It might have just been something in the Oslo air or seeing everyone in the city run around with ski equipment but enough was enough and we decided that it was about time to give cross-country skiing a whirl. Yes, I know I’m Canadian but NEVER in my life have I been cross-country skiing and to make it even funnier, my first attempt was going to be with an Aussie who’d only been once. As far as I was concerned, how hard could it be right? After all I was going with someone who used to be a snowboard instructor so I’m sure she’d be able to dig deep back into her teaching days and give me a few pointers. So we did the only thing that made sense and figured out how to take the metro to the mountains. Getting to the mountain was an easy task as all you need to do is sit on a train for around 30 minutes and you’ll find yourself exactly where you needed to be. The difficult task was figuring out where the hell to rent the equipment from. Turns out the locals we were following all had their own gear so they couldn’t offer us too much advise other than to find the steepest hill, climb it and there should be a place around there somewhere. GREAT! So off we went climbing what we thought was a steep hill and seeing nothing at the top of it and then winding around to figure out where the hell we were supposed to go. After about an hour mucking about in the snow and befriending random dogs, we came across the rental lodge. Turns out all we had to do when we got off at the metro stop was jump on the bus but that’s the knowledge that people who plan their trips possess.
At the end all that mattered was we made it and so off we went to drop a pretty penny on whatever the hell we needed for the day. Turns out that renting ski equipment was pretty reasonable in one of the most expensive cities in the world. It would have been even better if we had just remembered to use our 20% discount courtesy of the Oslo pass but there’s always next time I guess. All we had left to do was find a place to cross-country the hell out of the Oslo. Word of advice, figure out where you want to go before you get there. There are hard tracks, easy tracks, training tracks, and tracks near lakes that are buried under piles and piles of snow. As we weren’t sure where to go (and without a decent map at our disposal) we just relied on blind luck. At first it was grand as we stumbled upon a training track and that gave us a chance to figure out how it all works. There may have been a lot of falling followed by a little pee your pants laughter but so far so good. What we were lacking in technique was made up for by laughter and laughing at each other. As we got more adventurous, we started to venture beyond the safety net of the training track and decided to go find ourselves a lake. This was easier said than done as there are absolutely no signs telling you where you should go. It was just snow, forest, and everything looks exactly the same.
After a good amount of searching and bugging anyone who was unfortunate enough to cross our path, we found what we were told was an easy track. At first, it seemed to be okay and then we hit the hills and it wasn’t so okay. Aside from being a killer workout, it turns out going downhill is a hell of a lot easier than going uphill for me. It felt like every time I tried to go uphill, I would get so far before feeling myself start slipping down again. It was hard and after a little frustration with a big hill, I decided to whip off my skis and just walk up that damn bad boy. Turns out that even though I had placed the ski in question diagonally, I made the unfortunate mistake of still keeping it at a downwards angle. After that, all it took was a little bump and my ski set off on its own, settled into the groove, and started going downhill at the speed of light. At first, I just stared at it and laughed but soon realized that the only way the damn thing was going to stop was if it launched itself off the mountain. Like Indiana Jones, I set off after the damn thing to stop its downwards decent before I owed the rental place a whole lot of money. It whipped around the bend and kept continuing at the speed of light as I ran after it as fast as I could with the poles and other ski in my hand. When I started to give up hope, I could see a man in the distance holding up the wayward ski high in the air. He was obviously someone who knew what he was doing and before long, I was by his side and reclaiming the runaway ski with a whole lot of verbal diarrhea explaining what had just happened.
In situations like this, what else is there to do other than laugh. All in all, I can say that I had an absolutely blast cross-country skiing. My technique may have been horrid but I would say I probably was the best at laughing at my uncoordinated self. At the end of the day, I had a great workout, was able to return all the equipment, and despite all the falling – was alive to tell the tale with minor injury and made others chuckle along the way. If that doesn’t make me a juggernaut – I’m not quite sure what does!