Woman sets new world speed ski record to reach South Pole

Preet Chandi at South Pole
Harpreet ‘Preet’ Chandi has set a fastest new time for a solo unsupported South Pole ski expedition. (Image credit: Preet Chandi)

A British woman has set a fastest new time for a solo unsupported South Pole ski expedition.

Harpreet ‘Preet’ Chandi, an Army medical officer, completed the 1130km journey across Antarctica in 31 days, 13 hours and 19 minutes (to be confirmed by Guinness World Records).

She beat the record previously set by Canadian Caroline Côté last January by one day 14 hours and 34 mins.

This is Preet’s third world record after she broke two other Guinness World Records for polar exploration last year.

Preet Chandi sets new speed ski record to south pole

Preet is new fastest woman to ski across Antarctica (Image credit: Preet Chandi)

New speed ski record to South Pole 

Preet, from Derby, England, set off from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf on November 26 and arrived at  the South Pole on December 28 at 02:24 (GMT) to claim her latest world record.

She said on finishing:  “I’m tired – but I am so glad I made it.”

 She added: “This was completely different to my last expedition. A speed attempt is completely different.

“After my last expedition, I knew I could cope well on the ice which gave me the confidence to tackle this head on.”

On average, Preet skied for 12 to 13 hours a day pulling a 75kg sled, which contained everything she needed to survive on the expedition.

She said: “It was definitely not a sprint, but I had to constantly weigh up my effort and how long I would ski for each day. 

“Too long or too fast and I was going to burn out. Too slow or finish too early and I’d miss out on the record.

 “Antarctica is an amazing place and it’s been absolute privileged to be here. It is not a place any person can conquer. It is a place you treat with respect and hope it allows you safe passage.

“I’m so glad it allowed me safe passage.”

Preet faced tough conditions including a blistering sun, whiteouts and temperatures of minus 30C.

Preet Chandi skis across snow and ice

Preet crossed 1130km of ice and snow for her new record  (Image credit: Preet Chandi)

Who is skier Preet Chandi?

Capt Chandi is currently on a period of unpaid leave from military service, where she was a physiotherapist in Buckinghamshire providing rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers.

She first made history by becoming the first woman of colour to complete a 700-mile Antarctic journey, solo and unsupported, to the South Pole in 2021.

Returning in 2022, she broke two World Records including completing the furthest solo unsupported one-way Polar ski expedition in history.

Having secured her place in the record books, Preet has been showered with praise and awards including being recently named Woman of the Year at the Women in Defence Awards 2022.

However, Preet, was supported by Canada Goose and Branding Science on her latest expedition, admits that she never thought she would be coming back to Antarctica this season, adding “After my last expedition, I thought there is no way I am doing another expedition in the next year.

“But it wasn’t long before I was dreaming up the next challenge.

“This expedition is not only about only pushing myself, but also about inspiring others to challenge their boundaries, and break their barriers.

“It’s in those tough moments when you find out what you’re made of. One of my biggest motivations in those dark times on the ice, is the thought of inspiring others to face their own challenge. When I make myself accountable to a bigger purpose, how could I not continue!”

To find out more, see Polar Preet

Fiona Russell
Outdoor writer

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.