What is the minimal time needed to ski in New Zealand? What resorts will be open in North America the week of Thanksgiving? Where is there snow in Africa? Should we fly around the world clockwise or anit-clockwise? We asked ourselves this questions and may more throughout the process of coordinating this trip. The Antarctica portion of the trip was booked over a year in advance because that is through Ice Axe Expeditions as a guided trip. The idea of building upon an already great adventure came much later, September 6 to be precise. In the past two months we have spent quite a bit of time, much more than I anticipated, booking flights, reserving hotel rooms, researching resorts' opening and closing dates, scouting backcountry ski locales and trying to foresee and plan for all the little things that need to happen to ensure the trip's success. To keep us on track we assembled all of our travel plans into a master trip itinerary that should tremendously assist us in organizing all the information needed to check in to flights and hotels, pick up rental cars, and the accompanying maps to get us from the airports to the ski destinations.
In our research I came across some pretty interesting things such as in our search for potential ski locations in Africa. Naturally, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point on the continent, comes to the top of the list, but it is illegal to bring "pleasure devices", a category which skis and snowboards fall into, into the national park. That along with the long travel time from a major international airport forced us to cross it off our list for this trip. Another random occurrence was in gathering local beta on the presence of snow in the shoulder seasons. I emailed a guiding service in New Zealand and one in Morocco. The guiding service in Morocco responded faster and we had several back and further emails, where as the guiding service in New Zealand never replied. In the search for snow in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, I ended up at the American Alpine Club Library in Golden, CO where in a trekking guide book I found the first mention of a snow field and a photo! I was so excited. The aforementioned guide based in Morocco had unequivocally said there was "NO" snow in the atlas mountains in November, but there was - this snow field. With the trail knowledge from the guide book and a topographic map of the area I put together our route to the snow field, which is a slog, but we should be able to ski in Africa in November. My expectations were constantly being tested and I am expecting that trend to continue while traveling.