Antarctica Ski & Sail
Yacht-based ski adventure to the
wildest place on earth
In November/December 2022 we are partnering with Ski Antarctica to provide an unforgettable trip of a lifetime to Antarctica by sailboat.
Our trip takes place late in the Austral Spring, which means abundant around the clock light. The skiing, sea kayaking and photography opportunities are unparalleled.
Skiing in Antarctica is spectacular and immensely rewarding. There is something for everyone, from gentle slopes to steep faces, from established classics to first descents. You can undertake day-trips from the comfort of the yacht, or embark on a multi-day tent-based adventure.
This is a high-end trip using the Icebird, a 60’6″ single-masted yacht, around the Antarctic peninsula. We favour the use of comfortable expedition yachts since they provide the flexibility to tailor a trip according to a group’s desires and abilities, and ensures that we have the mountains to ourselves. They also enable us to reach places that are not accessible to larger vessels, and to go where we want, when we want and for as long as we want.
November 26: Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina
November 27-28: Day trips, guided ski touring around Ushuaia, including glacier and sea kayak practice (optional; you can come as late as November 28 if necessary)
November 29-Dec 2: Sail the Drake passage to Antarctic Peninsula
Dec 3-20: Explore the Antarctic peninsula by sail, ski and sea kayak
Dec 21: Fly back to Punta Arenas, Chile for connections home
The Icebird is owned and captained by Cath Hew. Cath combined her passion for ocean sailing and Antarctica when she purchased the yacht ‘Spirit of Sydney’ in 2003 and realised her dream of providing expedition support in one of the most beautiful and interesting places on earth. Cath grew up racing dinghies and then built her own yachts. Between 1993 and 1997 she sailed around the world and competed in many major ocean races in Australia, including the famous 1998 Sydney-Hobart Race. After visiting the Antarctic Peninsula by ship in 2000 she knew she had to return by yacht in order to travel freely and to explore its more interesting and less explored areas. There is nothing she likes more than to share this with other like minded and interesting people. During her first sailing trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2003-04 trips Cath was joined by an experienced ice skipper; she then took up the reins as skipper and they sailed double-handed across the Drake Passage to make their rendezvous, on time, at King George Island with the Steve Irwin and his film crew to complete a very successful season. These days, after 12 seasons and many varied and exciting trips, Cath revels in helping people to realise their dream of exploring Antarctica safely, and loves to see her guests return to Ushuaia with wonderful memories of Antarctica and of the excellent food and wine provided on Icebird.
The Expedition Leader is Phil Wickens. Having made almost thirty first ascents and ski descents of previously unclimbed Antarctic mountains, over 650 days of skiing in Antarctica, and ten seasons of sailing yachts to Antarctica, Phil is keen to share his love of Antarctic skiing, sailing and the wildlife with other like-minded individuals. For Phil, Antarctica is the most stunning place on earth, and somewhere that all serious skiers should dream of making tracks. Phil studied biology at Imperial College in London, England. After completing his PhD in plant pathology, he worked for two winters and three summers as a field guide for the British Antarctic Survey, combining his passion for natural science with that of mountain exploration and photography. He has led numerous climbing and skiing expeditions to Antarctica, Tibet, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Peru, East Greenland, the Caucasus and Canada, and was Vice President of the Alpine Club in 2006-7. Phil works as a freelance photographer, polar guide, expedition leader, naturalist and lecturer in expeditions, polar geology and history. He also runs the our glacier training sessions.When not working or playing in far-flung places he lives in England on the edge of Peak District National Park. Phil is on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The expedition mountain guide is Sawback’s Tom Wolfe (UIAGM/IFMGA). Tom met Phil in the Arctic, doing ski and sail trips around Svalbard.
Icebird Technical Specifications
Length: 18.43 metres / 60’6”
Breadth: 5.1 metres / 16’6”
Draught: 1.9 metres to 3,4 metres
Speed: 14 knots
Cruise speed: 9 knots
Passengers: 9 berths in 4 cabins, 2 bathrooms
Zodiac & RIBs: 3.7m rigid hull inflatable
Electrical Outlets: 240V and 110V
Classification: Small Commercial Vessel CAT-0
Bow Thrust: Yes
Ship Region: Antarctica
Our Antarctica Trip is in a different category than any of our other trips. Snow conditions and trip length will vary greatly. There may be days when we don’t ski at all, but spend the day exploring the ice-fringes shores of the Antarctic Peninsula by foot or by sea kayak. Other days will be spent sailing from one venue to another. When conditions are right we’ll put the hammer down and try to get a big day in, but normally as a group taking into considerations the abilities of our team as a whole.
There will be Relaxed Pace days and Classic Paced days. We’ll try to accommodate everyone as much as possible, but recognize that sometimes you might have to push or hold back at times.
Our Trip Ratings Page outlines more specifically how we rate our trips.
DATES: November 26 to December 21, 2021
COST: $23,000 USD per person ($29,900 CAD)
DIFFICULTY: Classic Pace overall. See notes below.
GUESTS: 6 total
SAILING VESSEL: Icebird (see below for specifications)
LOGISTICS: Sailing over the Drake Passage from Ushuaia, Argentina and flying back to Punta Arenas, Chile via charter airplane from King George Island.
INCLUDES: Land-based pre-sail: 3 additional days of town based ski touring and excursions, 3 x Hotel B&B in Ushuaia. Sail boat rental with crew, harbour fees, permit fees, UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guides, group gear, multi-course dinners, breakfast on board as well as lunch supplies, flight from Antarctic Peninsula back to Punta Arenas.
NOT INCLUDED: Transportation to/from South America, personal equipment, gratuities.