For the ACR race, we recommend a well-tested and strong competition ski with a solid binding. You may also bring along an extra pair of skis. These will be stored at the race office (with a number) and may only be collected if your main skis are damaged. During the race, each drinking station will be equipped with an extra pair of skis and sticks, which may be used.
Limited waxing facilities are provided in Sisimiut (4 - 5 waxing benches). For absolute flexibility we recommend that you bring you own clamping vices. Electricity available: 220V, central European plug system. You should also bring your own small electric iron.
We recommend that you wax your skis well in advance because of the limited facilities in Sisimiut. The snow is very dry in Greenland, and non-fluor waxes work best. Temperatures can range from 0 °C to -30 °C (32 °F to -22 ° F), but will usually remain around 20 °C (-4 °F). Wax well (several layers, to accommodate the long distance to be skied).
Remember not to bring any flammable materials on board the aircraft, as this is not permitted for safety reasons. Local sports stock any such materials you may require.
For the race you must bring along a small handy rucksack (35-40 litres) containing various essentials, such as a first aid kit.
- Face mask
- Extra cap
- Extra gloves (woollen gloves - thick, not ordinary ones)
- Moisturiser, which does not contain water
- Complete set of woollen underwear (long johns and a high-necked shirt)
- Wind-tight jacket
- Wind-tight trousers
- Woollen socks
- Strong sunglasses, i.e. with fairly dark lenses
- Hot drink in thermos (0.5-1.0 litre, steel thermos is recommended)
- Food/energy bars, minimum approx. 5000 kJ (1500 Kcal) emergency rations for 24 hours.
- Route map.
- First aid kit consisting of aluminium foil blanket, whistle and survival suit. (Will be provided for you in Sisimiut).
- Cover for ski boots.
Remember to bring along your own drinking cup/water bottle, as there will be no throw-away cups or water bottles available at the drinking stations during the race.
You must also bring along a medium-sized travel bag (approx. 60 litres) with a maximum weight of 15 kilos for your other items. This bag will be transferred between the starting point and camp. All bags will be transferred in containers, which do not protect against frost. Furthermore, snowfall or snow being disturbed during the transfer can result in moisture, against which both the bag and the sleeping bag must be protected.
Travel bag contents:
- Sleeping bag with comfort temperature of -30 °C.
- Thermal groundsheet
- Cutlery, plates and cup
- Food and drink for 3 days (4-6000 Kcal per day)
- Ski wax (wax for colder conditions than -5 °C is recommended)
- Toiletries (toothbrush, etc.)
- Plaster for blisters (e.g. Compeed)
- Extra sun block with a high SPF (15-20) without water
- Woollen underwear (long johns and high-neck shirt) and woollen socks.
- Spare clothes and warm boots.
NB: In Sisimiut you will get a luggage label, which must be attached to your travel bag at the beginning of the race.
List of equipment
If you do not want to bring along too much luggage to Greenland, you can either buy food or equipment or rent equipment in Sisimiut.
At Torrak! and Sisimiut Sport you may buy various types of lightweight food, energy drinks and cross-country skiing equipment.
P.O. Box 3
Tel.: +299 86 34 43
Mobile: +299 52 77 52
Flyttefirma J.A. Jørgensen
Glahnip Aqq. 6
Tlf.: +299 86 54 64
Tlf.: +299 86 25 14
P.O. Box 54
Tel.: +299 86 51 05
Fax: +299 86 34 25
At Arctic Circle Race you can rent sleeping bags and thermal groundsheets (extreme equipment, tested and used by ACR every year).
Arctic Circle Race
P.O. Box 258
Ph.: +299 86 68 30
Arctic Circle Race First-Aid Instructions
Travelling in Arctic areas is a unique adventure and the ultimate dream for many people. Arctic nature is pure and untouched, and civilisation is far away. Of course, this is wonderful as long as the weather is good and everything is OK. But at the time of an unexpected incident, for example a twisted ankle, you might wish to be back in civilisation.
The Arctic Circle Race Committee attaches great importance to safety throughout the race. Snowmobiles, dogsleds, and officials at the drinking stations and in the camp are there to help in the event of an emergency, thereby limiting the actual risk of an emergency situation. However, it is of vital importance that each ACR competitor be prepared for the worst from the beginning. Remember, it is always better to be able to handle an emergency situation by yourself than to be dependent on others. Make sure you have a first-aid kit and these instructions with you in your race rucksack.
First-aid kits will be handed out in Sisimiut before the race. Here is some advice on how to treat minor injuries and how to survive in the event of an emergency.
In all cases of serious injuries it is very important:
- to make a shelter from the wind for the injured person; use the survival sack
- to keep the injured person warm; use the aluminium foil blanket
- to call for help - use the whistle
- to stay on the track by one of the route marking sticks
A doctor will be on the track to take care of injuries during the race. Hospitals in Greenland are of the same standard as Scandinavian hospitals.
It is important to have the survival sack and the aluminium foil blanket in your rucksack and to have the whistle close by and ready for use. When using the sack it is important to avoid any lowering of the body temperature; therefore, take off wet clothes and put on warm, dry clothes. Afterwards you should huddle inside the "tent" and wait for assistance and change of weather.
Fluid and calorie balance, the body temperature and fatigue are closely related to one another. Separately, or in combination, dehydration, low blood sugar and hypothermia (low body temperature) can cause fatigue, which increases the risk of all kinds of injuries.
An adequate fluid intake is always essential in order to avoid dehydration and fatigue. When using as much energy as this race requires, you will perspire a lot. However, the perspiration may not even wet your clothing, as the air is so dry. At the same time a high respiration frequency will increase fluid loss. The necessary fluid intake depends on the individual, but most people will need 6 - 10 litres per day during the race. Therefore, you should drink whenever possible and every hour throughout the race. You should collect 1 - 2 litres of sports drink from each drinking station in a thermos bottle. Dark-coloured urine is a sign of dehydration.
Under normal circumstances the average calorie requirement of an adult would be around 1500 - 2500 calories. During the race calorie requirements will be increased, and for some they may increase threefold. Therefore, you must increase your consumption of carbohydrates. During the race it is a good idea to eat a little bit at every drinking station and to keep reserve provisions in your rucksack.
Chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, biscuits and energy bars are the traditional suggestions for race provisions.
It is important to keep yourself warm and to avoid cooling of the body. Adjust your temperature by taking clothes off or putting clothes on according to your level of activity. At stops you should put on extra clothes immediately rather than waiting until you feel cold. In the camp you should always see to it that you get a change of dry clothes.
Tiredness and Fatigue
If you remember the three previous points, and run the race at your own pace, it is possible to postpone the point of tiredness to the maximum extent.
Cold injuries can be divided into two groups: hypothermia and local frostbite. All cold injuries occur as a combination of low air temperature and wind-chill factor. General hypothermia is a universal cooling of the body temperature where the core temperature of the entire body drops below 36 °C.
The most typical early symptom is feeling cold and shivering. At this stage it is possible to help yourself by putting on another layer of warm clothes and changing wet clothes for dry ones, re-establishing your fluid and calorie balance and increasing your level of physical activity. If it is impossible to increase your level of physical activity due to injuries, then it is important to reduce the loss of body heat as much as possible and to find shelter or protect yourself against the wind. Use the aluminium foil blanket and the survival sack.
In severe hypothermia, the body temperature has fallen below 33 - 34 °C. Shivering has ceased, and confusion and irrationality progress to incoherence and semi-consciousness. A common and important sign is neglect of or carelessness about protection from the cold. Another sign is that the affected person starts talking nonsense. This is a life-threatening situation, and it is of vital importance that those around the victim take action. Loss of body heat must be stopped by putting on warm, dry clothes, or by placing the person in a sleeping bag with another warm person.
At the same time you can make hot-water bottles of your drink bottles, but be careful not to scald the person. If the victim is conscious enough to do so safely, he should be encouraged to drink warm fluids. Call for help so the victim can be moved for further treatment to a hospital.
There are three degrees of frostbite: 1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree. The degrees describe the depth and duration of the cold injury. The signs of 1st degree frostbite are sensations of cold and pain and pallor of the affected skin. 1st degree frostbite is only a superficial injury. After thawing, the skin will be slightly red and sensation in the affected area might have altered slightly. In time, this effect will disappear completely. 2nd degree frostbite is deeper, develops blisters, and is very painful when treated. The skin will be whiter than with 1st degree frostbite.
The pain can last for as long as a month, and the victim may develop permanent intolerance to coldness. However, healing will be almost perfect. 3rd degree frostbite results in a very deep cold injury with dead tissue. The skin can turn red/purple instead of white. The symptoms of frostbite are insensibility, pallor and a reduced function in the area. Please note that frozen fingers can, in fact, move. Do not let yourself be fooled by this apparently comforting fact!
Frostbite is avoided by dressing in a sensible fashion and by avoiding dehydration, low blood sugar, hypothermia and tiredness. If you get frostbite, it is necessary to react very quickly before 1st degree frostbite turns into 2nd degree or 3rd degree frostbite. Fingers can be warmed on your stomach or under your arms. If your feet are cold, it is a good idea to increase your level of activity in order to supply warmer blood to your toes. If you get 2nd or 3rd degree frostbite you will not be permitted to continue the race, but must receive treatment from a physician.
Snow blindness is a kind of sunburn of the surface of the eye. There are several degrees of snow blindness, from a weak feeling of sand in the eyes to extreme pain. Snow reflects almost 100% of the sun's radiation, which makes the UV exposure very high. You need good sunglasses with UV protection covering the eye from all angles. Eye protection is just as necessary on a cloudy or overcast day as it is in full sunlight. Snow blindness is like any sunburn; the symptoms will increase if it is not treated relatively quickly. If you go snow blind, you will not be permitted to continue the race.
In case of accidents or falls you must try to assess the seriousness of the injury: Can you continue unaided? Do you need help? If you can stand on your feet without severe pain, you have avoided severe fractures of the leg, and it will not aggravate the injury if you continue to the camp or a drinking station. There the injury can be assessed and/or treated. If it is very painful, do not force yourself, but try to stabilise the situation instead. Try to get the arm/leg in a position that appears normal. Try to make an improvised splint and protect the victim from the cold by using the aluminium foil blanket and the survival sack. Having stabilised the situation, call for help.
Assessing the injury
Establish where it hurts, is there bleeding, have any bones been fractured, non-normal position of arm/leg, can you see bones protruding through the skin, does the victim have hypothermia or frostbite? Stabilise the situation.
Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound. Make a bandage from sterile gauze or use strips of clothes. Put the person in a position where s/he feels the least pain. Make a splint for legs. If the person is unconscious s/he must be placed in the recovery position. Reduce any loss of body heat. If the person is unable to continue without assistance, you must try to reduce loss of body heat. The person must put on extra clothes and be wrapped in the aluminium foil blanket and the survival sack. If possible you can make hot-water bottles out of your drinking bottles.
Call for help
Depending on the situation, you must decide whether or not it is safe to leave the person unattended while going for help or whether you should stay with the person until other people arrive. If you leave you must remember to mark the spot on your map.
Blisters can be very painful if they are not treated. Remember to bring plasters for blisters, and extra socks. Check your feet before beginning each stage. If you have weak, reddish skin, put on a plaster - this way you might avoid blisters. When discovering a blister en route: prick a hole in it to drain the fluid, as this reduces the risk of frostbite.
If a blister becomes infected: make a bandage directly against the wound and fasten it with a plaster.
Survival in arctic areas
As the table below and on the following page shows, the wind-chill factor increases the cold effect drastically; therefore, it is important to notice how the wind changes during the race and to be aware of the risk if you choose to continue or what to do if you need to make a stop and wait for a change in weather.
If you are close to the camp or the town, try to get there as quickly as possible, and inform the registration staff of your arrival. If you are away from camp, stay close to the marked track, but try to find a place with some shelter, for example, near a rock. Dig a hole in the snow in which you can sit. Place a ski approx. 30 cm. from the hole. The ski should be 30 - 50 cm deep in the snow. Put up your windbreak. Wrap the straps on the outside around the ski and, voila! - you have a tent. Wrap yourself in your aluminium foil blanket, sit down inside your survival sack and wait for the weather to improve. In the tent you should sit on your rucksack and some of the windbreak so that the wind cannot enter the tent.
In case of a sudden storm and white out, you should be able to take care of yourself for at least 24 hours until rescue personnel can reach you. Therefore, it is very important to always have the first-aid kit on you and to have an emergency ration of food for at least 24 hours.