Every year the ski landing area out the front of Davis station is prepared for the first plane of the season

Preparation of the Davis SLA 2022

One of the last big tasks we have to complete at Davis station before packing up and going home is the construction of our Ski Landing Area, the SLA! In an area where we were exploring iceberg’s by inflatable rubber boats last summer, we used a snow groomer guided by GPS mapping to cut an airstrip out of the blizz-tailed sea ice in front of station.

The extreme weather conditions in Antarctica made this task a challenge as a big dump of snow at the start of construction resulted in literally thousands of tonnes of snow to be levelled out and moved around over the 1.5 km long by 80m wide strip. This was followed by two weeks of 40 Knot plus winds that stripped most of the levelled out snow away again.

All of this work was very interesting to the local Adélie penguin population who turned up to work every day to supervise construction.

Now that our first Canadian Twin Otter crew have arrived safely on station, our new snow groomers have been relocated up to Woop Woop in preparation for the incoming Air Ground Support Officers (AGSOs) to build the summer skiway up on the Plateau.

In the next week or so we are expecting the arrival of the Aiviq & Happy Diamond vessels to station bringing with them the next season's crew and some supplies, and most importantly transporting the 75th ANARE team home to Australia.

Signing out from Davis station
Tim Colquhoun