Snowsled History

Over the years we have regularly supplied Nansen sleds, pyramid tents and pulks to many nations and organisations working in polar regions, including;

  • Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany
  • Antarctic Expeditions and Logistics
  • BSES Expeditions (British Schools Exploring Society)
  • Chilean Antarctic Institute
  • Finland Arctic Centre
  • French Polar Institute
  • Japanese Antarctic Programme
  • National Science Foundation, USA
  • South African National Antarctic programme
  • Brazillian Antarctic Program
  • British Antarctic Survey
  • Canada Centre for Remote Sensing
  • Danish Polar Institute
  • Greenland Institute for Natural Resources
  • South Korean Antarctic Programme
  • Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Spain, Institute of Sea Sciences
  • Tangent Expeditions

Some of the orders along the way have included,

Summer 1988. Snowsled’s first order,

from British Antarctic Survey, for 2 Nansen sleds and other components, produced, as they still are today, from air dried ash boards (left) at least 13 ft long and 2” thick.

Wooden planks

1989. Rob Swann’s International North Pole Expedition.

8 Kevlar pulks, specially designed by the expedition.

1990. Trans Antarctica.

Snowsled made two Nansen sleds for this journey led by Will Steger, of an international team of 6, including Geoff Somers from GB, which completed the longest traverse of the continent (6000 kilometres) in 7 months by dog-sled. A third sled made at the same time is currently in the Malcolm Slessor display at the Fraseburgh Heritage Centre.

1991. Sir Wally Herbert’s sled,

used during his epic 4-man 16 month long first surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean, by dog-sled, completed in 1969, was renovated by Snowsled, and can be seen in the polar exhibition at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

1990. A 1/12th scale fully loaded model Nansen sled,

was commisioned by the British Antarctic Survey, to be presented to HM The Queen by the National Environmental Research Council, when she launched the last purpose built research vessel and ice-breaker, the RRS James Clark Ross. The boat is used to re-supply British research bases in Antarctica and to conduct ocean research in the far South.

1993. Iditarod

We made a dog racing sled for Keizo Funatsu (who was the Japanese member of TransAntarctica), when he competed in the race that year.

1996. Polar Race.

The first race, in 2003, to the 1996 position of the North Magnetic Pole, followed the successful televised trek in 1996 organised by David Hempleman Adams and Jock Wishart. It is now run every two years. Snowsled has supplied the plastic pulks and other equipment since it’s inception.

1996, 2000 Ran Fiennes.

Large Kevlar pulks for Antarctica (1996) and Arctic Ocean crossing (2000)

2000. Team Polar 2000

The four member team from the Royal Marines, led by Alan Chambers, successfully completed the journey to the North pole. ‘North Pole’ Kevlar pulks from Snowsled.

2001. British Army Antarctic Peninsula Expedition.

Pulks from Snowsled.

2001. Shackleton film.

Snowsled reproduced the Nansen sleds, dog harnesses and traces, and also the manhaul harnesses to the original designs, for this recreation film of Shackleton’s last Antarctic expedition in 1912, starring Kenneth Branner.

2005. Polar race.

Snowsled again recreated the Nansen and Amundsen sleds, pyramid tents, manhaul harnesses and other gear for the film portraying the 1912 race to the South Pole by Scott and Amundsen, filmed by Keo Films for Channel Four. Snowsled also made the Nansen sleds for the logistics parties.

2006. Hannah McKeand.

Fastest solo journey from coastal Antarctica to the South Pole – 690 miles in just over 39 days. Snowsled supplied her ‘Ice-cap 200 pulk’.

2006. Numis Polar Challenge.

A 5-member British expedition, recreating Scott’s 1912 journey to the South Pole. Snowsled organised all the equipment and clothing and manufactured most of it, to the original 1912 specification.

2006 Goliath Expedition.

In 1998 Karl Bushby started walking from the Southern tip of South America, and, by 2005, with an American Dimitri Kieffer, he had reached the Bering Strait, between Alaska and Russia. Snowsled supplied his ‘North Pole’ pulks for the winter journey up through Alaska to Cape Prince of Wales, and for the awesome crossing of the moving pack-ice to Russia in March 2006.

2007, March.

Stefano Miglietti from Italy, won the Yukon Ultra 300 mile race in Whitehorse, Canada, using a Snowsled Ice Blue plastic sled.

2008. 2300 Kms South to North traverse of Greenland Icecap

Using kites and Snowsled ‘Ice Blue’ plastic pulks. The small French party of three led by Michael Charavin completed the journey in 31 days.

2009. Norwegian Polar Institute.

Snowsled was commissioned to make a large komatik sled (4.5 m long X 2.2 m wide), to support a small ’magnetics’ hut during their 2200 Kms traverse in Antarctica.

2009. March. Chris Todd

Chris Todd from the UK, won the 6633 Arctic Ultra 350 mile race in Yukon, Canada, using a Snowsled Ice Blue plastic sled and wheel system. These wheeled pulks have become a standard piece of equipment for this race ever since.


Photo Martin Like. www.6633ultra.com

2009. 29th December.  Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Expediton.

Felicity Aston and seven other women companions from the Commonwealth, reached the South Pole after hauling pulks (Ice Blue Snowsled pulks) 900 miles from the coast of Antarctica. 

2010. May. Amelia Russell and Dan Darley.

reached the North Pole using Snowsled North Pole 160 pulks. Amelia was the first British Woman and the couple were the 5th and 6th Brits to successfully trek unsupported.

2011 – 12 Felicity Aston. First woman to ski across Antarctica alone

Once again Felicity chose the Ice Blue Snowsled pulks for this momentous crossing of Antarctica. She used two, roped together for the 1744 Kms, which took 59 days. See www.kasperskyonetransantarcticexpedition.com

2014. Wings over Greenland Expedition.Greenland WOG web 2 IMG_2685

Michael Charavin and Cornelius Strohm completed a circumnavigation of Greenland using Ice Blue Expedition pulks and kites in 59 days (average 86 Kms/day), travelling 5067 Kms. – the longest ski-kite journey ever.