7 hours by all terrain vehicle through several challenging river crossings requiring the support of the "Super Jeep" to winch the other vehicle to safety. These are known and planned for obstacles which once managed saw the team at the start of the short 4.5 mile ski day. 2 hours on the trail pulling sleds and skiing roped together for safety has the team at their first campsite. Check out the Iridium map for their current position.  They report overcast conditions and temps right around freezing. Check back for the team's progress.

    John Reamer day one update.
    Written on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 20:21 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Kickoff of the 2016 Vatnajokull Crossing
    Kickoff of the 2016 Vatnajokull Crossing

    Annie reports this afternoon that the team is all gear checked, sleds are packed and have been loaded on the Icelandic all terrain vehicles for the early morning drop off. Tune into the Kickoff call (below)  and post dinner photo of the team as they check-in before their early AM departure.   The plan is a 6 to 9 hour off road drive to the toe of the glacier. The travel is the first challenge with several river crossings as formidable challenges for team and trucks.  Stay tuned for more tomorrow.


    Kickoff call from Annie.
    Written on Tuesday, 17 May 2016 16:22 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Welcome to our 2016 Vatnajökull Blog!

    We are very excited to be gathering on May 17 in Reykjavik, Iceland for the start of this expedition. We have a wonderful team of skiers who are all making final preparations for the upcoming adventure. This blog will officially kick off on May 17 with daily updates and audio dispatches from the glacier.

    We look forward to having you join us for this incredible expedition.

    Written on Wednesday, 04 May 2016 21:15 in Vatnajökull Ski Expedition
  • Back in Longyearbyen, expedition wrap up

    What a wonderful expedition it was! The last couple of days were busy and exciting. After the Air Berlin fly by and pick up from the Pole the team spent the night near the Barneo runway in their own tents. The next morning (April 24) they walked over the the Barneo Ice Camp where they met some Russian military personnel who were very welcoming.

    Written on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 14:19 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Day at the North Pole

    While waiting for extraction, the team spent all day today enjoying their time at the Geographic North Pole. There are still several other teams en route to the pole that will be getting air-lifted out together. The guys took advantage of the extra time by having a second photo shoot (photos coming soon) and relaxing in their tents.

    Written on Sunday, 24 April 2016 00:15 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Success! The Pole!

    Great news! The team reached the North Pole today at 4:30 PM local time. Way to go team!!

    They awoke to an overcast sky but the wind had died down from yesterday to around 5-10 kts. The temperature had also warmed to around 0 F. There was a light snow falling as they skied.

    Again they passed through zones of pressure separated by a few decent sized pans. Traveling on pan ice is a wonderful break from the zig zagging of navigating pressure ridges. It allows you to travel must faster and it's a nice break for the mind as well.

    The last two nautical miles to the pole were increasingly pressurized. They were doing lots of skiing to the east or west without much northwards progress. They reached one large pressure ridge and Keith paused to ask the team which way they thought would be best. Andrew immediately answered, "to the right of course!" (Andrew is an active member of the New Zealand National Party).

    Finally they were in the home stretch and James led the final distance to the Geographic North Pole. 

    They celebrated their significant achievement before setting up camp where the party is continuing on. They are making calls home and drinking the Aurora Borealis cocktails (that's 1/2 champagne, 1/2 vodka and a handful of snow from the Geographic North Pole). 

    Everyone is doing great and all are having a good time. 

    Here's a shot of them celebrating with their Aurora Borealis cocktails

    We are awaiting their audio update so check back again soon!

    Congratulations to our entire team! Andrew, James, Mike and Keith, you all did a superb job and we are thrilled that you are now celebrating at the top of the world. Enjoy it!

    Written on Friday, 22 April 2016 18:24 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • The Home Stretch

    Current Position N 89°49'41" E 135°27'10"

    That puts our team at just over 10 nautical miles away from the North Pole! 

    Written on Thursday, 21 April 2016 19:29 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog
  • Progressing Steadily

    Current position (N 89° 37' 16" E 123° 49' 32")

    The Last Degree team made excellent progress again today as they navigated over and around an increasing number of pressure ridges and rubble zones, followed by a long flat pan of ice. Their tenacious pace, coupled with positive drift, (1.5 nautical miles overnight) has put them well ahead of schedule as they approach the 2/3 mark of the expedition.

    Written on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 20:44 in 2016 North Pole Last Degree Ski Blog


Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

Select Language

English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish
Facebook Twitter YouTube Vimeo

Looking for Something?

Are you ready to join us on a polar expedition?

Here are your PolarExplorers Forms. To register please complete and return the PolarExplorers Application. We will send you an invoice for your deposit.

Download Now PolarExplorers Application
Download Now Planning Your Polar Adventure
Download Now PolarExplorers Medical Form
Download Now PolarExplorers Insurance Form

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletters