2008 Blog Archive

Check Back Daily December 9, 2009, South Pole Station
Christopher Elliot



Photo by Chris Elliot

Recreation at the South Pole

Those of us who come down to the South Pole for science only have about four months in order to get all our work done. That means a minimum of a six-day work week, working up to 10 hours a day. The need to unwind and relax is necessary for everyone’s general well-being. There are several regular events planned, both by station personnel and by fellow Polies. As you can see from the above picture, these events range from Pilates classes, to volleyball, to movies, to sewing circles. One big weekly event that many of us look forward to is a Sunday science lecture presented by any one of the different projects going on down here. This is a great time to learn why other groups are here and what they have discovered.

Even if you don’t feel like going to one of the scheduled events, there are plenty of places to either socialize or spend some quiet time. Whether you want to play a video game on any of the TVs in the various lounges, quietly read a book, or socialize with your other Polies, space is provided outside your room for all of that.


Photos by Chris Elliot. Greenhouse photo courtesy South Pole Station.

In the elevated station there are four lounges: the B1 game room, B1 TV lounge, B2 quiet reading room, and B3 TV lounge. There is also an exercise room, a gym, and a sauna. There is a crafts room, a music room, and a computer room for when one feels creative. There are also a couple of areas that serve a dual purpose -- the greenhouse is a popular hangout for relaxing while breathing humid air and smelling plants. And, between meals, the galley is also popular for hanging out, playing cards and board games.


Photos by Chris Elliot

In summer camp, there are two jamesways (jamesways are the Quonset hut-shaped buildings) dedicated to social gatherings. In one, there is both a TV room and a lounge. In the other jamesway is the only indoor smoking lounge at the South Pole.

Outdoors can be a hazardous environment, between the extreme cold temperatures and most areas within walking distance are active working zones. But, there are some ski trails for cross-country skiing, and some people have brought down snowboards and kites to go kite boarding. There is even a frisbee golf course.