Polar Shakedown Training

Our Shakedown is the best training trip for aspiring polar explorers; and has been for over 20 years!

Whether you are training for an upcoming polar expedition or simply looking to learn some new skills our Polar Shakedown Training is the best way to build your confidence and level of experience. We cover everything from polar clothing and equipment systems, to navigation, safety systems, food and menu planning, cooking, camping routines, efficiency, and travel by ski or dogsled. 

Once you arrive at the start of an expedition, there is no time to learn the essentials of surviving in the cold. Team members who attend the Shakedown trip are able to handle the stresses in a systematized manner and enjoy the expedition to the fullest. 

Join our Polar Shakedown and make the most of your time on the ice! Ask us about this specialized training that will enhance your PolarExplorers expedition here.


  • Itinerary
  • Equipment List
  • Qualifications
  • Dates & Rates
  • Trip Insurance
  • Testimonials
  • Blogs

Polar Training Daily Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive in Ely or Longyearbyen, shuttle to our first night's lodge. Over a hearty dinner you'll have an opportunity to meet the other members of the Shakedown training and discuss the upcoming days. After dinner your PolarExplorers guide will closely review each participants clothing and equipment.
Day 2-4
After breakfast we'll hit the trail! For two days and nights you'll experience what its like to survive (and thrive!) in extremely cold temperatures. On our final night we'll make our way back to our lodge for hot showers. For our trainings in January our final night includes the opportunity to ski into a hole cut into the ice. This exercise gives you critical experience in dealing with cold water submerging (an unlikely, but possible occurrence on a North Pole expedition).
Day 5
Before individuals depart for their respective homes, they will have an individual review with their PolarExplorers guide. Our guides will help you create a solid plan so that you arrive for your expedition as prepared as possible.

This itinerary is highly dependent on a number of factors and is subject to change. Contact us for a more detailed itinerary!

Polar Training Equipment List

Upon registration, you will receive a comprehensive gear guide that explains the importance of each item as well as gear recommendations from our past participants.

  • 1 pair skis and ski poles (supplied by PolarExplorers)
  • 1 pair skins covering the full length of your skis (supplied by PolarExplorers)
  • 1 pair snow pack ski boots (bring your own or let PolarExplorers supply this item)
  • 1 pair extra boot liners (bring your own or let PolarExplorers supply this item)
  • Sleeping bag rated to at least -35° Celsius (bring your own or let PolarExplorers supply this item)
  • Bivy sack (bring your own or let PolarExplorers supply this item)
  • 2 sleeping pads (supplied by PolarExplorers)
  • 1 wind anorak with hood
  • 1 wind pants
  • 1 insulated parka with hood
  • 1 warm fleece jacket and pants
  • 2 sets synthetic or wool underwear, medium weight top and bottom- 2nd set optional
  • 3 sets mitts: 1 regular, 1 overmitts, 1 spare regular mitts or gloves
  • 2 pair liner gloves
  • 2 hats: 1 lightweight balaclava, 1 ski type
  • 2 neck gaiters
  • 3 pair socks and sock liners
  • 1 face mask
  • Sun glasses and/ or mountain ski glasses
  • 2 pr. anti-fog goggles
  • 1 sturdy small backpack with waist belt and sternum strap
  • 2 Thermos bottles or insulated water bottles
  • 1 set eating utensils with bowl
  • Pocket knife / multi-tool
  • Personal toiletries
  • 1 pee bottle (small plastic bottle)
  • Face cream, lip protection
  • 4 carabiners
  • Luggage locks

Polar Training Qualifications

This training is for people who are in good shape, and who are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. You will need to have very good cardiovascular endurance and the ability to either pull a loaded sled or work with a dogteam for several hours at a time, with only a short break in between sessions.

Towards the end of the day you'll need to have the energy reserves to set up camp, melt snow for hot tea or cocoa and help make dinner. This trip can encounter extremely cold conditions, and living in such cold conditions 24 hours a day can be very challenging.

You do not have to be a world class athlete to participate in and enjoy this trip, but every ounce of training and preparation will help to make the trip more enjoyable and safer. Please contact us with further questions!

Polar Shakedown Training Dates & Rates

2020 Dates

February 3-7, 2021 (USA)

February, 7-11. 2021 (USA) Dogsled Specific 

April 10-14, 2021 (Norway)


$2,500 USD (Ely Minnesota, USA)

€2,000 (Svalbard, Norway)

Inclusions vary by location:

Includes lodging and meals as outlined in the itinerary, all group equipment, ski system, sleeping system, sled, guides, permits, communication & safety gear. (USA)

Includes all group equipment, ski system, sleeping system, sled, guides, permits, communication & safety gear. (NORWAY)

Expedition Trip Insurance

Trip cancellation insurance is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for every PolarExplorers expedition.

Medical Evacuation insurance with a minimum coverage of $300,000 USD is REQUIRED on every PolarExplorers expedition.

Ensure that your policy covers your activity, destination and any pre-existing medical conditions (to cover pre-existing medical conditions you may need to purchase your policy within 14 days or less of your initial deposit).

If you are mountaineering check that the policy covers roped technical mountain travel and the elevation limit that you will have.


Ripcord Insurance (For non-US residents use the Offer Code "ripcordintl" which will enable you to receive quotes and/or purchase policies.) If your expedition is more than USD $30,000 you may need to send an email to: ClientServices@redpointresolutions.com or call them at +1 617-307-4636

If you live in the USA you have additional options. 

Travelex Insurance - Choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and add the ADVENTURE PLUS PAK to receive appropriate medical evacuation coverage.

Travel Guard has comprehensive policies that include trip cancellation or you can purchase a Single Trip Medical Evacuation Important! You must include the optional Adventure Sports coverage upgrade if you are climbing any mountains or traveling in rope teams. (Pre-existing medical coverage is not available with this policy.)

Polar Training Testimonials

I had a great time in Ely (on the Polar Shakedown Training). I learned a lot and I was also very impressed with the way that you all work. Kind, professional, with a good management of the human resources of your participants. That's maybe one of the most important things to succeed in such an adventure. Best regard to all the outstanding team!

Angelo Felguires

Wendy BookerThe entire shakedown was invaluable. I came with some knowledge of winter & expedition travel but I was amazed by what I didn't know and the differences of mountain travel vs. polar travel. The classes were perfect. Even during "down-time" we received instruction.

Wendy Booker

Simon HearnWe learned a great deal on the Shakdedown. I do feel ready for the expedition. Well done - this was efficient, well thought-out and done at the right tempo.

Simon Hearn


Are you ready to join us on a polar expedition?

Here are your PolarExplorers Forms. To register please complete and return the PolarExplorers Application. We will send you an invoice for your deposit.

Download Now PolarExplorers Application
Download Now Planning Your Polar Adventure
Download Now PolarExplorers Medical Form
Download Now PolarExplorers Insurance Form
Facebook Twitter YouTube  

Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328

Email Us
Phone 1.847.256.4409
Toll-Free USA/CAN. 800.732.7328