Iditasport Extreme

a treatment for National Geographic Television

By Producer / Director, Jim Kreidler, Washington, D.C.

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On February 22nd, 1997 one man will attempt to do something unprecedented. In six days or less, in the dead of an Alaskan winter, he will ride a bike, snow shoe, and run 320 miles across the Alaskan mountain range in a race called Iditasport Extreme. It has never been done before. He begins the race with fifteen other people but will race alone and will have no human support. He must navigate, build shelter, feed himself, stay alert, alive, and on schedule twenty-four hours a day over the course of up to six days. It will take the outdoor skills of a Mt. Everest climber, the calculating mind of a chess champion, and the endurance of a Tour De France cyclist. There is danger and the risk of death. Who would be crazy enough to do this? Will he make it?

Chris Kostman is a charismatic Ph.D. archeology student and endurance athlete, the youngest person ever to have completed the Race Across America, a 24 hour a day, 3,100 mile bicycle race across the United States.

Join National Geographic Explorer Journal as we take you on a trip through challenges which most of us can not imagine.

Chris will be navigating the Iditarod Trail, which, only 1/8 of the way into the race, ceases to be a trail at all and becomes a barren, snow covered wilderness. Because high winds and snow storms wipe out any trace of man, Chris will be using the Global Satellite Positioning System (GPS) in addition to the traditional map and compass to navigate. When the snow becomes too deep he will switch to snowshoes and drag his bike behind him.

The route crosses hundreds of streams and rivers. If Chris breaks through the ice on even one of them or does not see the signs of open water and gets wet, the result could be fatal. He could freeze to death in less then three minutes. Temperatures in the Alaskan Range in February are up to 40 degrees below zero. Since he will be moving day and night, he will only sleep a few hours per night. He will build his own shelter, live on a special diet, and cook on a small stove when necessary.

"It is only when you are so removed from your natural habitat, so totally isolated and self-dependent, so stripped of all of the trappings of society and "civilization" that you have the opportunity to truly be self-aware and in control of your destiny. When faced with 300 miles of snowy trail, there is no sane path to take except to engage, take it one step at a time, and blend with the environment. In a place like that I must choose life because anything else would be death."

-Chris Kostman

Join us as we follow Chris Kostman on Iditasport Extreme.

This fifteeen minute film for National Geographic Explorer Journal (1.5 million viewers on average) will be shot on digital video from a snowmobile and bike- and helmet-mounted cameras, along with aerial footage

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