Top three reasons to go backcountry skiing in Antarctica
Become one of the few to have skied on the base of the globe
Channel your inner explorer en route to Antarctica and admire the icy landscapes
Witness gentoo penguin rookeries, whales, seals, seabirds and other rarely-seen animals
The phrase “once-in-a-lifetime experience” may be a bit clichéd, but embarking on an epic voyage to Antarctica unquestionably warrants its use! Although it could seem that this far-flung corner of the world doesn’t have much to offer recreation-wise, the most fearless shredders will be amazed by the quality snowpack, open bowls, and tremendous and daunting ski lines. And this is only the tip of the iceberg! On the way to the southernmost continent from Argentina, passionate adventurers can relive the legacy of Antarctic explorers on an expedition ship, admire the frozen landscapes and enjoy the company of seabirds along the way. Once in Antarctica, immerse yourself in backcountry skiing with the help of your guide and appreciate the glacier-fed bays, towering seracs, and large ice floes. You’re also bound to encounter some unique animals such as gentoo penguins, the black-browed albatross, snow petrels, leopard seals and whales! Find out more about skiing in Antarctica, the Seventh Continent from Brennan Lagasse, skier, photographer, educator and adventurer.
November and December
Ushuaia, Argentina, is about 48h away by ship
Intermediate to advanced
Book this adventure
13-day Backcountry Skiing Expedition in Antarctica
Expand your backcountry skiing horizons, spend 13 days en route to Antarctica, and experience the backcountry like you never have before! This enticing adventure poses a unique combination of backcountry skiing on epic ski lines and descents and exploring the breathtaking formations that the seventh continent offers. Lose yourself in phenomenal skiing on quality snowpack, witness some unique animals, discover the icy environment and marvel at the far-stretching icy vistas throughout the whole adventure.
Day 1: Arrival and overnight in Ushuaia
On the first day of this electrifying adventure, you’ll arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city, and spend the night in a shared hotel accommodation.
Day 2: Antarctica Prep and Glacier Travel Clinic at the Martial Glacier
The day begins with orientation with a ski or trekking guide. This will be followed by the Antarctica Prep and Glacier Travel Clinic with your ski guide and the group at the stunning Martial Glacier where you’ll prepare for your upcoming adventure. This glacier is one of the most notable tourist attractions in the region, the most important source of fresh water in Ushuaia and it offers some stupendous views for good measure. You can enjoy a happy hour at Küar, a restaurant and bar in Ushuaia, and feel the southern aromas. The night will be spent in Ushuaia.
Day 3: Continuation of Antarctica Prep Clinic
You’ll once again start your day off with the Antarctica Prep and Glacier Travel Clinic with your ski guide and the group at Martial Glacier. In the evening, you’ll have dinner and spend the night in Ushuaia.
Day 4: Sail the Beagle Channel
You’ll board the Ocean Diamond, a state-of-the-art super-yacht and set sail down the Beagle Channel, the southernmost channel of South America connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Soak up the views of many islands scattered throughout the channel while the icy glaciers and jaw-dropping landscapes will render you speechless.
Day 5: Crossing the Drake Passage
On the fifth day of this adventure, you’ll cross the infamous Drake Passage. The waters are choppy and waves can get quite big, but don’t worry—modern ships are able to handle the rough conditions. This gorgeous and incredibly deep passage also connects the Pacific and the Atlantic and is the shortest route to Antarctica. On your voyage, you’ll encounter spectacular whales as well as flocks of seabirds!
Day 6: Crossing the Drake Passage
On the sixth day, you’ll continue gliding over the waters of the marvelous Drake Passage and take in the icy landscapes it offers!
Day 7: Neko Harbor and Anvers and Wenke Islands
On this day you’ll reach your fascinating ski and trekking objectives, the first one being Neko Harbor, an inlet and an important bird area. Your other objectives include Anvers and Wenke Islands. You’ll also board a Zodiac, an inflatable and lightweight yet reliable boat perfect for visiting and exploring these remote icy regions. Witness the gentoo penguin rookeries along the way and get ready for some hiking!
Day 8: Ski Rongé Island and Mount Britannia
You’ll get to the rugged Rongé Island and Mount Britannia situated in the center of the island. Head over to the northern tip of the island, Georges Point, and visit the penguin rookery or go towards your ski and trekking objectives in Paradise Bay and admire the icebergs and large ice floes along the way! Your Zodiac tour will take you to Almirante Brown Station, a research station operated by Argentina. The area is a famous tourist destination and offers some marvelous views along Paradise Bay and is also home to gentoo penguins.
Day 9: Lemaire Channel
Get ready for more skiing and ski descents! You’ll head towards Lemaire Channel, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Antarctica. This is one of the few extremely calm places in Antarctica seeing as the waters are usually very still and the views are incredible. Experience dynamic ski descents on Mount Scott, a horseshoe-shaped massif, Mount Demaria and Mount Mill. You’ll also get to visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Research Base. Experience the sightings of the killer whale and the leopard seal.
Day 10: Charlotte Bay and Journey Northwards
You’ll get to ski some more on new ski descents and head over to the glacier-fed Charlotte Bay. Your journey towards Ushuaia begins in the evening.
Days 11 and 12: Drake Passage and Cape Horn
You’ll cross the Drake Passage and the breathtaking cliffs of Cape Horn, which marks where the Atlantic and the Pacific meet.
Day 13: Disembark the Ocean Diamond in Ushuaia
On the last day of this epic adventure, you’ll disembark the Ocean Diamond in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Meet your guide
Indigo Alpine Guides
Things to know
Covid measures in Ushuaia, Argentina and Antarctica
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Ushuaia, Argentina and Antarctica please refer to Argentina’s official COVID-19 Guidance and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 in Argentina.
Seeing as Antarctica is an internationally administered region, it is subject to the entry rules of the country from which the continent is accessed, in this case Argentina.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Backcountry skiing tour in Antarctica
- 2-day Antarctic Prep/Glacier Travel Clinic in Ushuaia
- Presentations by Expedition Team and guest speakers
- Expedition certificate
- 3-nights pre-expedition shared hotel accommodation in Ushuaia, Argentina
- Accommodation on the Ocean Diamond (pricing varies by room choice)
- A continental breakfast in the room in Ushuaia
- Group dinner in Ushuaia
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board the Ocean Diamond
- Group transfers from the hotel to the ship on embarkation and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation and all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
- Shore landings and Zodiac excursions as permitted by weather and local conditions
- Photographic DVD chronicling the voyage
- Comprehensive pre-departure information package
- Use of a pair of rubber expedition boots on loan for shore landings (these will be returned at the end of voyage)
- All group climbing gear (ropes, first aid kit, emergency communication device)
What’s not included:
- Transportation to and from Ushuaia
- Technical backcountry ski touring or trekking equipment
- Any meals ashore (with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel and the welcome dinner on the evening prior to departure)
- Baggage, cancellation and travel insurance
- Mandatory emergency medical evacuation insurance
- Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges onboard or at the hotel
- Telecommunications charges
How fit do I need to be?
To enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to be in very good physical shape. You will be on your feet for hours on end, covering lots of terrain every day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging blue or black-level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
To participate in this tour, you need to have previous backcountry skiing experience. You will be skiing, touring, and summiting on glaciated terrain every day. Your guide will take care of the planning, oversee your technique, and teach you how to better manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training necessary to keep you safe. You do not need to have glacier travel experience but it is a plus.
What equipment do I need to bring?
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins
- Touring boots and poles
- Intuition Mukluk Liner
- Avalanche safety equipment:
- Digital, 3-antenna avalanche transceiver or beacon
- Lightweight snow shovel
- Avalanche probe
- Harness for glacier travel (for advanced touring)
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Polarized sunglasses and ski goggles for the glacier
- Wool or fleece hat
- Face mask (neoprene works best)
- Thermal and fleece balaclava
- Fleece neck scarf
- Thermal and fleece gloves
- Thick wool and fur-lined mittens
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Waterproof over-trousers (Gore-Tex recommended)
- Fleece pants
- Thermal tights
- Down jacket or vest
- Down parka with hood
- Thick fleece jacket
- Sweatshirt or thinner micro-fleece jacket
- Long sleeve thermal t-shirts
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- Thin thermal socks
- Warm socks
- Regular walking shoes for prior and after the expedition
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 2L of water
- Thermos with a warm beverage
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- First aid kit
- High index sunscreen and lip balm
- Toiletries (pack towel, wet wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, anti-bacterial gel, lotion, contact lens solution, feminine products, etc.)
- Personal first-aid kit (Band-Aids, super glue, blister kit, foot powder, tape, antiseptic, pain medication)
- Pocket knife
- Headlamp and spare batteries
- 4-5 waterproof bags of different sizes to compartmentalize your belongings in your bag
- Small quick-drying bath towel
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 35-40L backpack)
- Solid waterproof bag or backpack (60-70 L)
- Camera — optional
- Spare contact lenses or prescription glasses — optional
Your guide will provide a more detailed list of equipment after you’ve booked your trip.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and pricing:
- For this adventure, the client-to-guide ratio is 4:1. All prices are per person.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
- If joining alone, you’ll be placed with peers that share a similar level of experience.
Ski touring in Antarctica can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.
If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Deposits and cancellation policy
A 50% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies, and deposits are no longer refundable. The remaining 50% of the amount is paid the latest 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.
In case you need to cancel the trip, the following cancellation costs would be incurred:
- If you cancel for any reason prior to 30 days before the expedition start, you may rebook a later date for 100% credit, subject to availability, or receive a refund minus a 5% cancellation fee
- If you cancel for any reason less than 30 days before the expedition start date, the full trip amount will be forfeited. When a trip is booked, Indigo Alpine Guides immediately begin incurring expenses, including deposits for guides, huts, and transportation
- Third-party expenses will be subject to their own cancellation policies
All policies regarding cancellation will be clearly laid out by your guide after booking your adventure.
If your guide cancels your expedition prior to its start due to natural disasters, hazardous weather conditions or other reasons of that nature, you may reschedule to a later date or receive a credit that never expires.
If your guide cancels an expedition prior to its start for low enrollment, there are a few options:
- You may reschedule for a later date or receive a credit
- You may pay a “guaranteed greenlight” rate, which allows the course to run for a significant discount off the private rate
- You may receive a refund
In the event that the minimum number of people to confirm the trip is not reached, Indigo Alpine Guides can cancel the departure. Please note the trips for 2022 are expected to reach the minimum number of people soon, and the likelihood of a trip not happening is very low.
After departure, IAG reserves the right to alter or omit any part of the itinerary, to substitute hotels or leaders, to change any means of conveyance without notice and without allowance of refund, with liability for increased costs (if any) borne by the trek, course or expedition members.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Ushuaia, most people fly into Aeropuerto Internacional de Ushuaia Malvinas Argentinas. From there, you can rent a car or take a taxi to get to town.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet in Ushuaia. On Day 4, you’ll board the Ocean Diamond and head towards Antarctica. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.