April 2 was here and after months of planning, the day of departure for my world Record Attempt had arrived. I had been watching the weather patterns in Kilpisjarvi closely for the best part of three weeks, and it was with excitement and anticipation that I boarded for my flight with Qantas and Qatar Airlines to Helsinki. While the travel would only take 24 hours, I then had a layover in Helsinki for 4 hours followedby a Norwegian.com connection to Rovaniemi, and a 7-hour car drive to Kilpisjarvi in Lapland. It was here that the adventure truly began…
I finally arrived at destination Kilpisjarvi and not had a proper meal for 48 hours. My host suggested that I head to the local diner for a traditional Finnish buffet. What a great suggestion that was.
Fully fed and ready to start this adventure, I headed straight to the local service station where my crate had been delivered. It was all starting to resonate with me now that I was here trying to achieve something really special.
The rest of the afternoon was spent unpacking the crate and assembling The SWOOSH, putting on the new decals and preparing for the next two days.
Exhausted but satisfied with the
day’s achievements, it was time to head off to my base camp in Skibotn, Norway with my host, a magnificent 50-kilometre drive through the Fjords. The cottage on the fjord was sensational and like all Scandinavian homes has a sauna about 100 metres from the house.
I must confess that I used the traditional Scandinavian way every day for the next six days, sauna followed by a swim in the fjord in frigid 2-degree water. But we were not here to enjoy the sauna; this trip was all about setting a speed record as the fastest person to ever ride a Snowsailer.
What followed over the next 24 hours was what this dream was
all about. I woke up at 5 am, had coffee, and breakfast, and went to meet Ville Eskonen, my guide, all by 6:00 am. Now, this guy knew his stuff. Ville has been guiding in Lapland for eight years now, and if you are thinking of heading up this way, summer or winter, be sure to contact Ville at www. laplandguiding.com
Ville had the snowmobile and sled all rigged and ready when I arrived at the carpark in Kilpisjarvi. We loaded all the gear and Snowsailer into the sled and headed up the range, chasing the wind from the lake to lake.
After 3 hours on the back of the snowmobile, it started feeling like Deja vu with regards to the wind.
I have spent two years chasing this dream and had been thwarted time and time again. The fastest I have ever achieved has been 40km/hand never been able to achieve a 24-hour record. Was this trip, the dream to chase 100km/h going to come to naught as well?
Ville and I decided that we would attempt to reach the top lake and set up our course there as it would give me the best chance of exceeding what I had previously achieved.
I was determined that this was going to be the best opportunity and as this attempt was going to be a Guinness World Record attempt, and I had to follow their guidelines. This means I had to set a course 1000 metres in length that I could ride into, with a maximum decline of 6 degrees.
After setting the course, I then spent the next 7 hours riding into and out of this course, with a tow back to the start line with Ville. Around 6 pm, the wind started to pick up again, and the opportunity
to do something amazing presented itself on what happened to be the last run of the day. To mbe in a position to explain and feel this shift in momentum is something that I will never be able to forget. People who I have spoken to, who have experienced similar events have said that when it starts, it was almost as if it is happening in slow motion.
Sailing into the course for the last time, I can remember a slight wind shift followed by additional pressure on the main sheet. This was my time, and I knew it. Sheeting in and bearing slightly off on a broad reach, I immediately felt a massive increase in speed.
This was what I was looking for, the chance to go faster than I had ever been, and the feeling of speed, being just 3 inches off the ground was intense. I remember bouncing on the Sastrugi and at some stage even getting some air.
Sitting this low to the ground gave a ridiculous feeling of speed. Not knowing how fast I was going due to all my energy being devoted
to remaining in control and steer the course, meant when I stopped I grabbed for my iPhone, so I could immediately download the data from my Garmin Fenix 5.
The results left me grinning from
ear to ear, 62km/h, making me the fastest person to ever Snowsail.
The best part of this had brought my circle to a close. From the start of the dream from 2014 to 2019 has been an amazing journey. The
documentary covering this journey will be launched on the 17th of August 2019. It will be free to download from the website www.theswooshsnowsailer.com
None of this journey would have been possible without my amazing band of sponsors, especially those who have been with me from the start.
Please do visit these sponsors, who are all listed on our sponsor’s page. They are the companies that make these journeys possible, and I will be eternally grateful for their ongoing support. I am also proud to call all of them my friends.