British Army physio Preet Chandi becomes first woman of colour to ski solo to Antarctica

Polar Preet Chandi

Preet Chandi, a British Army physio has made history by becoming the first woman of colour to solo ski to Antarctica.

Preet has smashed expectations by completing her expedition to the South Pole almost a week ahead of schedule. The expedition had been expected to take between 45 and 48 days.

Skiing the 700 miles across Antarctica from Hercules Inlet in just 40 days, 7 hours and 3 minutes – a daily average distance of around 17 miles – she came tantalisingly close to setting a new world record by a woman for the trek.

She narrowly missed out on another milestone, the time set by Johanna Davidsson of Sweden who finished in 38 days, 23 hours and 55 minutes in 2016.

Preet is now the third fastest female solo skier for this expedition behind Davidsson and Britain’s Hannah McKeand who recorded a time of 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes in 2006. She is also the first person to reach the South Pole on foot in two years.

Enduring temperatures as low as -50C, wind speeds of up to 60mph, while pulling a 90kg sled – often over sastrugi (parallel wave-like ridges on the hard snow caused by winds), and battling through whiteouts, Preet suffered from exhaustion towards the end of the journey, as well as a persistent cough and sickness.

Speaking about the expedition, Preet, 32, a Captain with 3 Medical Regiment, said, “I’m 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.”

“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.”

“I have been told ‘No’ on many occasions and to ‘just do the normal thing’, but we create our own normal.”

“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.”

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About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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