A 34-year-old, from Muscat will depart next week to begin a 10-day expedition on the shifting pack ice of the Arctic Ocean, attempting to ski roughly 100km over the treacherous terrain to reach the Geographic North Pole, the top of the world. If successful she will become the first Omani to ski to the North Pole.
As a part of the Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition, Anisa Al Raissi along with an international all-female EuroArabian Polar expedition comprising women from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Slovenia, Sweden, France, Cyprus, Russia and the UK will attempt to ski to the north pole.
Anisa and the Euro-Arabian team will be sleeping in tents on the ice when they are not skiing, and will haul in sledges everything they need to survive in the Arctic. With perils of temperatures as low as minus 40C, other hazards the team will face include movements of the pack ice that may split apart to reveal open water or push together to form walls of ice that have to be crossed. There is also the threat of predatory polar bears
The team will gather in the remote Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard at the end of March from where they will fly to the floating ice station known as ‘Barneo’. They will start their ski journey across the Arctic pack ice to the North Pole from the station. Preparations for the expedition have been ongoing for nearly two years including training expeditions in Iceland and Oman.
Led by British Polar Explorer Felicity Aston MBE, along with reaching the Geographic North Pole, the aim of the expedition is to promote greater intercultural understanding between Europe and the Middle East as well as to inspire others to achieve their ambitions.
“Challenging young people and having them push and test their limits has been my mantra over the last 4 years working with Outward Bound Oman – this expedition is a chance for me to practice what I preach and I hope be able to inspire the youth by my actions and overcoming the hardships I know I will certainly face. Yes, it is great to be able to be the first Omani to ski to the geographic north pole, and I will be very proud to hold the Omani flag at the top of the world – but this never has been about me, or being the first. This is about empowering young men and women to face the adversities life throws at them, and in fact actively seeking out challenges which will help us grow as individuals. Having said that, it would not have been possible for me to do this without the support I have been getting from everyone – be it random strangers; who have nothing but kind words to motivate me, the participants I go on courses with; whose admiration pushes me on, be it my friends and family (at home and Outward Bound); who have been nothing but supportive and the pillars that keep me up, and most importantly, the team at Omantel; who I am proud to say are my national sponsors and have believed in this expedition from the get-go” said Al Raissi.
Salim Al Shanfari, General Manager – Marketing Communications and Performance at Omantel said “We are excited about Anisa’s participation in the expedition to ski the north pole and we are hopeful that she will be back home with a success and rewarding experience. An experience that delivers a message to other young Omanis ‘Yes, you can do it’ and the only boundaries to your sky high dreams are your passion, dedication and hard work. We are also happy to see more Omani women successfully venturing into activities that until recently were believed to be ‘for men only’. At Omantel, we firmly believe that we are all successful together.”