British polar explorer Felicity Aston MBE is an author, speaker, expedition leader and former Antarctic scientist. In 2012 she became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica. It was a journey of 1744km that took 59 days to complete and which gave her a place in the book of Guinness World Records. Felicity’s Polar career began in the year 2000, when she travelled to Antarctica for the first time with the British Antarctic Survey as a Meteorologist. Aged just 23 she spent a continuous period of two and a half years (including two consecutive winters) at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula to monitor climate and ozone. Felicity went on to organise and lead numerous expeditions to remote places around the world, but particularly to the Polar Regions. Her expeditions have included the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, a 6000km drive to the South Pole, a 36,000km drive to the Pole of Cold, and leading the largest and most international team of women ever to ski to the South Pole.
Nics is a General Practitioner trainee, based in Portsmouth. She earned an Army Medical Cadetship while studying at University of Southampton Medical School, and it was here she first thought of taking an all-female team across Antarctica. After commissioning from Sandhurst in December 2012 she was posted to Germany where she swapped her alpine racing background for Nordic skiing, and ended up captaining the Army Medical Services Ladies’ Biathlon team. Meeting fellow IceMaiden Nat Taylor along the way, she realised this was the partner she had been waiting for to fulfil the Antarctic dream and encourage girls to take up adventurous training. Nics is particularly focused on promoting the benefits of physical activity and encouraging girls and women of all ages to stretch themselves both physically and mentally.
Sandy is a Reservist officer with 37 Signal Regiment based in Redditch, and works in an employer support role. She started her Army career as a radio technician and reached the rank of Corporal before attending Sandhurst and commissioning back into the Royal Signals. After completing tours of Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan she left the Regular Army to join the Reserves in 2014. Sandy splits her time between leading overseas expeditions, outdoor instruction and team building/leadership development. She has participated in military and civilian expeditions, climbing and mountaineering in the UK, Spain, the Alps, Nepal, USA, Norway and Peru. She enjoys anything which takes her outdoors and can’t turn down a challenge, which has led to many adventures from traversing the Cuillin Ridge to completing the Devizes to Westminster kayak marathon, and more recently competing in the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM). Sandy can usually be found living out of her camper van, wandering in the hills with her dog Bracken or riding the local mountain bike trails.
Sophie is a surveillance operator in the Honourable Artillery Company Army Reserves Regiment at the weekends, and during the week works in marketing in Central London. She has a degree in Spanish and lived in Spain and Mexico before heading to London and starting her career as a journalist. A move into marketing in 2011 coincided with her joining the Honourable Artillery Company in search of a physical challenge that would offset the desk job. Sophie learnt to ski with the Army and has been obsessed with it ever since. She is a military ski instructor and has raced for her regiment, breaking the national speed limit when she hit 73mph in the downhill. She loves anything to do with the mountains and is a keen trail runner, completing the Jura Fell Race in 2016.
Misba lives in Manchester with her husband and two children: daughter age 24 and son age 20. For the past 15 years she has been working as part of the finance team at the North Manchester General Hospital. Aside from her professional role, she is also a trained Chaplin, undertaking voluntary work with female patients in the mental health department. Although British born and bred she is of Pakistani origin. She sometimes finds that women in her community are reluctant to stretch their abilities and reach their full potential: “Within my work place I am one of a small proportion of ethnic minorities, which can be challenging sometimes especially due to the current world crisis and representation of certain groups in the western media.”
Stephanie grew up in Cyprus and was a member of the record-making Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Women’s Antarctic Expedition in 2009. Stephanie became the first Cypriot (male or female) to ski to the South Pole – a distance of 911km that took 38 days. In 2012 Stephanie acted as the home support during Felicity’s trans-Antarctic expedition. ‘The role was an opportunity to liaise with many stakeholders, understand the administration and logistics of a Polar expedition, as well as the details of life on the ice alone,’ she says. ‘I’m looking forward to taking on a renewed role in a polar expedition as part of the Leadership Team.’ Stephanie works for an investment bank in London and in her free time enjoys travelling, photography and eating good food.