You've probably never heard of Onekotan, and that's OK. Why? It's a small island in the Okhotsk Sea, it used to be Japanese, and now it's Russian. Does anyone live there? Nope.
It's a unique island, because on that island is a lake, and in that lake is another island, which is a volcano. Awesome. Then some hearty souls ventured out and skied it. Double awesome. Even more awesome? You can see the whole film of their adventure for free on Red Bull TV from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25.
But first, get the basics of the story here, in GIF form.
The story of a volcano in a lake on an island
It's really, really hard to get to. No one lives there. There's no spot for planes to land. The only way is by boat, and that means you've got to talk the captain into making the 155-mile trip — and pay for it. (How much? Watch the movie to find out.)
The boat ride there is like this
Not exactly where you want to go for a ski vacation, huh? Well, for Matthias Mayr, Matthias Haunholder and Phil Meier, it sounded like one heck of an adventure. Not to mention they'd be the first people to ever ski there.
Meet the crazy dudes who wanted to ski a volcano
So they planned. And traveled. And somehow convinced a boat captain to take them to the island. And somehow, they got there.
Getting ready to leave the beach at Onekotan
To ski the peak, they'd have to get to the center of the island, climb down to the lake, cross the lake and then climb the volcano. Not easy. So while they were expert freeskiers, even as pros there were still a few things left to learn. Good thing they practiced swimming in ski boots.
They had to get ready to fall through ice
Of course, once they got there they found that life on a remote island, near the Arctic Circle, in the middle of winter, wasn't so easy. First on the list? Build shelter to protect them from the nonstop wind and snow.
They made igloos to sleep in at night
They built a base camp near the water where it was warmer, and a second camp higher up for quicker ascents toward the volcano.
Not exactly a Swiss chalet, huh, Matthias?
But finding a place to sleep wasn't the only challenge. They also had to navigate their way across uncharted land to the volcano. And it wasn't close.
It was a long hike to the lake
And it definitely wasn't easy. Maritime climates produce a lot of snow — more than you need sometimes.
They had to hike through really deep snow
And even once they stopped post-holing their way up, there was still a long, long way to go ...
And they had to keep going — and going
And oh yeah, once you reach the lake, you have to get across the lake.
Nope, nope, nope
If that ice breaks? You go in. And it's gonna be cold.
And a little more nope
From there, it's over 3,250 feet of climbing to get to the top. But after the second try, they made the summit and got to ski down.
Was it worth it? Definitely
There are not many places where you can ski to the sea.
Then they could ski back to the sea
Of course, just because the mountain was skied didn't mean the adventure was over. The guys had to get back to the mainland, and that was going to prove difficult. Especially because the boat couldn't make it.
Getting home? The struggle is real
And there was another problem: To survive, they needed to eat. And that requires food.
No food? That's a problem
So what happens in the end? You'll have to watch the documentary to find out. In the meantime, remember this ...
The best turns are the ones earned
Want to know more, like how much they paid for the boat or how they got off the island? Tune in to Red Bull TV to watch "Onekotan — The Lost Island" for free from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25. (Watch the trailer below.)