McKenna Peterson grew up in Sun Valley, Idaho and dedicated most of her free time to skiing. After high school she moved to Boulder, CO where she was introduced to big mountain skiing. A former Freeskiing World Tour competitor, McKenna now winters in the Wasatch skiing as much as possible and summers in SE Alaska fishing for salmon and supporting her skiing addiction. McKenna and her friends have undertaken the Shifting Ice & Changing Tides project from Iceland to Greenland and will be collecting data for ASC researchers while pursuing first descents on the west coast of Greenland.
Shifting Ice and Changing Tides is a human and wind powered, female led, ski and sail expedition to the west coast of Greenland. In this remote, fascinating and beautiful region, we will be exploring and skiing first descents while limiting our 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.
Nat Segal, Shifting Ice member and Freeride World Tour compititor, is headed to Greenland to help researchers better understand the impacts of climate change while ticking off first descents. Photo by Emily Polar.
Our expedition was born in 2013 after participating in SheJumps
’ Alpine Finishing School; an all female ski mountaineering course in Canada’s Selkirk Mountains. As a group, we wanted to do something that would inspire others, especially young women, to form a connection with the outdoors while igniting a passion for the environment. Meghan Kelly, the scientist of the group and brains behind the expedition, immediately set her sights on Greenland. The effect of climate change on Greenland’s ice sheet is highly visible, putting Greenland at the epicenter of climate change research.
The Shifting Ice crew consists of professional skiers Meghan Kelly, Natalie Segal, McKenna Peterson and Pip Hunt, master yachtsman Martha Hunt, and photographer/videographer Andy Bardon — adventurers and passionate environmentalists, yes, but not researchers or PhD students. So, how can we help? This is where ASC came into the picture. ASC has helped us to bridge the gap between what we know — adventure and exploration — and what we are passionate about: science and the health of our environment.
Meet the people and ideas behind Shifting Ice. Find the extended version of the film here.
While sailing across the Denmark Strait from Iceland to Greenland, our team will be collecting surface water samples for ASC’s Marine Microplastics project
. Ocean microplastic contamination is prevalent, with greater than 85% of the samples previously collected for this project showing contamination. The samples that we collect in the Denmark Strait will help researchers to better understand the source, composition and distribution of microplastics in this area and will contribute to a larger, global microplastics dataset. We will also be collecting sea ice samples during our voyage. These samples will be used to help understand the past extent of sea ice cover and help researchers better predict what will happen to sea ice under a changing climate.
Once we reach the West coast of Greenland, we will begin collecting snow and ice samples from the glaciers on which we will be skiing ﬁrst descents. The snow and ice samples will be used to map the distribution of organic pollutants and understand their connection to climate change and glacier melt. The potential to ﬁnd pollutants within a remote snowpack that had preciously never been touched by a human is a powerful and informative image.
The northern lights over Greenland. Photo courtesy of greenland.com.
Having the opportunity to partner with ASC and assist with these research projects enhances our expedition. The entire Shifting Ice team is excited to see how our ﬁndings impact current environmental research. We will use adventure and exploration to bring back a story that is compelling enough to grab the attention of the general audience. Within our story we will show, teach, and bring awareness to the serious impact climate change is having on our planet. We are hoping to reach as many eyes and ears as possible, so that we can make an impact and inﬂuence change.
You can help support the Shifting Ice & Changing Tides project through their indiegogo campaign. More information about the expedition at shiftingice.org. Keep up with ASC by subscribing to ASC’s blog, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (@AdventurScience), Instagram (@AdventureScience) and Google+.
MEET THE SHIFTING ICE TEAM:
is the quintessential “ski bum.” A former Freeskiing World Tour competitor, McKenna spends most of her winter backcountry skiing and chasing snow. She works on a fishing boat in Alaska during the summer months to continue to have winters off. Mckenna has nine years of backcountry skiing experience with extensive trips in Idaho, Utah, Montana, Washington, and British Columbia. More about McKenna at mckennapeterson.com
is a current competitor on the Freeride World Tour, one of only a dozen women to qualify in the world. After retiring from competitive mogul skiing, Nat moved to Chamonix and began her career as a professional big mountain skier. Nat is a qualified ski instructor and freestyle coach. She has six years backcountry skiing experience in Europe, North America, New Zealand, and Australia. More about Nat at nataliesegal.com
is an engineer and scientist working to protect Lake Tahoe. She also teaches college courses covering current environmental issues. Meghan has competed in big mountain skiing competitions, skied many of the highest peaks in California, and filmed in Alaska for an all-women’s ski movie. Meghan currently heads up the California chapter of SheJumps. More about Meghan on meghankellyteles.com
Former Freeskiing World Tour competitor (with many top 5 finishes), Pip Hunt
has been pursuing a skiing career from a young age. Pip has over eight years of backcountry skiing experience in ski touring and glacial travel 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 adventuresofpip.com
Born in England, Martha Hunt 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.
The lone male, Andy Bardon
serves as both photographer and videographer. As a former Exum mountain guide, he has the ability to climb and shoot in some of the most challenging terrain on earth. Recent assignment work has taken Andy from the slopes of Mt Everest to the clear blue waters of Tahiti. More about Andy at andybardon.com