where I live, we’re finally getting warm, sunny weather after a long winter.

But in the southern hemisphere, it’s getting colder.

Some of the coldest weather down south is in Antarctica.

And some of the people who work there year round have a tradition during that extreme cold: it’s something called the 300 Club.

Most of the human activity in the southernmost continent takes place during Antarctic summer.

During the warmest – or, maybe better to say, the least cold – months, there are four to five thousand people on hand.

They’re doing research or staffing the bases; plus there are tourists and other visitors.

During Antarctic winter, the population drops to around 1,100.

A lot of the ways we pass the time on the other six continents are not available to the year-rounders.

And the weather is so bad that even the most winter-friendly among them have to stay indoors a lot.

So some of the opportunities for recreation are a little unorthodox.

Like the 300 Club.

It gets its name from a temperature swing that most people could only experience on Antarctica.

You can only participate on a day in which the temperature outside is at least 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (and that’s the air temperature, not the wind chill).

And you can only participate at a specific station known as South Pole Station.

A participant has to sit in a sauna where the temperature is 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, they run or speedwalk about 150 yards to the spot known as the Ceremonial South Pole.

Yes, that’s outside.

They run all the way around the pole, so that they’ve made it through all 24 of Earth’s time zones, and then they head back inside.

I should mention, this is often done in the dark, because that’s when the temperature is that cold.

And often, they’re only wearing white rubber boots.

Not exactly a quiet night in with a book, is it?

In case you’re wondering, there is a risk of frostbite with that kind of exposure, and I don’t just mean fingers or earlobes, either.

So, be careful out there.

We spend a lot of time on those websites that tell uis which day is National Such-and-Such Day.

This one is the one that’s struck me the most.

Every year on April 20, it’s National Lima Bean Respect Day.

Maybe we should give these beans a little more credit!

South Pole’s 300 Club not for the cold-blooded (Reuters)

On Getting Naked in Antarctica (The Atlantic)

National Lima Bean Respect Day (National Day Calendar)

Photo by Eli Duke via Flickr/Creative Commons