Four Snow-Kite across Icecap for Wings for Life
In April 2014 four intrepid adventurers will snow-kite across Europe’s largest icecap, Vatnajökull in the 4 People 6 Legs expedition. Sean Rose, Robert Brown, Kieron Jansch and Mike Dann each bring something different to the team.
Robert runs snow-kiting trips to Iceland and so provides crucial local knowledge. Kieron has a great technical expertise of kites and snow-kiting equipment and Mike has first-class knowledge of polar exploration. Sean, a Wings for Life Ambassador, broke his back in a ski accident in 2000. Since then he’s become a World Champion Water Skier, Winter X-Games medalist and Double Paralympian to mention just a few of his achievements. Sean brings unflinching commitment, and with it an infectious drive and enthusiasm. Sean’s involvement means that the challenge will be a world first - never before has a disabled athlete crossed Vatnajökull, let alone by snow-kite!
So what is Snow-kiting? Large, extremely powerful kites pull people along the snow on skis or snowboards, with the exception of Sean who will use a unique, specially built buggy as his mode of transport. The kites rely on the power of the wind. Skilled kiters can use the wind like a sailor would, allowing them to travel in any direction.
Crossing Vatnajökull has long been a dream for the team and they are determined to do something extraordinary whilst highlighting the benefit that sports, and kitesports in particular, can bring to able bodied people and those with disabilities. It’s also an incredible way to raise awareness of spinal injuries and of course Wings for Life.
Mike is proud to be part of a ground-breaking team, and commented that it is, “… a truly unique opportunity to learn how to work together in challenging conditions and overcome the restrictions imposed on Sean by his injury whilst having a really great experience in a beautiful environment.”
Kieron emphasised Mikes words by adding, “We are doing something that no-one else has ever done, in one of the most extraordinary places on the planet, where every turn you take opens up another staggering vista, and I'm doing it with a group of great friends. I get to snow-kite all day long, film the whole project AND raise money for charity in the process! What could be better?”
The team are raising awareness and funds for Wings for Life alongside 4 People 6 Legs and are already well on their way to raising £1000. They hope to raise £20,000 and Mike told us about why they chose to support Wings for Life, “Having seen the way three friends have been affected by spinal cord injuries, I am in no doubt as to the life changing impact of this sort of accident. The fact that spinal cord injuries can and will be repairable in the future is inspiring and the fact that we might in some way help to move this forward is fantastic.”
Training has already started, with the next session planned for the end of January. We will be following the team throughout their training and preparations and you can too on the Wings for Life facebook page (www.facebook.com/wingsforlife).
If you would like to support the expedition and Wings for Life, you can donate through their fundraising page, http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/4people6legs. You can also find out more about the team and the challenge at www.4people6legs.com.