On Tuesday, Feb. 18, students, faculty and community members gathered in the TRU Alumni Theatre to watch a film created by Matthieu Tordeur, the youngest person to ski to the south pole solo and unsupported.
The documentary was all filmed by Tordeur over the course of his journey, from preparing for the trip two years in advance to the 50 day trip itself from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.
Tordeur prepared with polar training and preparing meals that he would have to carry himself on his expedition in a sled behind him. Tordeur had to ski for the duration of his travels, as he risked falling in crevices if he were walking only in his boots as his weight would not be evenly distributed.
Tordeur would travel for eight or more hours a day in an attempt to make his goal. Tordeur would motivate himself during his travels by listening to music and podcasts and reminding himself about what was coming next.
Tordeur said, “I tried not to focus on things that I could not change and I would try to avoid complaining about the weather or the soft snow; things I had no control over. I tried to focus mostly on how I was moving, on how I was breathing, on how I was eating, drinking and thinking about positive stuff.”
Tordeur added that “it helped massively to think only about the next hour session of skiing and I would break down my days in one-hour sessions. I would do 12 sessions a day and I would do one-hour of skiing then a five-minute break then another hour of skiing and then a five-minute break and in my mind, I would always focus on the next hour.”
The professional adventurer travelled 51 days from November 2018 to January 2019 through the cold on his journey to the South Pole, finally arriving on Jan. 13, 2019. Tordeur was inspired to do this journey because of his love of adventure, and his enjoyment of travelling alone. It was a goal and a dream for him to complete this expedition.
Currently, Tordeur has no plans for another expedition as he is currently touring France talking about this journey.
“I came back a year ago and this past year have been doing a lot of conferences in schools in France, mostly to talk about Antarctica, our environment, adventure and I really enjoyed it. It gives a bit of meaning to my expeditions,” Tordeur said. “I’d like to conclude this project as well as I can with the best book I can.”
If Tordeur were to travel this way again, there would only be a few things he would change.
“I wouldn’t take as much, to be honest,” Tordeur said. “I would try to be a bit lighter because my sled was 150 kilograms at the start and I could shave off some pounds with the actual weight of the sled. I could go with some lighter food as well, maybe take a bit less chocolate or things like this. But I wouldn’t change too much. It worked out well for me.”
TRU was fortunate to be the first international screening of this documentary, and this event was able to happen because of support from TRUSU, the TRU Adventure Studies Program, and the TRU AdventureU club on campus.
If you’d like to learn more about Tordeur and what other experiences he has had, you can check out his website at matthieutordeur.com.