British army captain becomes the first woman of color to ski solo to the South Pole

Preet Chandi, the first woman of color to ski solo to the south pole
British army captain Preet Chandi has become the first woman of color to ski solo to the South Pole (Image credit: Preet Chandi)

British army captain Preet Chandi has become the first woman of color to ski solo to the South Pole.

Chandi, 32, from Derby in England completed her remarkable mission on January 3 after 40 days of trekking through harsh, snowy conditions and -45C temperatures on cross country skis while pulling a 200lb sled carrying all of her supplies. She is the first person to reach the South Pole on foot in two years.

“I made it to the South Pole where it's snowing. Feeling so many emotions right now. I knew nothing about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here. It was tough getting here and I want to thank everybody for their support,” writes Chandi of her journey, which she completed alone while her family and friends back home were celebrating the festive period.

Preet Chandi training for skiing to the south pole

Chandi revealed that in addition to the harsh conditions she was also suffering from a cough, sickness and diarrhea (Image credit: Preet Chandi)

Chandi, who goes by the nickname “Polar Preet”, documented her extraordinary feat on her Instagram account (opens in new tab), where she revealed that in addition to the harsh conditions she was also suffering from a cough, sickness and diarrhea. Still, the officer and ultra runner completed the 700 mile trek some 5-8 days ahead of schedule.

As Advnture previously reported, the physiotherapist hopes her mission inspire others to challenge their own boundaries and beliefs about cultural norms in the outdoors.

“This expedition was always about so much more than me. I want to encourage people to push their boundaries and to believe in themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labelled a rebel,” she says, adding, “You are capable of anything you want. No matter where you are from or where your start line is, everybody starts somewhere. I don't want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces.”

So far, it looks as though her plan is working, with congratulations flooding in from officials with the British Army and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Chandi is now the third fastest woman to trek across the South Pole with Sweden’s Johanna Davidsson maintaining her record of 38 days.

Chandi has said she plans to use half of the money raised through the Go Fund Me (opens in new tab) appeal for her polar trip to set up an "adventure grant" for women of any age or background. 

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.