What is Polar?
We talk a lot about Polar. But what exactly is it? Everything you need to know about the journey of a lifetime.Fjällräven Polar | 5 minutes read
300km of Arctic wilderness. More than 200 highly skilled sled dogs. and a group of ordinary people just like you. Fjällräven Polar, a journey you'll never forget. But what exactly is it?
How it all began
The seed for Fjällräven Polar was planted back in the early 1990s when Fjällräven founder Åke Nordin met Kenth Fjellborg, one of Sweden’s leading dog-sled drivers. Kenth had participated in Iditarod, the world’s most difficult dog sled competition through the harsh Alaskan wilderness, and this inspired Åke. Why not make it possible for ”ordinary people” to get a taste of something similar to Iditarod?
Said and done, he developed a less arduous version, with professional backing, in Scandinavia’s Arctic wilderness. The first years, Polar had the same competition-format as Iditarod, and therefore declared a winner each time. However, Fjällräven didn’t feel comfortable with competitive glory overshadowing the learning and inspirational element so Polar took a break in 2006 and reappeared 2012 in an updated format.
Ever since then we have been opening the experience up for as many people, from as many different countries, as possible to have the opportunity to take part. Nowadays, Fjällräven Classic and Fjällräven Polar are the two biggest events organised by Fjällräven which stay true to the aim of increasing interest in and spreading knowledge of the environment and outdoor activities.
How to handle the cold
Learning how the body handles cold temperatures and how to protect yourself against the cold and wind are key parts of the training that participants undergo before they start. An important basic rule when in cold climates is to keep as dry as possible. Sweat, snow and water all threaten our wellbeing. Another challenge is the wind. Wind chills quickly and the stronger the wind, the stronger the wind chill effect is. This is described with a “wind chill index” which gives the effective temperature on bare skin with varying wind strengths.
There are many basic rules that need to be learnt to be able to handle the extreme cold that you will encounter on Polar. The first two days of the experience comprise of a basic training for how to survive in the cold and other basic skills. So you will be well equipped, and working with experts who will accompany you, to manage all of these factors.
The route through the Arctic
Fjällräven Polar, the journey from Signaldalen to Jukkasjärvi, is the adventure of a lifetime.You will pass through a number of spectacular locations on the journey across the far north. The route follows long stretches of traditional migration trails that have been used by the Sami for hundreds of years for herding their reindeer. This is Sami country, Sàpmi, that stretches over the national borders between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
The most important members of the team
Fjällräven Polar wouldn’t be possible without the dogs. More than 200 Alaskan and Siberian Huskies will be your partners throughout Polar. Most of them come from Kenth Fjellborg’s kennel, with a small number from other leading kennels around the world, brought in especially for the adventure. The dogs will be there before you fall asleep, and will greet you in the morning - they are your constant companions throughout the journey. They will rely on your for food and you will rely on them for the ability to travel through the Arctic.
How to apply for Polar
Applications are open to be submitted to Fjällräven Polar 2020 on November 14th 2019 at 10AM CET.
You apply for Fjällräven Polar by uploading a short video or a picture here together with an explanation for why you should be chosen. Your entry than competes with the other entries from your country for one of the spots. The person who receives the most votes in each country/group is chosen to participate in Fjällräven Polar. A Fjällräven jury chooses the second person from each country/group.
In 2019 2,183 from 92 different countries have applied for Polar. Competition is fierce and the bar is set higher than ever for the quality of applications. But the reward is worth all the hard work.Fjällräven Polar has become a viral success online. Every year hundreds of thousands of people visit the Fjällräven Polar website, and hundreds apply for the chance to join Polar.
The polar bears of Svalbard
More than just the thermometers of the climate, Polar Bears have unique and captivating personalities too.