In March 2020, novice skier Brooke Nolan embarked on a 250-kilometer, all-female, cross-country ski expedition in Norway’s Arctic Circle. They emerged from -25c temperatures and 50km winds to discover COVID-19 had taken full hold, with flight cancellations and lockdowns. A year on, she reflects on this epic—yet relatively ‘do-able’—polar-style adventure.

The wind was fierce, whipping at my face and biting through my gloves. My balaclava was frozen solid. Snow covered my ski goggles, making the already-white world around me even whiter. Pushing through the resistance, I skied forward, one slide, another slide. Just. Keep. Going.

It was our third day of complete whiteout. No horizon, no distant tree or mountain to focus on. Just white snow beneath our feet, merging into the white misty skies that engulfed us.

I was at the front of the line, taking my turn to cut the tracks and lead the group. Now and then, I looked down at my skis, to give myself something to focus on. To remind myself that I still existed.