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On Thin Ice [DVD]
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Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, TV presenter Ben Fogle and Doctor Ed Coats compete in one of the world’s greatest challenges – the 2009 race to the South Pole - the first organised race since Scott and Amundsen almost 100 years ago.
The challenge they face is immense: a 500 mile cross country skiing race to the South Pole, on the windiest, coldest, highest and driest continent in the world; winds of almost 100mph, constant daylight, temperatures as low as minus 50ºc and a steadily increasing altitude up to the equivalent of 4,000m.
If that wasn’t enough, they must survive each other’s company, day in and day out, for up to 45 days. And on top of that, they have to train their bodies to face the harshest conditions known to man, pull a sled behind them weighing almost 170lbs, escape deadly crevasses, stuff their bodies with over 6,000 calories a day, and ski for up to 18 hours a day.
Have they got what it takes to win the race?
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the final two episodes reveal just how far and how hard the British team can push themselves to reach their goal and - maybe - stand a chance of winning an international race against overwhelming international competition. I started watching and thinking `what a bunch of girls'... and by the end I was cheering the boys on.
Each 60 minute episode follows the progress of James Cracknell (Olympic athlete) and Ben Fogle (adventure TV presenter) on their next big adventure to win the gruelling race to the South Pole. After rowing the Atlantic, they set out to find a third team member for the Antarctic challenge, and then have a year to train and prepare before the event. The race itself involves ski-pulling sleds which weigh 200lb some 500 miles across treacherous ice and snow, followed all the way by the cameras. The winds reach 100mph and the temperatures fall to minus 50-degrees. The conditions are grim: perfect material for a TV documentary...
And this series does get under the skin of the participants. It shows them at their moments of weakness and dispute, when things aren't going well and all three team members have their doubts about each others' ability to cope with the conditions.Read more ›
The series begins with an exploration of their preparation. This includes the physical preparation; training on a beach pulling a huge tyre behind them to simulate pulling the load of equipment they will need to survive whilst on the ice, to first encountering subzero temperatures. At the very beginning of the series, you also watch them as they try to recruit a third member of their team. This, as with many other aspects of the project, is met with setbacks and false starts meaning that even before they set foot on the ice, the race is in jeopardy.
Personally, I think the first couple of episodes or so, where you are watching them as they prepare for the race, is just as important as the remaining episodes. It shows what they have to consider even before they set off. For example, the first person they recruit as their third member has potential filming commitments, but will only be able to let them know if they can commit to the race almost at the last minute. This along with sickness from a previous expedition means that Ben and James have to face differing levels of commitment, leading to one of them questionning the other's commitment to the team.
Admittedly, however, the series really does take off once they get onto the ice and the race begins. This is when they have to face upto exactly what they have chosen to tackle. As Ben says, if you do not have respect for Antartica, it will eat you up and spit you back out. All members of the team have their own struggles to cope with, but in such a harsh environment, one person's struggles affects all those around them.Read more ›
Again, like the book, I feel like I've been through the journey with them.
If ever there was something to encourage me to go out and do more in life it would be this series of events.
Thankyou for sharing your story!!
There is a considerable amount of screen time given to the preperation for the event which, whilst crucial and a large part of their lives I personally didn't find quite as engaging. Overall though, this is astounding viewing and should probably be essential viewing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very entertaining and interesting doc. Well made and honest. Huge respect for them competing it however cracknells disintegration was quite alarming to watchPublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
First class thoughout really brings it home how really to do this march though ice packPublished 20 months ago by Thomas Fletcher
FAntastic for studying polar preparations and my students all loved it 14yrs oldPublished on 5 Nov. 2014 by Boo
What an exciting DVD from start to finish. Ben Fogle seems a very interesting person as are his companions on this trip.Published on 19 May 2014 by Dot
This was simply amazing to watch...Loved the determination, the tears, the laughs, the hard days -Ben Fogle has always inspired me to push myself in the outdoors but I finished... Read morePublished on 26 July 2011 by Elissa