When planning an adventure, very few people would consider trying to cross the North Pole via the 1,240 miles of ice floes and seawater that loosely connect the northernmost tip of Russia and Canada. Of the polar bear-like explorers who do consider it, a handful would choose a seafaring vessel for their crossing. Far fewer would choose a team of dogs and a sled. To date, only one has chosen to ski and swim the distance, towing a specially designed sledge upon which he packed 370 pounds of food and a few carefully selected pieces of high-tech gear.

Borge Ousland began his informal endurance training at the age of 20 as a construction diver in the North Sea. In 1986 he crossed Greenland on skis. In 1994 he became the first person to ski alone and unsupported, from Siberia to the North Pole. Not one to rest in the quest for firsts, in the winter of 1996-97 Ousland successfully completed the longest unsupported ski expedition in history; 2,845 kilometres across the length of Antarctica via the South Pole.

One of National Geographic’s highest rated speakers and a gifted storyteller, Ousland shares the numerous physical and mental challenges he faced on his trip: navigating patches of icy water in a specially designed dry suit; evading polar bears; and overcoming fear, isolation and depression. In his presentations, Ousland explores what happens when a person is pushed to the limit of what they imagined they were capable. He challenges us to break through our preconceived mental boundaries; to uncover and apply our unique strengths to succeed in our own endeavours.