Expedition Amundsen 2014: The World’s Toughest Ski Race

unnamedLooking for an endurance event to test your skills during the winter? Then look no further than Expedition Amundsen, an event that is billed as the toughest ski race in the world – and for good reason.

The race follows the same route that Roald Amundsen used while training for his expedition to the South Pole back in 1911. It covers 100 km (62 miles) across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in Norway, which is a grueling stretch of land, even in the best of conditions. How grueling you ask? It is so tough that Amundsen himself was unable to complete the route. Later he said that training there was crucial to completing his epic journey across Antarctica and he said it was as tough as that expedition as well.

Competitors in the Expedition Amundsen race will traverse the route complete unsupported. They’ll have to ski the trail while pulling a sled with all of their safety gear behind them at all times. The event only accepts solo entrants if they are sufficiently experienced enough to go it alone. Otherwise, athletes must enter in teams of two and three in order to support one another.

Last year, a massive storm hit the course in the middle of the race, forcing 60 of the participants to take shelter. They were hunkered down for 36 hours while they waited for the storm to pass. Considering the remoteness of the course, there was little other option for the racers, who were in the middle of the competition when the weather took a turn for the worse.

In another nod to just how challenging this race can be, not a single foreign competitor was able to complete the race last year. Only the Norwegian were able to navigate the entire course and reach the finish line. Their experience in harsh conditions seem to serve them well in this race.

The 2014 edition of Expedition Amundsen will begin on February 27 at 1 PM local time in the county of Telemark, Norway. Where else would it begin? It should be quite the event to follow.

Kraig Becker