Canadian Sébastien Lapierre to attempt solo ski to South Pole (Interview)

I will adapt my schedule according to my 7 hours of rest and will try to maximise the time spent skiing when the weather is good.”

When successfull, Sébastien Lapierre will become the first Canadian to complete a solo Antarctic ski expedition, that is, without any outside assistance. His 2010 Greenland Ice Cap ski expedition and 2013 kayaking expedition from Tuktoyaktuk to Gjoa Haven, contributed to the knowledge he has acquired for this 1130 km full route, Hercules Inlet to Geographic South Pole ski expedition, Sébastien told Explorersweb/Pythom.

When not on expedition, he is a Fire Fighter in Quebec City. There Sébastien talked a lot with his friend and fellow countryman, Frédéric Dion, about Antarctica. Frédérick was an Antarctic traverse kiter though, and Sébastien pointed out some differences between a skiing and a kiting expedition.

We caught up with him in Quebec City in “the rush of last minute details” and trying to get everything ready as soon as possible so he can get some rest, he says.

Explorersweb/Pythom: We got to know you in your kayak on the Arctic waters. How did you decide on a solo ski to the South Pole?

Sébastien: Before my kayak expedition, I spent a month on the Greenland Icecap. That was in April 2010. At this time I was with the same expedition Partner as during my kayak expedition trough the Northwest Passage. Basically, the Greenland expedition was almost exactly what I am going to do in Antarctica, but on a shorter time and distance.

What have you learned in your kayak that you will take with you?

Sébastien: The kayak trip was a long expedition. So I know I can spend that much time in an extreme environment. I also learned a lot about progressing according to the rhythm of the nature. In Antarctica, I will also have 24 hours of light and I will adapt to this component as I did in 2013. I will adapt my schedule according to my 7 hours of rest and will try to maximize the time spent skiing when the weather is good.

You are friends with Frédéric Dion, what have you learned from him about Antarctica?

Sébastien: I have spoken with him a lot to confirm what I was thinking. Unfortunately, he didn’t use the same path (except for his return so he was going downhill where I will go uphill) and he was kiting while I will be skiing. That’s a big difference because the weight of his equipment was not as important as it is for me. Clothing was not the same either since he wasn’t sweating as much as I will 😉 But he was a good source of information about snow conditions and weather.

Not everyone can do a solo on Antarctica, or for that matter anywhere else. Why do you think you will cope on your own?

Sébastien: This is my first big expedition on my own. And the reason why, is because I was waiting to feel confident about it, and to know that I had enough knowledge and experience to perform solo. After a similar experience in Greenland with similar environmental conditions and after my kayak expedition, similar in terms of days spent out there, I feel confident about what I have learned to go solo.

What will keep you motivated?

Sébastien: My family! Every day spent in Antarctica is a day spent without my family, so the faster I ski, the faster I see them again 🙂

Being solo you will be kept busy navigating all the time during the day. Do you have music and audio books with you?

Sébastien: Being solo means doing everything, so I will be kept busy indeed. But yes, I will be listening to music on my I pod shuffle during the day and once in the tent, I will have some reading on my Ipad. But I am not sure I will have a lot of time to read 😉

What is your favorite kind of books?

Sébastien: I like thriller novels and historical explorer stories.


Skis: Asnes Gamme 54

Boots: Baffin 3pin expedition boots

Sled: Acapulka pro expedition 210

Tent: Hilleberg Nammatj2

Stove (and how many): MSR XGK (and probably a MSR Whispelight as a backup… but still not sure if I will bring a second one since I am bringing every spare parts of my XGK)

Clothes: custom made by Kanuk according to my specific needs.

Examples of specific needs? Are you going to wear a skirt?

Sébastien: I’m not too much into wearing a skirt 😉 What I mean by specific needs is more about fabrics (windproof), isolation (my down parka is made with Thindown), number and positions of pockets, length of my jacket, isolated knee pads etc…

Sébastien Lapierre is leaving his hometown, Quebec City, for Punta Arenas on November 20th, where he will arrive on the 21st. His scheduled flight (weather permitting) for Antarctica is on the 26th and he should start his expedition on the 28th. When he is not on expedition, the French Canadian is a Fire Fighter for the city of Quebec. He has 2 kids, a 3 year old boy and a 4 month old little girl.

Sébastien’s website:



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Northwest Passage kayak interview with Sebastien Lapierre, no waiting for perfect conditions (2013)

The South Pole skirt

Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

1989: Arved Fuchs traversed Antarctica, with Messner (Interview)

Emma Kelty: speed ski and return attempt (Exweb South Pole interview)

Exweb South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt


Antarctica 2016: No gear for Emma, no good weather for Michele – UPDATE 2

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

ALE and ALCI open Antarctica season

Michele Pontrandolfo to attempt solo Antarctic Traverse again

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Antarctic Researcher died in the field (October 2016)

Antarctica Current: Polar How-To-Guide Heads-Up for Polar Statistics and Rules

Explorers House for a map with interactive South Pole ski routes.

HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software)

Logistic operators:

ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions)

ALCI (Antarctic Logistics Center International)

Weather Maps:

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