It was almost certainly the most lavish celebration ever staged at the top of the world. Last week a joint Canadian-Soviet skiing expedition reached the North Pole after a 55-day journey across the frozen Arctic Ocean. And on April 26, 621 miles from the expedition’s starting point in the Soviet Union, about 200 Soviet and Canadian dignitaries and reporters used planes and helicopters to join the 13 skiers at the Pole. There, the nine Soviet and four Canadian expedition members were able to take a welcome break from such high-protein and high-fat but tedious fare as dried fish and bacon. Instead, a 32-member Canadian delegation led by federal Energy Minister Marcel Masse provided the beer-drinking skiers with a gourmet meal, which included Atlantic salmon mousse stuffed with
lobster. Declared expedition member Maxwell Buxton, a 30-year-old doctor from Calabogie, Ont., near Ottawa: “This is obviously the biggest party ever held at the North Pole.”
After a two-day rest, the skiers were scheduled to shoulder their 99-lb. backpacks and resume their marathon expedition designed to collect scientific data and provide medical information on the effects of living in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments — a windswept expanse of jagged ice ridges, where temperatures frequently drop to -50°C. Still, the skiers were doubtlessly happy to learn that they could expect warmer weather during the 455-mile journey to Ellesmere Island—the party at the Pole was held in relatively balmy -20°C temperatures. □
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