Alex Fermanis, a 2006 graduate of Bainbridge High School and hospice music therapist, is vying for a spot in next year’s Fjällräven Polar, an approximately 190-mile international dog sled race in the Arctic Circle.
Anyone reasonably fit and older than 18 can apply to compete, as the race is specifically intended for non-professionals (a kind of novice Iditarod). Hopefuls upload a short video or a picture to the event website, together with an explanation for why they should be chosen, and than compete with the other entries from their country for one of the event spots by raising votes.
The person who receives the most votes in each country/group is chosen to participate in Fjällräven Polar.
Officials choose the second person from each country/group.
Winners will be announced on Friday, Dec. 14.
Fermanis (as of this writing) is in 27th place in North America with 253 votes.
From his contestant profile: “I am a huge goofball with a penchant for running around in the snow. I work as a Hospice Music Therapist (i.e. yodeling is a featured skill) and have a deep love for people and getting down to the important stuff in life. I spend my time playing and writing music, romping in the mountains and learning about the world around me as much as possible.”
Visit www.polar.fjallraven.com to vote for Fermanis.
The event was born in the early 1990’s, when Fjällräven (a Swedish company specializing in outdoor equipment, mostly clothing and rucksacks) founder Åke Nordin met Kenth Fjellborg, one of Sweden’s leading dogsled drivers. Fjellborg had participated in Iditarod, the world’s most difficult dog sled competition, in the harsh Alaskan wilderness and this inspired Nordin to start something similar, but not for experts, for ordinary people.
The first s Fjällräven Polar took place in 1997, in the Scandinavian Arctic.
“The event was a success,” even organizers said. “Most notably because of the spirit of those first participants. They showed that with guts and gusto, advice and guidance from experts, anyone could take on the challenge of Fjällräven Polar.
“Over the years, participants have faced everything from blizzards and minus 30°C temperatures, to beautiful, sun-drenched landscapes of crisp white snow. For a few lucky people, Fjällräven Polar is the opportunity to test their limits on the adventure of a lifetime.
“For us, it’s a great opportunity to test out clothes, tents and other equipment in the environment they were made for: the winter wilderness of northern Scandinavia.”
Selected participants are provided with gear, most of which they get to keep after the race, as well as travel expenses.