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Question concerning McMurdo Station

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  • Question concerning McMurdo Station

    Can someone that has been to McMurdo tell me what type of excercise facility they have there? I've read there are activities, but I enjoy ice skating and I'm hoping with all the natural ice, skating would be included.

    I seem to be the exception here since most of the posters want to go to Antarctica for it's beauty etc. I'd be going for the job. The pay is much better than locally. I feel sure that it would be an experience of a lifetime, but I'm trying to be realistic as what to expect and how to deal with my free time.

  • #2
    Re: Question concerning McMurdo Station

    Hi psman1,

    I've never been to McMurdo, but the idea of natural skating sounds very unlikely. There's endless amounts of ice of course, but it's all very rough and uneven. Walking or cross-country skiing are the most likely similar pursuits, with a lesser amount of downhill skiing.

    I'm not a skater and never have been, but I didn't see anyone skating while I was south, nor did I hear of it either. You have to remember the wind too, so even if you could find a suitable natural ice-rink, the chances are it would be difficult to take advantage of.


    • #3
      Re: Question concerning McMurdo Station

      Hello psman1,

      Please don't take this amiss but if I were an employer I'd be looking for potential employees to display initiative in researching the history, background and work environment they are applying to join!

      Have you tried the wonders of Googling "Mcmurdo base" or looked at the USAP website?

      On this occasion I'm feeling generous (most unusual for a Scotsman) so here you are:

      "There are recreational facilities, including a library, clubs, climbing wall/bouldering cave, gymnasium, weight room, aerobics room, band room and bowling alley. Volunteers frequently organize art shows, chili cook-offs, running races, yoga classes, dances, league play, lessons, lectures, etc. CDs, musical instruments, cross-country skis and other items are available for rental."

      Sorry, but it doesn't look like ice skating is on the recreational list.

      The above is from the USAP Participant Guide 2006-2008

      It might be worth your while having a good read through this and following a few links on the site, e.g. Raytheon, etc.

      I've never been to McMurdo but did a flying visit to Palmer Station on the Peninsula in 1971.

      best of luck



      • #4
        Re: Question concerning McMurdo Station

        I was at McMurdo Station for three weeks last October. There are no skating rinks, and I've never heard of anyone going ice skating.

        That doesn't mean it is impossible, as I saw some smooth ice in a few places, but ice skating depends on the metal skates melting a very thin layer of surface ice in order to glide on it. At McMurdo, it would likely be too cold most of the year, and then too warm for much of the summer. If you did want to try ice skating you would probably have only a short window of opportunity.

        The two places I saw smooth ice were on the ocean (the sea-ice). Unfortunately, by the time it is warm enough to skate, it may be too warm to safely go on the sea-ice. The other place was on Hut Ridge. When I went on the Hut Ridge Trail, I saw several spots where the ice and snow had melted the previous summer and had frozen solid during the winter - fairly smooth. There might be a short time when that spot (fairly small) could be used for skating.

        Other facilities, as already noted, include a couple gymnasiums, a climbing wall, a bowling alley, walking, running, and skiing. If you brought a bicycle, that could be done as well. And of course there are some hills to climb.

        This past year they asked for volunteers to assist some of the divers, and if you have experience and helped out a lot, they might let you do a little diving - but the water is very cold!

        Best of luck!


        • #5
          Re: Question concerning McMurdo Station

          Thanks for the info Alan. I'm scheduled to deploy in October. I've decided to drop the skating idea and concentrate on my job and a few hobbies I have in mind. This should be a great experience and I can't wait for time to get here.

          I plan on sending updates to this forum once I'm at McMurdo and also to keep an up-to-date blog.



          • #6
            Congratulations on getting the job!


            • #7
              Re: Question concerning McMurdo Station

              Congrats on getting the job psman1 - not sure if you had it when you first posted?

              Please let me know if you start a blog, I'll link to it here:



              • #8
                Re: Question concerning McMurdo Station

                Thanks guys. I'll forward my blog to you Paul ASAP.

                Take care,