The Expedition Center "Arctic" was set up on the basis of a scientific and sports expedition in 1982. That expedition involved preparing and carrying out trips in the most unreachable regions of Russia's Far North, including the Central Arctic. The Center was established by the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Pole Explorers Association.
The Center's origins began in 1979, when a group of people of great endurance and physical strength carried out ski trips in the northern part of Russia. These trips emphasized a maximum autonomy of the group. During each trip, all members could only rely upon themselves, food stocks and equipment carried with them.
Since then, these ski trek teams have covered more than 30,000 km along the Arctic coastline, islands, and drifting ice. About 150 people have taken part in expeditions of the "Arctic" Center. Twenty four people reached the North Pole during the ski polar expeditions. Some of them were on the Pole twice and one three times.
For the first time in the history Russian flag was raised in the North Pole on the 23d of April 1992, during the First parachute-and-ski expedition "Rainbow above the Pole".
In 1994 a team of eight skiers managed to reach the North Pole absolutely unaided from beginning to end. In other words, there were no reinforcements, air support, evacuations, etc. and the entire group started and finished the trip as one. This was the first time in the history of polar trips that such a trip was accomplished.
Then, in 1998 “Arctic” made the next big leap – a ski team successfully covered the most difficult polar trek from Russian coastline to Canada through the North Pole point. That became a new world achievement of Russian explorers – members of Expedition Center "Arctic" – estimated by specialists in extreme trips and world sports society as one of the most unique expedition of the XX century.
Since 1994 the Center organizes annual complex international expeditions to the North Pole including sky-diving, balloon flights, underwater scuba-diving, skiing and other social-sports activities. Hundreds of sportsmen from more than 25 countries have made parachute jumps in the North Pole point during these years.
Expedition Center “Arctic” has been developing a new kind of vehicles – all-wheel drive cross-country vehicles with extra-low-pressure tires – “snow bugs” – since 1997. These vehicles were successfully tested in large-scale Arctic and Antarctic expeditions 1999-2003 and began to be widely used in further projects.
The first in Antarctic history, large-scale complex international non-governmental Antarctic expedition, called "Meeting XXI Century", was organized and carried out by ECA in December 1999 – January 2000.
During that expedition a whole series of world records was made, such as a mass sky-diving in Antarctica near Patriot Hills, the first in Antarctica history balloon flying, a high-speed 10-days roundtrip of “snow bugs” from Patriot Hills to the South Pole, the first balloon flying over the South Pole point, etc.
The results of the "Meeting XXI Century" Antarctic expedition was highly marked by UN General Secretary Mr. Kofi A. Annan.
The Center’s activities are supported by well-known Russian travelers, polar explorers and scientists such as Arthur Chilingarov, Vitally Volovitch, Igor Zotikov, Valery Lukin and others. The famous Russian traveler and presenter of the popular TV-program “Travelers Club” Yuri Senkevitch was our true friend and companion-in-arms.
In December 2000, the Official representative of the UN General Secretary Mr. Yuri Vorontsov and the Head of regional representation of UN Department for the drugs and criminality control Mr. Bruno Dato have presented a flag of the United Nations to "Arctic" Expedition Center.
Center's activities were highly appreciated by the world famous travelers such as Thor Heyerdahl (Norway), Edmund Hillary (New Zealand), Jeff Sammers (Great Britain), and others.
The Center closely cooperates with Russian Emergencies Ministry, Russian Olympic committee, Russian Antarctic Expedition, Polar Fund, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, Moscow State University, different scientific and research organizations, wide range of newspapers, TV-channels and others. The Center is also providing promotions of expeditionary and exploring activities, as well as video production based on unique video and photo materials.