The obvious event to mark on January 17 is the arrival of Captain Scott at the South Pole. He may have written in his diary "Great God! This is an awful place," but that hasn't stopped scores of people, particularly over the past few decades, wanting to repeat the famous journey.
However, with next year seeing the 100th anniversary of the race to the pole (Roald Amundsen's Norwegian team got there first on December 14 1911), an unprecedented number of adventurers are heading to Antarctica. According to a report in the New York Times, some people plan to ski the exact routes taken by Scott and Amundsen, while others will travel to the pole by truck. Then there are novices making the trip as well as those making a race of it. Of course you can avoid all the discomfort by being flown there.
I'm undecided as to what to make of this. After all, the number of people actually stepping onto the ice (as opposed to visiting by cruise) is relatively small. A forceful case against all the hullaballoo can be read on Russell Potter's Visions of the North blog in which he states in no uncertain terms that these expeditions "confer only the most artificial sense of achievement".