Parker Liautaud will break a world record if he is able to complete his attempt to ski to the South Pole. But the 19-year-old Yale University student said he has something a little more prosaic on his mind as he makes the epic trek.
“New Haven Pizza is the first thing I’m going to have when I get home,” said Liautaud, who is subsisting on ramen noodles and oatmeal for now.
Liautaud began his Antarctic journey in early December, traveling with only one expedition partner and no outside help to cross more than 397 miles in temperatures that dip as low as 89 degrees below zero and through winds as strong as 55 miles per hour.
If he is successful, Liautaud, named by Time magazine as one of the “30 people under 30 changing the world,” will become the youngest person to ski across Antarctica.
“We’re pulling our sled 11 hours a day,” Liautaud said. “And it could be through sunshine or 40-knot winds.”
The sleds Liautaud and his partner are pulling are 176-pound sleds full of the supplies they need to stay alive, including snacks of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit.
Liautaud is also conducting scientific research into the impact of climate change during the trek — the research being the real goal for his record-setting attempt, he said.
“Through the research that we are conducting, we’re contributing to better understanding the planet system,” he said.
Liautaud, a geology and geophysics major at Yale, has made four polar expeditions in the past four years.