Video Dispatch : Skidoos
In our live webcast at the Exploratorium last weekend (to watch click here) we aired some as-of-yet-unseen video dispatches I made at Siple Dome, Antarctica. During the webcast we also mentioned a couple of video dispatches we didn’t have time to get to– videos made out in the field on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. One of those videos was a short clip I made of what a skidoo looks like as it goes over the ice — posted here. The other video also posted here was taken aboard a skidoo as we approached our camp on the ice sheet. This one gives you a real sense of the vastness of the ice sheet as well as how bumpy skidoo rides can be. (For those with motion-sickness or aversion to bumpy footage, this second video be one you want to skip.)
In our webcast Saturday, Slawec described riding a skidoo as akin to riding a mechanical bull. The comparison fits because of the bumpy ride the skidoo gives as it travels across snow formations on the ice. The surface on the ground is much like a frozen ocean– with frozen waves like small “snow dunes,” called sastrugi. Because of these sastrugi, the irregular surface makes it dangerous to travel much faster than about 25 km/hr.
This first video shows what a skidoo hauling a sled looks like. See how tricky it can be to pull them!
This second video was taken atop a skidoo as we rode into camp. While it really gives you a sense of how vast the ice sheet is, those averse to bumpy footage might want to steer clear.