SALT LAKE CITY -- A trek through Antarctica gave one father daughter pair an opportunity to see majestic sights that many will never get to see, and the girl's father said his 11-year-old daughter trained and prepared for the trip for more than two years after she set her sights on a goal.
Lilliana Libecki and her father Mike made the trip after more than two years of preparation.
“I have been learning about the safety gear, like avalanche probes and avalanche beacons and we've been skinning and learning about how to put on skins,” she said.
Lilliana and Mike went on a two-week expedition to ski in Antarctica. Mike said the trip required Lilliana to learn, both in school and out.
“You’ve got to learn to backcountry ski, you’ve got to learn about avalanches, about safety, you’ve got to wear a harness and rope up, this is ski mountaineering, this is the real deal,” he said.
Not only did Lilliana learn outdoor survival skills, but she also had to get straight A’s at school for two years. Libecki said his daughter went through all of that effort in order to meet a goal she had set.
Mike said: “I came back from a trip and did a presentation in her class at school, and I was skiing down to penguins and she kind of held on to that, she said, ‘Wow I’d really like to ski down to penguins too someday.’”
And after all of her hard work, Lilliana and her father got to fulfill the dream she had pursued for years.
“We saw four different kinds of penguins,” she said. “We saw an emperor penguin, chin-strap penguins, Gentoo penguins and Adelie penguins.”
Mike and Lilliana took several flights and a two-day boat ride in order to reach Antarctica. The trek wasn’t always easy, as they faced hurricane force winds of 120 mph and tough skiing conditions along with avalanche danger.
The pair said the obstacles were worth overcoming.
“The coolest part was her earning it and figuring out how to do it,” Mike said. “Here’s everything you have to do to do it, and she did it.”
Mike makes such expeditions regularly for his work, and he said everyone at his work came together to make the trip financially possible.
Both said they are extremely grateful for the support from their friends and family in getting there, and they hope to pursue another traveling expedition in the future.