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The Arctic Challenge

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Until The Ultimate Arctic Circle Race

The Arctic Race Stats

Distance

160kilometres

Temperature

-35ºC

Duration

72 gruelling hours

About The Race

Nuuk, Greenland Wednesday 08:00 Clear -12ºC

About the Race

The Arctic Circle Race is one of the most gruelling challenges on the planet. Covering 160km of Greenland’s west coast, the route stretches through the countryside around Sisimiut, a small fishing town, where the race officially starts and finishes. The route takes competitors through magnificent, varied and harsh terrain as they attempt to complete the world’s toughest cross-country race.

The Challenge

The three-day event is not for the faint-hearted; competitors can burn thousands of calories per day, and at night they sleep in tents in the snow in temperatures that sink as low as -30ºC. There are rest stops available where hot and cold drinks and high calorie foods are provided, but if you haven’t done your training, you’ll soon become unstuck.

Visit the Official Race website at acr.gl

Ski 4 Cancer

Ski 4 Cancer was set up by a group of skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts who have either recovered from cancer, or have lost a friend or close relative to cancer.

Ski 4 Cancer provides alpine-based respite days and short breaks for British families affected by cancer. They also give grants to UK-based care institutions and support research into the positive effects of sport (e.g. skiing) and how it can help both prevent cancer and assist in recovery, post diagnosis.

Visit ski4cancer.org

Sisimiut, Greenland

100KM North of the Arctic Circle

(Somewhere over here)

Columbus

About Greenland

Nuuk, Greenland Wednesday 08:00 Clear -12ºC

Destination: Greenland

Greenland is, by area, the world’s largest island - and the third largest country in North America. It’s a place where night doesn't fall for three months of the year, you can dive with seals and icebergs, and there’s more seafood on offer than you can shake a stick at.

It’s part of Denmark, but was granted autonomy recently, and has a population of around 56,000.

It’s a spectacular and brutal country with unrivalled scenery. Don’t expect temperatures above 10°C during the warmest summer months. However, in the southern parts of the country, temperatures of around 20°C have been recorded during the summer.

Getting there:

Greenland’s national airline is Air Greenland, and the only direct flights to Greenland are either from Denmark or Iceland.

From London, the journey takes around five and a half hours. Adverse weather conditions often cause delays or interruptions, so it’s worth checking your flight’s not been held up before you leave.


Flights during the winter months are quite expensive; a return to Greenland from Gatwick during December via Reykjavik can cost around £800.

Thinking about flying your own plane in? You’re in luck; Greenland's airports are very private aviation-friendly if the weather is right.

Greenland’s government:

Although Greenland is still part of Denmark, it was given self-effective government in 1979, and it recently voted for more autonomy.

Greenlanders elect two representatives to the Folketing, Denmark's parliament. The current representatives are Sara Olsvig of the Inuit Community Party and Doris Jakobsen from the Siumut Party from the Forward Party.

Many Greenlanders predict that the country will eventually become independent. Greenland's head of state is Margrethe II, Queen regnant of Denmark.


The current commissioner is Mikaela Engell.

The people:

Greenlandic Inuit are the indigenous peoples of Greenland, and most people speak both Greenlandic and Danish. They’re known for being kind, unpretentious, and for their hospitality towards visitors - and often go out of their way to ensure tourists feel welcome.

Extended families are extremely important to them and monogamy is commonplace. Greenlanders are not known for creating unnecessary dramas, and don’t take themselves too seriously; if you have the opportunity to enjoy a drink with the locals, take it.

When visiting a new area, don’t be afraid to ask for directions to pubs, shops, bars, or even to find somewhere to stay. Generally, the towns and cities are tiny - Nuuk, the capital, is very small - so most people know where everything is.

Things to do:

Where do we start? In terms of winter sports and having fun in the frozen wastes, you’re in the right place. There’s dogsledding, hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling, heliskiing, mountaineering and, if you’re not that bothered by being submerged in the chilliest waters known to man, diving.

Plenty of people come to Greenland purely to see the Northern Lights (otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis), a lightshow like no other. From September to April, the Arctic night sky is lit up by a fantastical multicoloured glow.

If you’re up for another mind-altering concept, don’t miss the midnight sun. In central Greenland, the sun doesn’t set from the end of May until the end of July, and the country’s hilltops and valleys are bathed in pink, purple, yellow and red hues from the low-lying sun. 

Going out:

Firstly, it’s worth bearing in mind that Greenland has some unusual alcohol laws. You can’t purchase alcohol on a Sunday or after 12pm on a Saturday, and during a weekday, the cut-off point for buying booze is 6pm.

Greenland’s not known for its nightlife; however, there are a few pubs and bars that will hit the spot if you need to cut loose.

Arctic Café in Qaqortoq Town is a friendly, fun venue that can be hard to leave, and Hønekroen, based in Narsaq, is a converted chicken farm (stay with us) that is now a billiard hall and dance hall that hosts live music on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Skyline Bar in Nuuk Town is not the most characterful place to have a drink, but during the day, the view’s worth going for.

The food:

The food in Greenland is not that different from American or European dishes. However, if you love seafood, you’re in luck - many places combine traditional Greenland foods with well-known dishes.

Nuuk also has several burger bars and a couple of very high-end restaurants; prices are high, but as a rule, servings are very large - especially if your meal also comes with fries.

Traditionally, Greenlandic cuisine is based on meat from marine mammals, game, birds, and fish, and local dishes include various fish (often, they’re smoked or dried), mussels, and shrimp.

Here’s some trivia for you; the Greenland shark is rarely eaten, because it is poisonous, but can be edible after either boiling the meat repeatedly or fermenting it.

 

Greenland’s history:

Greenland’s first inhabitants arrived around 4,000-5,000 years ago from the North American continent when the sea froze in the narrow strait at Thule in northern Greenland.

The current population of Greenland is descended from the Thule culture, who arrived in Greenland in around 900AD.

80% of the population are indigenous Inuit and the remainder are primarily Danish.

The Inuit share a common language and culture with those in Canada and Alaska.

Until commercial flights took off, East Greenland was cut off from the rest of the world for most of the year by a wide belt of ice that surrounds the coast. 

Support The Arctic Challenge

Taking on the World's toughest cross country ski race to raise over £30,000 for Ski4Cancer- A charity committed to cancer research and patient respite.

Donate to Ski For Cancer
ski4cancer
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