Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 4: Level 1 Polar Training
Eric Larsen
14 January 2020 | Lake of the Woods
I realized today that Iâ??m not as interesting as I once thought. One might look at my lifestyle as glamorous and globetrotting but the reality is that I go to places in the world that look eerily similar and do the exact same thing while eating the exact same food. Ok - maybe itâ??s not that bad, but do you see my point, donâ??t you?

Life on ice. Itâ??s my thing I guess.

Earlier in the day we skied out the Warroad River and onto Lake of the Woods and (another) huge frozen expanse. We skied for an hour then stopped to have a snack. Heading northeast, I watched a line of clouds get pushed farther and farther away and felt the temperature drop. This morning it had been snowing and 25 degrees (balmy). Now it was a comfortable 10 F. I smiled underneath my face mask. It felt good to be skiing out here.

I like polar travel and sharing my knowledge with others and teaching skills that allow people to be comfortable and safe in extreme environments. My Level 1 Polar Training course is a frenetic (but calm) paced tutorial on all things winter travel. For the first three days, we base out of a cabin and learn and refine skills like tent and camp set up, navigation, food prep and menu planning, stove use and more.

This year, I have a small group which has been really nice and even relaxing at times. Nathan, a product designer for Outdoor Research, is testing his prototype cold weather gear. Gus is a former pro cyclist and now a filmmaker is training for a cold weather bike expedition in Russia. Jason wants to ski solo to the South Pole. Phil wants to ski across Greenland. Despite their icy similarities, there are a lot of very interesting and unique cold places in the world.

This is my first time doing this training in Warroad and on Lake of the Woods. Several people stopped to watch us ski past town and onto the lake. Everyone we have talked to has been unfailingly nice and genuinely excited about what we are doing.

We skied for five hours stopping regularly for snacks and water. The wind picked up slightly and the temperature dropped even further as we watched our shadows lengthen toward the horizon. By the time we stopped to set up camp, the orange sphere of the sun was melting into the horizon.

Image: I spy with my little eye... polar travelers.
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