Wondering what people's experience is with this. I'd like to get an idea of some examples of weight/daily distances people can do on ski while pulling a sled. Obviously would vary a lot given the terrain, depth of snow, etc. I'm going to be experiment with this myself for sure, but I'd like to get some sort of range of possibilities. But basically my question would boil down to this:

Do you have any testimonies/experiences as to what kind of weight one can pull for a given daily distance on backcountry skying carrying a sled. Please described as well what kind of terrain your experience relates to (e.g. inclination, bushy or rather open, breaking trails etc.)? What would constitute a "reasonable expectation" for a generally very fit individual?

  • What is "background skiing"? Did you mean "backcountry" rather than "background"?
    – csk
    Feb 8, 2022 at 2:46
  • Hahaha amazing how I could not see that switchup for some reason (I'm not a native english speaker to my defense).
    – Francky_V
    Feb 8, 2022 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


This answer comes from the 364 mile ski journey of Helen Thayer from the Polaris Mine on Little Cornwallis Island (near Bathurst Island) to the Magnetic North Pole (near King Christian Island) and return to a pickup point on Helena Island (north of Bathurst.)

The journey lasted 27 days, for an average of 13.5 miles per day. There were days when she was pinned by the weather, and days when she covered considerably more than 20 miles. I did not find the mileage on her best day.

Thayer was 50 years old at the time of the trip, an experienced mountain climber, and accompanied only by a black husky (Charlie), an Inuit dog experienced with polar bears.

Sir Edmund Hillary, in his Foreword to her book, Polar Dream says:

Helen faced sub-zero temperatures, rough and cracking ice, fierce Arctic storms, frostbite, hunger and menacing polar bears.

This gives you only a lower limit, because the conditions you are contemplating are probably more benign. Note that although the ice was rough and not at all locally flat, there was no altitude change.

I didn't find the weight of her sled, but her sled plus Charlie's sled carried everything they needed for 27 days. (At the end of the trip, she adopted Charlie and took him home to Canada.)

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