Imagine temperatures down to minus 40 degrees, while battling strong winds and having a minimum of one to two hours of day light. It is only you and the white landscapes as far as the eye can reach
The 1st of February 2018 will be the start of a testing 2000km solo ski adventure, that I will embark on. The journey starts at the most northern part of Europe North Cape (Nordkapp) continuing down to Sälen in Sweden.
My name is Gina Johansen, I am a twenty-six years old Swedish female, who has been living and working in Sydney since October 2010. I have a strong background in Equestrian and as a result have been working in the horse racing industry as a track rider at Royal Randwick for seven years.
However my true passion lies in outdoor adventure.
First, let me briefly talk you through where this idea came from and then how I intend on doing this. For many years the Australian Ultra Marathon runner Pat Farmer has inspired me. Pat has some truly amazing stories of endurance and testing his strength. Carrying out expeditions and runs from the North to the South Pole without so much as a day off! He has also participated in runs around and across Australia while also completing many other marathons through out various countries all over the world, all while raising millions of dollar to people in need. Given my passion for running and love for the outdoors it seemed a perfect fit, this is what I want to do.
Challenge my mind and body on a new and completely audacious level.
I want to challenge myself in a new way. Cycling to Cairns from Sydney was the most recent challenge I have completed. Along with my boyfriend we cycled 2700km through some of the harshest and most spectacular landscape I have ever seen. Previous to that I have completed running races in the mountains and love how running tests my body and mind. I often visit the Blue Mountains mainly to run the various trail tracks that are located there. As I have experienced these two types of adventures with specific rigorous training I have now started looking into new types of adventures. Skiing is a type of physical exertion that my body can handle. The impact and stress is not unfamiliar to that of a marathon runner and while I enjoyed the cycle to Cairns I wanted a new adventure.
The reason I have chosen Nordkapp to Sälen not only for the physical challenge but also for its location. Remote places where not many people travel to are ideal locations for me. They always have my attention for it’s untouched beauty, but I also have a curious mind and want to explore life in the northern parts of Scandinavia. To learn more about the Indigenous; the Sami people and of course experience the northern light. Because of these curiosities and the locations natural charm I further researched and found out about the Nordkapp to Sälen,
I will be the first person to ski this distance.
Without any previous experience skiing or camping in the winter time it has been a lot to learn, I have been lucky to have Pat Farmer and Niclas Bentzler, from deluxe turer in Sweden helping me. Sharing knowledge and passing on advice especially with regards to he equipment and gear I will need. They’ve also help a lot with the planning of the adventure.
Recently Pat and I altered my training reigme so it is much more specific for the task at hand. I have spent many hours down at Maroubra beach and Mutch park with my tyre that I drag (simulating a slead). Training usually 2-3 hours per day and this is done 6 days a week.
I will do my adventure unassisted which means I have to drag a sledge with all the necessary equipment and food. Progression through training has been tough but rewarding, the first day I trained with the tyre together with Pat farmer we had a problem with our harnesses; it was painful and uncomfortable to drag the tyre. Pat told me that morning “ It’s important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable” these are very powerful words that have stayed with me through out training and words that will stay with me while I complete my adventure.
It will be a very challenging adventure not only physically but also mentally.
Did I mention that I’m afraid of the dark?! With only 1-2 hours of daylight the first couple of weeks of the trip I’m sure this will be something I fast over come!
I am also very curious how it is to be out there on my own every day, this is an aspect that continues to drive and intrigue me. This is something not many people will ever experience. The first 450 km of my trip is very remote and chances of seeing other people there is very slim. I have to navigate myself through Norway and Finland. Once I reach Sweden at Treriksröset I can follow marked scooter and skiing tracks.
I want to inspire young people to follow their dreams. With hard work and dedication the things that sounds impossible become possible. I also hope I can inspire more women to be more adventurous and inspire them to take on their own challenge. If that is to run a race, or go on a cycling holiday or just go hiking and explore new places or maybe something as crazy as I will do.
A lot of people ask me if I will raise money for a charity and I want to do that. But Pat told me to get everything else organised before I thinking about a charity. It has been a lot of work and there is still a lot of work to be done before the expedition. I still have to make my mind up if I will raise money for a charity or just do it to inspire young people and women. It would be fun to raise money for children and teenagers in Sweden that have families that can’t afford a little summer holiday. Maybe I can raise money so these children/ teenagers can go on their own little adventure together with their parents or on a summer camp with friends. I would prefer a smaller and more personal charity and something that has to do with Sweden as I spend most time of this expedition in Sweden.
If you have any suggestions please reach out to me
It will be difficult to update during my expedition but I will carry an in reach with me that allows me to make short blog updates and send messages to couple of people. The extreme cold weather effects the batteries and with only 1-2 hours of daylight I can’t use a solar panel, my only option will be a lot of batteries that I need to carry inside my jacket to keep warm.
To make this trip happen I need as much help as I can get.
Do you know someone that I should get in touch with, or maybe you are the person I should get in touch with. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
Photographer in Sweden preferably up north who can help to take photos in January before the trip and somebody who would like to take photos during the trip at a suitable location. Here is my route. Doesn't necessary has to be an processional photographer. Somebody with a camera and some good skills and love for photographing will be perfect for this. https://drive.google.com/open?id=127JeQbtOp31Thmz8T1yn2Up52I4&usp=sharing
Contacts in Alta, north Sweden or other location at Finnmarksvidda . I will need somewhere to stay for about 2 weeks before I set off to get my final training done and test all my gears.
Do you know anyone who would like to come for a road trip up to Nordkapp?
I’m looking for more partners to join me on this trip. Do you have a company and would like to be a part of this adventure. Please contact me to discuss this further or maybe you know somebody who works in the outdoor industry who can help me.
Contacts of people who work in media either for a news magazine, radio station or TV who maybe would be interested in following my expedition.
Thanks for reading
// Gina Johansen x