Skiing is something that Norwegians claim to enjoy and be experts at, without actually putting it into practice. The story that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet is just a cruel myth put about by nurses to explain the screams coming from the maternity ward. Most Norwegians will instead get skis at an early age and go through basic ski training – learning how not to fall over while standing still, how to get up and down a hill without taking your skis off. I did mine back when I was six or seven.
Anyway, my darling wife got a chance to learn how to ski through the University in Oslo. A theory course explained the basics (pointy end forward, wax on the bottom of the ski, etc). This weekend and next are the practical courses.
We went out into the cold snowy day/dusk on Saturday and made our way to Sognsvann (even the T-bane has problems in the cold). The skis were freshly waxed (with green swix suitable for the –10C weather) and the backpack stuffed with chocolate, thermoses, blankets, sandwiches and oranges. We were ready!
The instructors first got everyone to practice walking and gliding with the skis. This wasn’t too exciting, so after an hour of wandering back and forth in the wind, they switched to a game of freeze-tag: run the monsters coming to tag you
After a vigorous hour of freeze-tag, it was time for a very cold lunch, and then it was on to the going-up-and-down portion of practice.
Fay was understandably sceptical to the idea of sliding down a slippery slope on two planks. She was set on going home, but after a look at the slope, she decided she had to try it once, and once down, she wanted to go again. And again. Falling down in the snow was not so bad as she first feared.
The wind picked up and started whipping up flurries of snow around the students. After an hour of fishbone-steps up and squatting down the hill we were more than ready for a warm subway car.
When we got back to the T-bane stop, the sign said “28 minutes” to the next train – but luckily it was off by about 18 minutes. The chocolate disappeared on the trip home. My toes defrosted.
Today the weather is nicer (the sun is shining through a thin cloud cover) but the temperature is around –17C, so no skiing lessons today. Another factor is that the unexpected exercise on the slopes has caused Fay’s many major muscle groups to complain about the harsh treatment they got yesterday. But the forecast for next weekend looks good. I’m sure we’ll be back outside with the skis on.