Armed with skis and professional-caliber mountain skills, the Shifting Ice and Changing Tides all-women team is set off last week on a human- and wind-powered skiing and sailing expedition to the West Coast of Greenland. The team, made up of professional skiers, scientists, and National Geographic Young Explorer Nat Segal, will be exploring Greenland and skiing first descents while limiting their environmental footprint by sailing and climbing. The expedition serves as a platform for raising awareness about climate change and environmental issues as well as for inspiring and promoting female participation in snow sport adventures. During the expedition the team members will be collecting samples for both our microplastics and snow & ice projects.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation caught up with some of the team members before they departed.
ASC: What makes you most excited about the Shifting Ice expedition?
Pip Hunt: I am most excited about the unknown! There are so many aspects of this trip that my imagination can’t do justice to—the ice sheet, polar bears, sailing in the Arctic. I can’t wait to set off on this crazy adventure!
Meghan Peterson: For me, it is seeing more than one year of hard work come together into one cohesive journey. Our teamwork has fired on all cylinders during the planning process and now we get to put it to the test in a harsher and more physically taxing environment.
McKenna: The adventure! Definitely the adventure. Like Pip said, there are a lot of unknowns going into this, it will be really exiting to see what we find and how our story develops. I am also excited to see what we bring home; how our data impacts the research we are helping with and how our story reaches the public.
Nat Segal: I’m most excited about leaving the Internet behind, packing up a bag of gear, and signing out of reality! We are going to be immersed in adventure for three straight weeks and I just can’t wait to come at it head-on with no distractions.
ASC: What about what makes you nervous about the expedition? What is keeping you up at night?
McKenna: I think I speak for all of us when I say I am most nervous about the same thing I am most excited about, the adventure and the unknown. But the excitement definitely outweighs the nerves.
Meghan: Like McKenna, the same things that make this trip exciting make me nervous and all of it can be grouped into “the unknowns.” Will we have good weather? Will we be able to access terrain we want to ski? Will I be sea sick the whole time?
Pip: I’m probably most nervous about staying on the boat for three weeks, I think the biggest challenge will not be getting on each other’s nerves in such a small environment! Thank god for Apples to Apples, Kindles, and Cards Against Humanity!
Nat: I have honestly had several nightmares about polar bears so for me it is a battle between worrying about meeting a giant polar bear face-to-face and dreading the four-day open water sail—I tend to get sea sick…
ASC: What’s the one essential non-gear item you’re packing to keep yourself sane?
Nat: I packed two books, a biography of Gertrude Bell (19th century explorer) and Deep by Porter Fox. I have this awesome day dream of skiing all day, getting back on the boat, and reading until dinner. It’s definitely a pipe dream but it’s a nice one!
Pip: I think I just listed three in the last answer, although I think those are pretty essential to keep cabin fever at bay. The one “luxury” item I am bringing is my Kindle. I love to read and one of my favorite parts about traveling is reading a book that is set wherever I’m going.
Meghan: Sriracha! To spice up the northern fare!
McKenna: Goal Zero portable speakers and an ipod. Dance parties! Everyone will benefit from that.
Meet the Team:
McKenna Peterson, the quintessential “ski bum” is a former Freeskiing World Tour competitor. McKenna winters in the mountains chasing snow and summers on a fishing boat in Alaska. More about McKenna at Shifting Ice and mckennapeterson.com.
Nat Segal was recently named a National Geographic Young Explorer for her accomplishments on and off the mountain and for her dedication to the Shifting Ice + Changing Tides expedition. A current compepitor on the Freeride World Tour, Nat’s recent accomplishments include a victory at the Telluride stop just days before leaving for Iceland for this expedition. More about Nat at nataliesegal.com.
Pip Hunt, herself a former Freeskiing World Tour competitor (with many top 5 finishes), has over eight years of backcountry skiing experience in the Chugach, Chamonix, and Patagonia. Pip also works on the other side of the screen as a freelance writer, contributing to publications such as ESPN and Powder Magazine. More about Pip at Shifting Ice and at adventuresofpip.com.
Meghan Kelly is an engineer and scientist working to protect Lake Tahoe. She loves to work hard and play hard – competing in big mountain skiing competitions, skiing many of the highest peaks in California, filming an all-women’s ski movie in Alaska and heading up the California chapter of SheJumps. More about Meghan at Shifting Ice and on meghankellyteles.com.
Martha Hunt, English by birth, has been skiing her whole life and carries 25 years of backcountry skiing experience. She is a qualified ski instructor, master yachtsman, a lead guide at Great Northern Powdercats in Montana, and a Cordon Bleu chef. The most experienced member at sea, she will provide mentorship throughout the trip. More about Martha at Shifting Ice.
KT Miller is a passionate photographer, cinematographer, and conservationist who loves to spend time in the mountains. Working as a photographer she recently skied Denali and laid down first descents in the Transylvanian Alps. Her work has been featured in publications such as Red Bull, ESPN, and Freeskier. Kt spends multiple months each year in the Arctic working in climate change education and media with Polar Bears International and is thrilled to be documenting this expedition in order to communicate solutions to the climate crisis for future generations of snow enthusiasts. More about KT at Shifting Ice.