The Sony Challenges S01E02: The complete white out
Sony challenges Emma Elwin to complete a series of extreme activities. During the challenges, Emma tests Sony’s products too see if they endure the rough conditions. Do the products stand the test – and, does Emma?
From spring 2015, Sony challenges Emma Elwin to complete a series of extreme activities. During the challenges, Emma tests Sony’s products too see if they endure the rough conditions. Do the products stand the test – and, does Emma?
Season one takes place far up north – Fjällräven Polar 2015 is a 300 km long winter adventure across the arctic thundra. Emma and the other participants sleep under the moon and steer a dog sled each from Signaldalen in Norway to Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lappland. Conditions are grim (a storm is coming!) and the right equipment is essential.
Season 01, episode 02: The complete white out
It’s early morning in Sigtuna. After a restless sleep I am sitting in the dining room staring at my sandwich. In less than an hour we’ll be on our way to Signaldalen in Norway to start our final training. Last night we got divided into groups and I had the great pleasure of being part of team UK, with the brits Greg, Tom and Charlie.
Two flights and one bus ride later we arrive to a lanscape with white majestical mountains rising up in to the sky and fjords with turquoise water. You can see traces of the avalanches that have buried the road several times this winter, the bus driver happily informs me. I find myself wondering if one could escape an avalanche in a bus like this…
The rest of our day is spent gathering our equipment and getting a final lesson in how to use our gas stoves and rise our tents. We’re also introduced to our teams guide and mushers Jan. He quickly shows us how to use the sled and anchor. I keep thinking that it’s amazing that they are actually going to let us drive these sleds after a 10 minute run down of the technical details.
We go to sleep in a hut with a big fire place in the middle of the room. The next morning my hair smells of burned wood as I wake up an hour before my alarm. My anxiety has now turned into excitement. After a quick breakfast and another bus ride, we arrive to the sound of two hundred dogs barking of excitement. Completely overwhelmed I am introduced to my eight dogs. Some are grey and look like wolves, others are black and white and look like collies. My heart, much like the dogs’, is racing with excitement from the prospect of finally going into the woods.
Because of the storm above the tree line the plans change, and instead of making it to first camp we are going on a short trip, so that everybody will get to experience the storm on the mountain.
All of a sudden the dogs are in their harnesses and the sled is packed. My dogs are let off the anchor, and once again my heart is racing. I’m am struck by the power of the dogs, their strength is overwhelming and I can’t help but pressing the break a bit more. After ten minutes on the sled, breaking is the last thing I want to do. I keep catching up with our guide Jan, and can’t wait until we are past the slope path up the mountain so that I can go even faster.
What hits us 10 minutes later, once we leave the comfort and protection of the forest, is something I’ve never experienced before. All of a sudden I can hardly see Jan’s sled in front of me, and it fells like we’re in the eye of the storm. This is what they call a “white out”, the newly fallen snow is hurled up by the wind and mixed with more falling snow and creates a white wall. The avalanches come back into my mind and at one point it strikes me that if we take one wrong turn, it might be fatal. The sound of the wind is overwhelming, and you can tell the dogs react on the storm as well. For about forty minutes we are struggling to get back to the protection of the tree line, and the whole time I get the same feeling I get when catching a wave surfing; an adrenalin kick by the force of nature.
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