Aurora Expeditions head of mountaineering Tarn Pilkington is responsible for 12 guides across two ships and leads and develops new trekking and mountaineering experiences in the Antarctica and the Arctic. He explains how the line is thinking of ways to innovate and provide new adventures.
What makes Aurora’s expeditions unique in the market?
We are always looking for the next adventure. Our guides are asked to be innovative and challenge our existing mindsets and products to refine and develop new concepts for expeditions.
Every time I am in the polar regions I am always looking out for new regions where we can expand our seasonal offering and develop new experiences, as the ice and snow conditions change from month to month.
As head of mountaineering, what does your job encompass?
I am the Alpine Activities Supervisor. I research and develop the products and experiences in the polar regions, support the sales and marketing team to ensure that guests are correctly selected and led to suitable experiences relating to their level of interest, fitness and personal challenge.
I also select and provide support on the management of the climbing and mountaineering team of staff.
What are you most excited about for the forthcoming season in Antarctica?
Definitely working with new guides who have not been there before. It’s really motivating to see their excitement when working in this unique and challenging guiding environment.
This season we have really busy ski and snow boarding touring trips. Delivering a brilliant experience is really rewarding and personally very satisfying.
To those who have never experienced an expedition in the polar regions, how would you describe the experience?
To just be there, look around and take in the whole experience is overwhelming to say the least. The first time is the best – it feels like a dream has become reality.
How have expeditions changed over recent years?
We have added new products like snow shoeing and ski and snowboard touring. We are always looking at products that are inclusive and can be enjoyed by your average walker or skier.
The key in delivering these opportunities is experience and using great guides.
How do you ensure the expeditions you lead are respectful to the natural environment?
All of the Aurora Expeditions’ team is well trained and have had to pass assessments in protocols for working in the polar regions.
Everyone is passionate about conveying the conservation message and we find that our guests listen to our briefings and understand the importance of visiting these places respectfully and sensitively.