Ad­ven­turer’s Arc­tic dream

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER

SUM­MER has ar­rived in Tas­ma­nia, but Josh Wood is dream­ing of deep snow, ice­capped moun­tains and 30 de­grees be­low zero.

The Ho­bart bush­walk­ing guide is on a quest to rep­re­sent Tas­ma­nia in one of the cold­est chal­lenges on the planet.

Mr Wood is mak­ing a bid for the Fjall­raven Po­lar event, a 300km jour­ney through the Arc­tic wilder­ness by dogsled.

The 29-year-old said he had al­ways dreamt of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an Arc­tic win­ter.

“I love the snow, I love cold places,” he said.

But he is com­pet­ing against a field of al­most 200 hope­fuls from the Asia/Ocea­nia re­gion try­ing to win a spot on the jour­ney, held early next year.

Only two places will be al­lo­cated to rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Asia/Ocea­nia – one by pop­u­lar vote and an­other by a jury de­ci­sion based on the ap­pli­cant.

“It’s re­ally stiff com­pe­ti­tion to be se­lected, ” said Mr Wood, who has more than 6000 fol­low­ers on his coachjosh­wood In­sta­gram.

“And I’m com­pet­ing against peo­ple from parts of the world with re­ally high pop­u­la­tion den­si­ties, so they can at­tract a lot of votes.”

The In­done­sian con­tes­tant in the lead has more than 25,000 votes, while Mr Wood is sit­ting 40th on 167 votes.

Mr Wood, who works as a guide for the Tas­ma­nian Walk­ing Com­pany, is also a fit­ness and box­ing coach.

He moved to Aus­tralia from the US 11 years ago, and was drawn to Tas­ma­nia to be closer to na­ture.

“I came to Tas­ma­nia be­cause this is the place to be if you want to be out­side – it’s green and it’s cool,” he said.

He has pre­vi­ously ex­plored win­ters in Canada and Alaska, and longs for the tougher Arc­tic ad­ven­ture posed by the Fjall­raven Po­lar event.

The event starts in the moun­tains of Nor­way and goes through Swe­den. Con­tes­tants must drive their own dogsleds, pre­pare their own food and set up their camps.

Vot­ing for con­tes­tants hop­ing to be part of the 2019 ends in six days.

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