In the Russian winter of 2012, Extreme World Races set aside the comfort of success and did the unthinkable: They tried something new. True to its name, the world leader in Arctic & Polar Adventure took "new" to "extreme" by choosing Lake Baikal in Siberia, nothern Russia as the venue for their new venture: "The Siberian Black Ice Race". With their Polar & Arctic Races, EWR literally put competitors at opposite ends of the globe, at the edge of the earth, fighting for survival as they race towards the North & South Poles. Here, in the most uninhabited place on earth, but bigger than the US, competitors find themselves at the edge of humanity, racing across a frozen lake that seems to never end, in every direction.
At about 400 miles in total length, Lake Baikal is the world's largest fresh water lake and at an average dept of over 2km's, also the world's deepest. These facts are not what makes Baikal the most unique lake in the world. Lake Baikal is one-of-a-kind, one of Russia's biggest tourist attractions, because of the transformation it experiences during winter. Tourists do not come to the shores of Lake Baiakal to see and touch the clear waters of spring and summer, they travel here in the cold Russian winter, when its hardest to travel, for an opportunity to walk, skate, ski, ride or even drive across its frozen surface, which is now a 2,5 meter thick crust of crystal clear Black Ice.
This is what makes Baikal such a unique lake, the most unique one the planet in fact, the Black Ice "face lift" that comes along with winter each year. The moment I walked onto it's frozen surface and looked down at my feet, I realised that no amount of research or visual reference could ever prepare you for your first steps on Lake Baikal. Forget about the world's most unique lake, for me, this was & wil forever be the most unique place I've ever been to.
And towards the end of winter, it's also one of the deadliest places on earth, when the 2,5 meter crust of frozen, black ice begins to melt and break-up. Locals choose to avoid the lake at all costs during the break-up period and don't come near it, Cmpetitors for the 1st ever Siberian Black Ice Race don't have that choice unfortunately, EWR organisers have scheduled the event to run over the exact same period.
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