In 2011, Seth Wescott made his first ski trip to Antarctica with Squaw Valley-based Ice Axe Expeditions. Owner Doug Stoup runs the expedition every two years, and, though Wescott couldn't go this year due to Olympic obligations, he's planning to be on the 2015 trip.
"The Antarctic Peninsula was like nothing I've ever experienced," he says. "You're hiking for all your turns in unbelievable mountains and having this incredible nature experience."
During his 11-day adventure, Wescott saw killer whales, a variety of seals, and "tens of thousands" of penguins. The group lived on a boat, and they'd wake up each morning at a new bay with completely different snow conditions. Depending on the wind, the snow ranged from powder to ice. But Wescott's biggest adventure was making it back to South America over the notoriously rough Drake Passage.
"We were on a 300-foot boat that's seven stories tall and for several hours we were routinely putting the bow into the water," he says. "The waves must have been 40 or 50 feet. It was terrifying."