Two levels of training that cover everything from the basics to highly advanced skills
Whether you are training for the toughest polar expedition or simply looking to learn some new cold weather camping skills our Polar Shakedown Training and Polar Training Plus Seminar offer the best way to build your confidence and skill set. Our expert guides have organized and guided over 100 combined polar expeditions making them among the most experienced guides in the industry.
Polar Shakedown Training
If you're preparing for an extreme cold weather expedition or polar trek, such as a guided last degree or two degree expedition to the North or South Pole, or if you're wanting to fine-tune your ability to thrive during any cold weather adventure, this is the right training for you. Our five day "Shakedown" has been an industry-leading training for nearly 30 years, preparing hundreds of people for expeditions in the polar regions. We cover everything from what to pack and how to prepare to the skills you need to thrive in the cold instead of survive.
Polar Training Plus
Building upon what is covered in our Polar Shakedown Training, the 10 day Polar Training Plus Seminar dives deep into the essentials of polar expedition travel and prepares you for expeditions that are longer, harder and often unguided. Preparation is emphasized with lessons in route planning, equipment modification, menu planning, nutrition and emergency preparedness. Everyday skills such as navigation, cooking, personal maintenance, field repairs, and communication are also covered. This training culminates with a mini self-guided expedition where you'll put your newly practiced skills to the test followed by an in depth one-on-one review with your guide to create an individualized plan for further skill development.
If you're looking for expert advice or if you need one-on-one help preparing for an expedition let us know. We have nearly 30 years of organizing expeditions and helping people train for their adventures. Our OPT-IN Sessions (Online Polar Training) offer phone/video consultation along with an online curriculum to help you make the most of your pre-expedition preparations. Contact us for more details.
- Equipment List
- Dates & Rates
- Trip Insurance
Polar Training Daily Itinerary
- Day 1
- (Shakedown and Polar Training Plus) Arrive in Ely or Longyearbyen. A PolarExplorers guide will check your kit to ensure you have everything you need. Over a hearty dinner you'll have an opportunity to meet the other members of the training and discuss the upcoming days. After dinner your PolarExplorers guide will review his or her own personal kit and explain the use, maintenance, modifications and packing technique for each item.
- Day 2-4
- (Shakedown and Polar Training Plus) After breakfast we'll hit the trail! For three days and two nights you'll experience what its like to survive (and thrive!) in extremely cold temperatures. We'll have a combination of formal and impromptu classes that cover a variety of topics ranging from packing a sled, to managing your temperature, to selecting the best tent site and making camp. On our final night we'll make our way back to our lodge for hot showers and a review of the skills you've learned. For our USA-based trainings 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
- (Shakedown) 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. (Polar Training Plus) This day kicks off the next phase of your training with classes ranging from navigation to nutrition/menu planning to emergency preparedness. We stay in the lodge tonight so we can work well into the evening.
- Day 6-9
- (Polar Training Plus) The next four days / three nights will be spent on a self-guided mini expediiton. The route will be rigorous simulating a typical day on a polar expedition. You'll put into use all the skills you have practiced the previous week. You'll navigate using waypoints that you've enter into your GPS and follow a routine based upon the daily Expedition Plan that you create. At night you'll establish camp and check-in with your guides via satellite phone or InReach to practice the same communication plans that are used on polar expeditions. On day nine you'll head back to the lodge where you'll meet up with your guides for a final evening that inlcudes a one-on-one review of your skills / judgement, as well as a recommended plan for your continued skill development.
- Day 10
- (Polar Training Plus) On the last morning of the training we'll wrap everything up prior to your departure for home.
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.
Polar Shakedown Training Dates & Rates
Polart Shakedown Training: February 3-7, 2021 (USA) or April 10-14, 2021 (Svalbard, Norway)
Polar Training Plus: February 3-12, 2021 (USA)
Polar Shakedown Training: $2,500 USD (Ely Minnesota, USA) or €2,000 (Svalbard, Norway)
Polar Training Plus: $3,900 USD
Inclusions vary by location:
USA trainings inculde lodging and meals as outlined in the itinerary, all group equipment, ski system, sleeping system, sled, guides, permits, communication & safety gear.
Svalbard trainings include all group equipment, ski system, sleeping system, sled, guides, permits, communication & safety gear.
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.
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
The 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
We 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