Meeting of participants in the training sessions
© Travel Laboratory press service

Moscow schoolchildren attend training sessions before Arctic expedition

Forty Moscow schoolchildren covered 104 km on skis in one week in the winter taiga of Karelia during training sessions. The aim of this journey was to prepare for the Great Arctic Expedition to the North Pole.

Future polar explorers met at the Leningradsky Railway Station in Moscow on March 15. Matvei Shparo, a famous polar explorer and the director of Travel Laboratory, gave a welcome speech at the meeting.

"You have made a wonderful journey. Some of you may go further to the North Pole — we are doing a great deal to make this happen. But it doesn't matter if some of you don't go on to the Arctic. I think that during your recent journey you made new friends and achieved a lot," he said addressing the meeting.

During the training sessions, schoolchildren were divided into four 10-member groups with two instructors for each. In the course of the trek, schoolchildren acquired useful skills that will be required during the expedition to the North Pole later: to ski with a rucksack, drag a sledge, put up a winter tent and cook food.

The organizers said the participants in the journey did not experience low temperatures because the weather was rather mild. However, this also complicated their trek: sticky wet snow made it more difficult for them to follow the route, and their belongings stayed wet for more time than usual. Apart from learning skiing techniques and adapting to winter life, the children enhanced their moral values and teamwork skills.

"We recounted a lot of jokes and laughed every day. During the journey, we sang songs, everyone had his or her own personal story to tell us, and we acquired new skills. For example, we learned how to make a fire, put up a winter tent, which is different from ordinary tents, and make our food tastier so that everyone liked it. I think we will use all the skills that we gained because reaching the pole demands total efficiency," said Emilia Fyodorova, a participant in the training sessions from School No. 1579.

Following the training sessions, the seven best-trained participants will be picked before the end of March to take part in the expedition to the Arctic this April. As part of the Polyus (Pole) unit, they will have to cover 100 km on skis to reach the northernmost point of our planet. By tradition, the expedition will be led by Matvei Shparo.