12 February 2013

what we love about winter: skiing.

We are totally on the skiing bandwagon.  Cross-country skiing is big in Norway, so when we came back after Christmas we rented skis and gave it a try. Although I can’t say it’s always been easy nor has it always been 100% fun, it’s good and just keeps getting better.  If you remember, I did try cross-country skiing before Christmas and you can read about it here
We most frequently ski from right outside out apartment.  We live close to Sognsvann Lake and close to a section of Nordmarka (North Forest), so there are tons of ski trails starting about 200 meters from our door.  The trails near us are pretty popular for people in Oslo.  On any given day of the week the ski trails will have lots of individuals and families gliding along, but especially on the weekends.  Woah, the weekends.  It’s like Disneyland in the summer over here.  A machine smoothes out the ski trails and puts grooves in the ground so our skis don't slip around (and we use ski wax).  There are a handful of lakes nearby and none of those have machine made ski tracks, but there is often a man made ski track that is the result of lots of skiers going across the lake the same way.  This is Sognsvann: 
Even though I have a job and Josh is studying, we have lots of free time. So we ski. I love this new hobby for many reasons: 

It’s new, so I have a lot to improve on.

I get to spend time in the beautiful outdoors. Sometimes it’s hard to be outside when it’s -10 degrees Celcius, but skiing makes being outside less freezing.  Plus, it’s beautiful here, especially after a big snow.

 Skiing is exercise.  I can kill two birds with one stone- I can have fun and get a workout at the same time. 

I feel like I'm participating in Norwegian culture. It's exciting to ski with people who love skiing so much.
When I go skiing it’s usually with Josh and/or a small group of friends, but Josh often skis by himself once or twice a week.  Together we probably go 3-4 times a week. If we don't have plans in the afternoon or evening we will often fill the time with skiing. The past few weekends groups from Christian Union have gone skiing.  It’s interesting to go with these groups, because there are so many levels of skill and speed amoungst the skiers.  Last weekend we skied to church with a CU group.  We took the Tbane to a place called Frognerseteren and from there we skied to a chapel in the woods called Nordmarkskapellet.  We had a pretty big group, but Josh & me and our friends Jana & Thomas skied together to the chapel in about 30 minutes.  I was freezing before hand, so I skied as fast as I could!  The forests near Oslo (and probably most of Norway) are scattered with cabins that serve food and have warm fires.  This chapel is sort of like those cabins with the fire and food, but it also has a church service at noon.  We enjoyed the fire while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive.  
I love actually skiing, but I also love the idea of skiing.  Early on in my skiing career I think I loved the idea of skiing more than I loved actually skiing.  This resulted in some tearful moments during my ski trips.  I wanted to love skiing, but it was kind of hard and Josh skied so much faster than me.  Josh was also improved his technique more quickly than I did and he just wanted to give me some helpful tips.  Sometimes I didn't want tips.  I just wanted to ski.  I didn’t feel like I could enjoy skiing while also killing myself trying to get better.  Over the past couple weeks I built up some skiing endurance, so I didn't get as tired while skiing and I could focus on improving my form.  This made skiing more fun!  I’ve also been able to cultivate a better attitude.  Even when it’s hard to go uphill for ten minutes, I remind myself that this can still be fun.  And it usually is.  
One of our best ski trips was last Friday afternoon/evening when we skied to a nearby cabin in the forest.  Although we took a minor detour through an incredibly narrow, unkept patch of woods, we managed to get up to the cabin with positive spirits still intact.  At the cabin we happened to run into some friends who had also been skiing and we all sat inside for a while enjoying the fire, warm drinks and baked goods. After a little rest we headed home.  Since we live at the bottom of the forest we have to go uphill to go anywhere on skis.  That means that the way home is usually downhill.  In my mind, going down is the best part of skiing.  It's so exhilarating to fly down the hill while trying to stay inside the grooves for the skis.  What made this outing so great was that we had no major arguments and no major falls or problems.  We just skied to the top and then back down.  We're starting to get the hang of skiing and we're loving it.
Have you tried cross-country skiing?  

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