All Aboard the Climate Cruise
On March 26, the all-female team of pro skiers Pip Hunt, McKenna Peterson, Meghan Kelly and Nat Segal, along with Pip's mother Martha Hunt will sail from Iceland to the west coast of Greenland to ski first descents and collect climate-change data for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. The Polartec Challenge Award provided $5,000 in initial funding for their trip, and the team is using crowd-funding site Indiegogo to make up the remaining costs associated with the travel and logistics and producing a video documentary. We caught up with a few members of the team in Revelstoke, BC, while they were there shooting with the all-female ski movie "Pretty Faces" to talk about their upcoming trip.
First off, why Greenland? What about that place attracted you?
McKenna Peterson: Greenland is remote and beautiful and has garnered a lot of attention recently due to the rapidly receding ice sheet. It's the perfect place to visually observe what climate change is doing to our environment. As for the skiing, Greenland has a lot of unknowns. We don't have much information on the snow conditions or terrain. That makes it really exciting.
Meghan Kelly: Honestly, it was seeing Greenland from an airplane flying back from Europe. I saw steep mountains in a sea of white.
There are easier ways to get to Greenland. Sailing across an icy, stormy sea is probably not the easiest or safest.
Kelly: It seems like all great adventures to the poles involve water. Our whole team was drawn to sailing immediately since it relies on the power of the wind and the deftness of humankind.
Peterson: We wanted this trip to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so we chose to sail and hike rather than use helicopters or snowmobiles. Plus, it adds another exciting adventure component to the trip.
Pip Hunt: In my family, sailing has always been something we did together. My mother had recently completed her Royal Yachtmaster's certification and completed her first trans-Atlantic trip. She was excited and looking for new sailing adventures and I thought, why not combine the two?
Do you think that some of your first descents in Greenland could also be last descents, given changing climate conditions?
Peterson: Yes, I do, which is scary to think about and honestly a big risk we are taking for this trip. In previous years, it would be unheard of to reach the southwest coast of Greenland by boat at this time of year. But, the ice sheet has broken up so much that now we can.
At the end of this trip, what do you want people to have learned from what you did?
Hunt: At the end of the day, we want women -- and all people -- to know that if you dream big and work hard, you can make the impossible possible.
Peterson: We want our story to bring awareness to the serious impact climate change is having on our planet while inspiring our followers to simply get outside and form a connection with the environment.