Liv Arnesen is a Norwegian educator, cross-country skier, adventurer, guide, and motivational speaker. Arnesen led the first unsupported women’s crossing of the Greenland Ice Cap in 1992. In 1994, she made international headlines becoming the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South pole – a 50-day expedition of 745 miles (1,200 km). In 2001, Arnesen and polar explorer Ann Bancroft (WINGS 2008) became the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass — completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek.

Since the Bancroft Arnesen Expedition, Arnesen and Bancroft’s inspirational story has helped spark Bancroft Arnesen Explore (BAE), designed to share Ann and Liv’s stories with audiences around the globe through multi-media presentations, short films, workshops, curricula andlectures as a way to motivate people to reach for their own dreams, particularly women and girls. BAE Access Water Expeditions have included Ganges River from Source to Sea as well as a patch program in partnership with the Girl Scouts of the River Valleys, engaging girls in leadership and water-related activities as the Access Water Team journeys down the Mississippi River. Arnesen also is a mentor for Expedition Pink Ribbon, a fundraising expedition for breast cancer survivors that crossed the Greenland Icecap in My 2023.

Liv Arnesen’s rich life experiences, both on and off the ice, have made her an internationally recognized leader and role model for women and girls. A self-proclaimed “keen” but not fanatical outdoors enthusiast, Arnesen is most interested in the development of adults and children. Through her diverse roles as a polar explorer, educator and motivational leader, Arnesen ignites passion in others to reach beyond their normal boundaries and achieve their dreams by sharing her own stories about exploring some of the most remote places on earth.

Arnesen has been named among Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year” (2001); selected for the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame’s “Trailblazer” award (2001); presented with the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce “Achievement Award” (2001); and recognized by the Russian Geographic Society with a “Diploma of Honor” (1999).

Born: 1953

Hometown: Bekkestua, Norway

Education: M.A. in Arts, Management

Occupation: Former high school teacher, now lecturer, educator and explorer

Expeditions: 1st woman to cross unsupported the Greenland Icecap; 1st woman solo unsupported to the South Pole; 1st woman to cross the Antarctic continent, with Ann Bancroft; kayaked Antarctica and the Great Lakes; traversed “Shackleton route” in South Georgia; 2 attempts to cross the Arctic Ocean; Ganges River from Source to Sea, and other Access Water Expeditions, with Ann Bancroft

Favorite Place: The mountains of Norway

Best Discovery: Learning to read – I fell in love with books and all they could teach me

Favorite Items In The Field: My toothbrush, journal and poetry

Personal Heroes: Marie Curie, Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen, Thor Heyerdahl, and Ernest Shackleton


Advice: When you feel your heart beating hard or your blood running fast, you have found something that is important to you. Create room for it.

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