OUR TOP RECOMMENDATIONS
In all honesty, there are dozens of opportunities for you to get your heart rate up in Greenland. Being physically active is part of the local mentality, especially in Nuuk. Season doesn’t matter - we might be running in town all year round, cross-country skiing after work in winter, and frequently inventing new races and challenges - just to keep things exciting.
Being physically active is part of the local mentality.
Here’s five exciting ways you can join in the active lifestyle in Greenland as a traveler.
1. TAKE THE NUUK MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE (19 JUNE 2016)
Two of Nuuk’s famous mountains, Ukkusissat (772 m) and Quassussuaq (443 m), come together in the fourth annual Nuuk Mountain Challenge to call you to their rocky summits. Alongside approximately 150 others, some of whom are Ironwomen, Ironmen and Olympic skiers, you’ll scramble to the top of one or both mountains to get a bird’s-eye view of our Arctic metropolis.
Like the activity but not the competition?
Hike to the top of Ukkusissat or Quassussuaq at your own pace. There are city buses that stop almost directly at their bases, and from there the mountains stand but a few paces away. Look for coloured markings to show the route up, or take a guided tour for max peace of mind.
Want to bump it up a notch?
In May there are four weeks of city-wide efforts to be active and healthy, and during Extreme Week there will be the first-ever Nuuk Mountain Challenge Endurance on 21 May 2016. You will go up and down Quassussuaq as many times as possible in six hours. Didn’t we say there’s always a new twist?
“Our aim is to get more people to enjoy the outdoors and the mountains around Nuuk. It’s part of a growing trend to make more events in Nuuk’s nature,” says Finn Meinel, Director for the challenge.
“I ran with my new Italian friend Luigi, who helped me when I thought I could run no more. Here, you will pretty much run by yourself with only amazing nature as your witness,” says Chloe Zou, a Chinese traveler.
2. RUN THE POLAR CIRCLE MARATHON (29 & 30 OCTOBER 2016)
Also known as the ‘coolest marathon on earth’, pun intended, this Arctic foot race checks a lot of bucket list boxes in just 42,2 km - crossing the Arctic Circle, feeling the immensity of the Greenland Ice Sheet which is one of only two in the world, and, of course, being part of the elite fraction of the world’s population who has tried such an endeavor. Let’s just say, when you’re finished, a leisurely stroll to hunt for northern lights in the autumn sky will be well-deserved!
Want to start with simply standing on the Greenland Ice Sheet?
Thanks to a gravel road that runs directly from the town of Kangerlussuaq, this vast ice cap can be experienced with far less effort than a marathon requires. Local tour companies drive with all-terrain vehicles and drop you off nearly at the ice’s edge. And if you want to play polar explorer, you can spend the night on the massive glacier with a guide at Camp Ice Cap.
3. LIFT HEAVY AT CROSSFIT INUA
If you’re a CrossFitter, you know what skipping a WOD can feel like. Luckily you don’t have to when you’re in Nuuk thanks to CrossFit Inua, Greenland’s only affiliate. The box’s mentality is to take both training and camaraderie seriously, so every class starts with walking around and greeting the people you don’t know before you start loading the bar. This year, 23 members from CrossFit Inua are competing in the worldwide CrossFit Games. Buy your drop-in card and come train with them, the coaches, and the entire CrossFit Inua network.
Want to simply use a gym? There are two public gyms in town - Nuuk Fitness and Fitness GL - both of which have short-term memberships available for purchase.
4. SKI THE ARCTIC CIRCLE RACE (1-3 APRIL 2016)
In three days in the Sisimiut backcountry you can learn more about your endurance and physical and mental strength than in maybe one year at home. The skiers alongside you are every bit as tough as the rough, real and remote nature that surrounds you all, and gaining energy from each other while pushing through 160 km of mountainous terrain is what the annual Arctic Circle Race is all about.
Just want to have fun in fresh pow?
Bring your skis (or take our rentals) to the backcountry tracks or downhill pistes in Sisimiut and Nuuk. There’s also endless unrestricted ski territory over in East Greenland for you to make your own path.
“All people should do something heroic in their lives. For me, the Arctic Circle Race was not a sports competition - it was a heroic event!” - Russian racer
5. DO ARCTIC MIDNIGHT ORIENTEERING (29 JUNE - 2 JULY 2016)
Trees and rock formations are typical sights on an orienteering course, so just imagine the unique experience of adding the gigantic icebergs of Ilulissat to the horizon during Arctic Midnight Orienteering. Under the life-giving glow of the summer midnight sun, several styles of races - long-distance and short sprint and even family runs - lead you to discover the hills alongside the Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“The orienteering course in Ilulissat is a very special one. It’s nearly impossible to find another place in the world where you are doing orienteering that far away from trees,” - Australian travelers
Other ways to be active in Greenland
- There is an indoor swimming center in Nuuk called Malik.
- Greenlanders are natural cross-trainers, participating in a wide selection of activities from relay races and trail runs to reindeer hunting and skiing.
- Maaji Nuan is a month-long initiative in Nuuk in May to promote a healthy, active lifestyle. Similar month-long events are held in many towns under the name Maajimi Peqqissuusa (Danish: Gør Maj Sund).
- Female Greenlanders are especially active. 82% of women are active (versus 75% of men) and at CrossFit Inua, for example, 61% of members are women.
- For further information on races and events, visit activegreenland.gl
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