There’s a definite change in the air when Easter arrives in Norway. You get the feeling that the long dark winter is over, the sun begins to shine and everyone emerges from their homes to enjoy the outdoors. Time to try cross-country skiing!
Although it was a fairly early Easter this year, the sun sure was shining. But don’t let that trick you, it’s still freezing with temperatures below zero.
We kicked off the Easter period with a trip to a cabin about 50km North of Oslo. I borrowed a friend’s cross-country skis and got ready to head out for my first time. I should tell you about the skis. The were a guys skis and I’m a girl and they were too long for me. The boots were a 41 and I’m a 37, but four pairs of wool socks meant they almost fit me. They were mountain cross-country skis, with the intention of being a more stable for me, as they are designed for out of track use. The downside is they were a bit heavy for me.
But none of that stopped me. In fact I didn’t know what they were supposed to feel like. So the six of us headed out. Probably one of the coolest feelings I’ve had was crossing a huge snow-covered lake. I thought it was a field underneath, but it was a frozen solid lake. I was a bit slow, so one of my friends towed me. Like a father does to his toddler. Not my proudest moment, but fun all the same.
Then it’s up the first hill. “Just fish tail up” they said. So I watched and tried. But the skis were so long that they kept crossing over at the back and I’d nearly fall over. I tried to go up sideways and eventually made it up. A far cry from resembling anything graceful.
A bit more skiing before we stopped for lunch. Not where there’s a table and chairs and a place to grill the sausages we brought. We stopped just across the lake in a snow bank. The guys made a snow-bench for us to sit on and dug a hole for the fire. We sharpened some sticks, put our sausages on them and then held them over the fire to cook. I felt very outdoorsy.
Some of the group headed up further, but my partner and I headed back after lunch, knowing it would take me a while. Then came the down hill part. “Just snow plow down”. Now, I haven’t been on skis for 12 years and from memory I was not very good at snow plowing. But it’s the only way down. Or is it?
First attempt, end up going sideways and into the bank of snow.
Second attempt, end up going even more sideways and need to be pulled out of the bank of snow and held while I straighten up.
Third attempt and I’m in the bank of snow again. I gave up and clicked out of my skis and walked down the hill.
The plus side is, on the flat I got the hang of it. The push, the glide, the slide… it was really fun.
The next weekend we headed out with my partners family. This time further North, about an hour outside of Trondheim in a place called Oppdal. I borrowed someone else’s skis again. This time a girl who’s similar in size. These skis were built for gliding in the tracks and were much, much lighter. See, I’m learning and I can tell the difference now.
Another gloriously sunny day. The aim of the day was to ski from one cabin to another cabin. I was a bit more wobbly on these skis, but managed going up hill better. The family members also helped me with the down hill and I started to get the hang of it. Not perfect, but didn’t fall every time we went down hill, and that meant progress!
Lunch was the same deal, snow-bench, fire roasted sausages and cups of cocoa. No wonder why Norwegians love to do this on weekends.
All up, we were out skiing for around five or six hours and skied almost 15km. A great effort for my second time. I should say we were taking it easy as our four year old niece was with us. She may or may not have been better than me. But I’m not going to get in to that.
One thing I will say, is cross-country skiing is a fully body workout. Wow. Every muscle was aware of the workout the next day. But I loved it and wish I started earlier. The season is just about over and I would like to say I’m a fully fledged cross-country skier, not a faller.