Adventurers of the Year 2007

Sarah + Eric McNair-Landry: Arctic Royalty

When you grow up with renowned Arctic guides for parents, with all of Baffin Island as your playground, a team of sled dogs at your disposal, and a tangle of snow kites in the garage, you are bound for big things. So when Sarah McNair-Landry, 21, and her brother, Eric, 23, along with their friend Curtis Jones, 30, decided to snowkite some 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) across the Greenland Ice Sheet—that's Boston to Miami on an uninterrupted sea of ice—no one was surprised. In awe? Now that's another matter.

As the children of Paul Landry and Matty McNair  (who herself was an Adventurer of the Year in 2006), Sarah and Eric were practically raised on expeditions. By the time they set out for the Ice Sheet this summer, Sarah had already been to two poles, Eric to one, and both were veterans of two previous trips to Greenland. But this time, says Eric, "We wanted to do something that was long and challenging and would really push the limits." Try hiking four days from the ocean up mountains and across crevasses, dragging 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of equipment apiece. And that's just to where the team could start kiting. Then it was six weeks of whipping across the ice at speeds of up to 20 mph (32 kmh). In one amazing run they covered 256 miles (412 kilometers) in 24 continuous hours. "Our stomachs hurt from the vibrations," says Eric.

To most, such a remarkable journey would be a means to equally remarkable ends, a "first" of sorts. But Sarah and Eric claim not to be motivated by records (though, incidentally, they did grab two: They're the first brother-sister team to cross the Ice Sheet, and Sarah is the youngest to do a south-to-north traverse). Instead, Sarah insists, the goal was to inspire the next generation of explorers. "You get youth outside and get them active and they start to appreciate the environment and care for it," she says. There is no record more worthy than that.

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Read This Next

Clothing from 1600s shipwreck shows how the 1 percent lived
A Q&A with Nikole Hannah-Jones on ‘The 1619 Project’

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet