Why does Chris Davenport keep going back to Antarctica?
The skiing there just doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet, he says.
It’s no secret that Chris Davenport has traveled across the globe, and then some, to ski the world’s greatest places. The Alps to Alaska. The Himalayas to Hokkaido. He made history as the first person to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in one year, and then he made history again when he teamed up with Ted and Christy Mahon to ski the 100 highest mountains in Colorado, the Centennials.
But there’s one place on this planet that continues to pull Davenport back, again and again: Antarctica. This last fall, Davenport made the long journey south for his sixth trip to ski the frozen continent on the bottom of the planet. He’s crossed the Drake Passage, known to be one of the most treacherous oversea routes in the world, 12 times. So what is it about Antarctica that keeps pulling Dav back?
“I have skied all over the world,” he said, a few weeks after he’d returned from the trip, when he was back home in Aspen. “I’ve skied in all the great places. And I’ve never had the same feeling of like, holy shit, this is just blowing my mind on such a different level. I can’t believe I’m on the same planet.”
Think of deepest blue water and ice formations worthy of art galleries in famous museums. Think of penguins, seals, whales, and birds flying overhead. Think of thousands of vertical feet of steep terrain diving into the ocean, of a stable maritime snowpack, of skinning at sea level and feeling the superpower of so much air in your lungs.
“It’s the world’s most incredible combination of nature, wildlife and skiing,” he says. “It just doesn’t exist anywhere else. Perhaps Svalbard. Perhaps Greenland. But not in the same way as Antarctica. If you’re a skier who loves traveling the world and having incredible experiences, I just honestly believe it doesn’t get any better than the Antarctic Peninsula.”