Russian teens conquer the top of the world
The format of the “Ski to the North Pole” expedition has been constant: seven teenagers, handpicked from thousands of eager would-be polar explorers across Russia, begin their journey at the Barneo drifting ice base.And after about a week battling through some of the harshest conditions on Earth, the chosen few reach the global summit.This time, it took the expedition seven days to cover the 110 kilometer distance from the last circle of latitude all the way up to the North Pole. But the young arctic travelers had to stick around another full day at their final destination because the mission to pick them up – with RT’s crew on board – came late due to severe weather conditions, which prevented themfrom flying.But one of North Pole conquerors, Danila Romanyuk, says waiting for another 24 hours wasn’t much of a problem. “We played mafia, sang songs, told jokes, ate and slept… then slept and ate again,” he said.The pickup team brought delicious pies with them and when the treat was finished, the group was finally ready to pose for the camera and answer some questions.Well, the pies disappeared within seconds and the group was finally ready to pose for the camera and answer some questions. “When you ski, the wind stirs up the snow and fully covers your face and then cuts it,” Aleksandr Chernykh, Ski to the North Pole expedition member, said. “The goggles can’t help at all. It was really hard.”The successful expedition was celebrated by a traditional circle dance and a football match. The custom of playing football at the world’s summit dates all the way back to the cold war when the crew of a Soviet submarine broke through the polar ice to play the world’s most popular game.Each year, Dmitry and Matvey Shparo dedicate the expedition to either a cause or a commemorative date.Their previous sub-zero treks have already been devoted to – among others – Russian teachers and the Sochi Winter Olympics.This time the journey was made in the name of Ivan Papanin, who spent over two hundred days researching the North Pole, back in 1937.“This is the copy of a flag which was raised at the North Pole by the expedition of Ivan Papanin 75 years ago and we are commemorating their heroics with our trip,” Dmitry Shparo said.Hunger for travel, the unknown and effort bordering the unattainable is what separates the teenagers from the expedition from rest of their peers. At 16 to 18 years old, they have already reached the top of the world and their future life challenges now seem like much easier hurdles to overcome.