Squamish resident hopes to be first Canadian to win entry to Fjallraven Polar expedition

Online votes from the public can help Dan Van Drunen earn a spot to travel through Norway and Sweden on dog sled

Come April, Squamish's Dan Van Drunen hopes to be exposed to the freezing cold and braving difficult terrain.

The Brackendale resident has applied for the Fjallraven Polar, a 300-kilometre expedition through the Scandinavian Arctic — on dog sleds.

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The event, put on by Swedish outdoor brand Fjallraven, starts in northern Norway and then snakes its way down through a northern region of Sweden. Thirty people are chosen globally through an online contest. Only one person from North America is voted in.

According to the rules, 50% of the applicants are selected by jury vote and the other 50% by popular vote.

 Van Drunen's video application went live Nov. 14. Voting closes Dec. 13.

The expedition starts on March 30 and ends on April 5.

The expedition will see Van Drunen mushing for seven or eight hours a day in winter temperatures that can dip to -30°C.

Van Drunen, who moved from Vancouver to Brackendale with his partner in February, said his lifestyle lends itself to being successful at this type of expedition.

"This type of training is not new to me as I trained for years as a triathlete," he said.

He hopes his seven winters spent in Ottawa starting in 2000, will help with the terrain and cold temperatures. He is also comfortable around dogs.

"I love dogs — we have three rescues — spending time with nature, and adventures that push the limits of both my mind and body, but the thought of combining all three on a fully supported expedition through Norway and Sweden would truly be a dream come true," he said.

Everything he needs, from travel to the starting point to the dogs are provided, if he wins.

"I can only imagine the experience and beauty of sleeping under the stars and enjoying the spectacle of the Norwegian northern lights. I truly believe feel that an expedition of this magnitude has the ability to change someone's trajectory in life."

No Canadian has yet to be chosen for this expedition, if chosen, he will be the first, he said.

If given the opportunity, he wants to use his platform to send a uniquely Squamish message.

"I want to spread the message of keeping our wilderness wild," he said. "And the benefits that time spent in nature can have on our mental wellness."

Those interested in supporting Van Drunen, can go to dannyforpolar.com. Follow his Facebook Event page at Danny for Polar.

Follow him on Instagram: @cowboy_wolf.

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