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Must-Do Trip: Polar Survival Course on Baffin Island

Ultimate Adventure Bucket List: Kite Skier Sarah McNair-Landry's dream trip is to kite ski the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. See all our Adventure Bucket List trips.

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A student pulls a sled during a polar skills training course on Baffin Island.

Growing up on Canada's Baffin Island doesn’t exactly make for a typical suburban childhood. Sarah McNair-Landry and her brother and expedition partner Eric learned how to survive outside in subzero temperatures and ski through gale-force winds, commonplace on Canada’s largest island. Now they run a guide service, NorthWinds, that helps those of us who grew up with gymnastics and swim lessons learn the basics of polar travel.

The first thing a prospective student learns is NorthWinds’ introductory philosophy: “Embrace challenge, no whining, treat others kindly, and maintain a positive attitude.” Over the two-week introductory course on Baffin Island, students learn how to keep warm in the Arctic, tackle common expedition repairs, treat injuries, and navigate by compass. They also learn kite skills on the frozen ocean—a kite skier’s paradise—and top it off with three- and four-day skill-testing expeditions on the wild frozen expanses of Baffin Island.

two-week introductory polar training course starts and ends in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and costs about $3,800 Canadian.

Next: See Sarah McNair-Landry's Dream Trip: Traverse the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia

Sarah McNair-Landry
Kite Skier
Cold-weather queen Sarah McNair-Landry has skied unsupported to the South Pole—the youngest person to do so—kite skied 1,429 miles across Greenland, and kite skied more than 1,800 miles across the Northwest Passage.