...I was selected to participate in Fjallraven Polar 2014! Can you believe it? I honestly can't quite process it. At least once I day, I have to double-check the winner announcement to confirm that I didn't hallucinate. But when I do, yep, there's me. I feel luckier than the two mega-millions winners!
Come April, I'll be flown to Sweden with 19 other individuals from 10 different countries for training. Fjallraven generously arranges my travel and provides all the gear and technical skills training that I'll need. Then it's off to Norway where the 300km dog sled trekk begins. Here's a video from Fjallraven Polar 2012 that describes the event far better than I can:
My U.S. teammate is the country winner with the most votes, Greg Lindstrom. (Whereas I was a Fjallraven Jury selection. Which made me a laugh a little because growing up, my parents and I used to joke that any position that I was up for in school was typically a safe bet if appointed, but a long shot if elected. Hmm, wonder what that says about young Alex's interpersonal skills? I've come a long way since then.)
Greg lives with his wife and 3 rescue dogs high in the Berkshires on the NY-MA border, near Albany. Greg introduced himself in his winning Polar entry as a "NASA Computer Scientist, Mountaineer, IT Security Leader, Scuba Diver, Soldier, Author and Family Historian." One funny fact about the U.S. winners: Greg's paternal family heritage is Swedish and my maternal family heritage is Danish! So while we'll be proudly representing the USA, it's also a great opportunity to connect with our Scandinavian roots. To get a jump on the Polar fun, Greg and I are meeting for coffee and a trip to the Fjallraven SoHo Flagship during his annual holiday visit to NYC.
I don't have much information on the specifics yet, other than what I've gleaned from coverage of past years' Polar, but I'll keep you in the loop! And you can certainly expect a deluge of photos and anecdotes following my great adventure in April.
Thank you all for your support throughout the voting process! It's such an honor to be chosen from such a high-quality pool. Seriously, I was fascinated by the stories of all the individuals who applied. What a cool way to bring together outdoor-lovers from all over the world!