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Above the Arctic Circle, in the north of Sweden, lies what is considered to be Europe’s last true wilderness. It’s this region that is home to Scandinavia’s tallest mountains: 12 peaks that tower over the snow and ice within the Sarek National Park and Stora Sjöfallets National Park.
Despite that fact, this region also happens to be the least known mountains for skiing in all of Scandinavia. In fact until 2016, it was believed that only 11 peaks over 2000 meters even existed in Sweden. However, with glaciers melting and the environment changing, upon re-measurement it was discovered that there are actually 12: the newest addition to the list being Sielmatjåkka at 2004 meters.
In April 2021, Jackie Paaso and her team, set out on a 415km traverse to become the first group to summit and ski all the 2000-meter peaks. The expedition group set out to travel by human power – using sleds, cross country skis and ski-touring set-ups – to connect the 12 tallest peaks in Sweden in winter conditions all in one push.
The team comprised of two couples: Jackie Paaso and Reine Barkered, Freeride World Tour veterans and accomplished big mountain skiers, and Erin Smart and Benjamin Ribeyre, IFMGA guides based in La Grave, France with an impressive roster of first ascents and descents to their names.
ARCTIC 12 documents this first-of-its-kind journey through some of Sweden’s most breathtaking yet harshest environments. Throughout the 22+ day trip, the team faced the unpredictable weather of the Arctic, abnormally unstable avalanche conditions, and perhaps the biggest challenge, each other.
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