Fjällräven’s globally successful event, Fjällräven Polar, is back for another year. Each April the Swedish outdoor brand takes a group of 30 applicants from across the globe to the Scandinavian arctic for the adventure of a lifetime: driving a team of sled-dogs for 300km through the tundra. The participants need not have any prior experience of the outdoors; this is Fjällräven’s chance to show the world that with the right equipment, preparation and support anyone can enjoy a winter expedition in nature.
Applicants must submit their video or photo entries online. The application period, which this year runs from 15 November to 13 December 2018, attracted 4,573 entries last year. And the dedicated application site received close to 3 million visits during this time with applicants acquiring a collective total of approximately 987,000 votes.
For some, Fjällräven Polar is the start of something bigger and better. For a select few, it’s a truly life changing experience. Before Polar, Larry Daugherty was a doctor specialising in cancer treatment and living in very warm and not-at-all-snowy Florida with his family. He’d dreamed of coursing across the frozen tundra on a dogsled since he was a child. But that dream began to come to life after he saw an article about Fjällräven Polar in an in-flight magazine.
“The only thing I could talk about when I got home was that article. The same evening I rigged up a camera and recorded my Polar application. It was pretty basic, just me and my dream, nothing more.”
Larry was one of the jury’s choices that year. And just a few months later he was driving a dogsled from Norway to Sweden and turning that lifelong dream into reality. The experience taught him a lot, not least how to drive a dogsled. But also valuable survival lessons.
“The most fantastic thing for me was being above the Arctic Circle and driving the sled. And being able to experience that together with easy, enjoyable people from all over the world. But is also made me realise something was missing from my life.”
Larry and his family took the plunge. He accepted a job in Alaska and moved to Eagle River, just outside Anchorage. And through some pretty handy contacts he was able to borrow some dogs from a qualified breeder and so set about training right away.
The following winter the moment came. Iditarod. 1600 km of wilderness. Just Larry and his dogs. No human company and no assistance. The fulfilment of a dream.
The application period for the 2019 event will run from 15 November until 13 December 2018. There are a few things to bear in mind when applying. There are two ways to go through. The first is by votes – people around the world can cast their vote on their favourite applications. The second is by jury. Fjällräven assembles its Polar event team and they pick their favourite applications. Applications are divided up into regions, with two people from each region – one jury selection, one vote winner – going through.
TIPS FOR HOW TO APPLY
• Video is a better way to show the judges and voters who you are. So take time to create a video, instead of just uploading photos.
• Keep it short. With almost 5,000 entries last year Fjällräven cannot go through every one in detail.
• You don’t need any previous experience, so rather than listing all the amazing trips and expeditions you’ve been on, show people who you really are.
• Be creative! You want to remain in peoples’ memory.
• Sharing is vital. The most successful campaigns use social media and traditional media to reach as many people as possible.
Fjällräven has created a collection specifically designed for the Polar event and the climate above the Arctic Circle. Polar is the perfect testing ground for developing hardwearing garments that stand up to the demands of an extremely cold, often windy environment. The gear needs to also offer full functionality for high activity pursuits. It’s not just about sitting still and staying warm. It’s about action and movement.
Fjällräven has used this knowledge when designing its entire winter jacket collection. So even if you’re not going to be anywhere near the Poles this winter, you can still warm up in some of these new and old favourites from the Swedish brand.