Liv Arnesen’s inspiring memoir Skiing into the Bright Open is about her expedition as the first woman to ski solo to the South Pole.
With clarity and an understated tone, Arnesen recounts her evolution from being an avid reader and a tomboy who was inspired by adventurers like Thor Heyerdahl and Ernest Shackleton, into becoming an accomplished expeditioner. Her early encounter with Fridtjof Nansen, a skiing pioneer and the founder of modern polar exploration, encouraged her to ski across Greenland, which she succeeded in doing on her second attempt.
Arnesen’s thirst for adventure later took her to Nepal and Tibet, where she climbed a 5,600-meter peak despite her altitude sickness. These experiences, coupled with years of orienteering, competitive sports, cross-country ski races, and an arduous training regimen, helped to prepare her for her bigger goal of journeying to the South Pole.
At forty, she began the monumental effort to raise funds, asking for help from people who expressed doubt that a woman could succeed at the task. She also began the careful planning that was required for her to undertake such an expedition. Chapter titles are used to outline Arnesen’s steady quest: undaunted by her financial setbacks, personal grief, gales, whiteouts, and bitter cold temperatures, she refused to give up until she finished crossing the 545 miles to reach the South Pole in fifty days.
Ann Bancroft, the first woman to reach both poles, contributes a foreword to the project, affirming the difficulty of Arnesen’s achievements. Skiing into the Bright Open is an inspiring memoir about the gritty determination that’s needed to achieve dreams and accomplish feats that once seemed impossible.
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