Maybe you’re sick of reading about my trip to Norway yet, but I’m not yet sick of talking about it! Just one more recap and then I’m back to regularly scheduled (or irregularly scheduled as the case may be) blogging.
When I go on vacation I like to DO things. I like sightseeing, going to museums, and getting some exercise. If I wanted to sit around and relax I can do that at home. I’m on vacation to explore!
Matt had a terrible cold while we were away so we tried to take it easy but we were able to get a lot of activities in during our trip. We spent 2 days in Geilo a small tourist town in central Norway in the mountain region of Hallingdal. It’s a big time ski town with A LOT of snow and I learned that the ski season goes straight through to the end of May. That is one looong winter.
I was hoping to be able to do some ice climbing while we were in Geilo but it wasn’t cold enough for the ice conditions to be safe. Apparently a couple of weeks ago someone drowned while ice climbing with a tourist group so no one was taking any chances.
We did however get to go dog sledding(!) and a quintessential Norwegian activity — cross country skiing.
Dog sledding was pretty sweet. It was a 16 km loop through a gorgeous part of Hallingdal. Each sled had a driver and a passenger and was led by a team of 6 dogs (huskies, mostly). The dogs were so excited to get out on the trail and I was excited to see 40 adorable dogs wagging their tails and jumping up for a little attention. They were definitely a friendly bunch.
These dogs can go fast. There was a break on the sled to keep their speed in check, but for the most part you just stand and steer while the dogs do all the work. It really is as easy as it looks.
The other activity that we did in Geilo was cross country skiing. Norwegians are serious about this sport the same way Canadians are serious about hockey and there were a lot of people out on the trails on a Wednesday afternoon.
I’ve done alpine skiing before but never cross country. It’s a really easy sport to learn but definitely tough to master (I’m not sure I got the technique down yet). It was really tiring too! I fell in love with it and I think I’ll try to do it next winter somewhere around here. (At Point Pelee perhaps?)
Cross country skiing is a mix of both lower and upper body work so my legs and back were quite sore the next day. Geilo has groomed trails for skiing which have grooves to place your skis in. This made the strides a little easier at first but by the end of the day we were able to ski over an ungroomed lake with no problem.
I stuck with the “diagonal stride” method for most of the trail except when going uphill. That was tough. I learned that the best method was to spread my skis into a V and sort of walk up the hill that way.
I wanted to try the skating technique that Olympic skier make look so easy. It’s not. It’s really really tough. Maybe next time I go I’ll take a lesson so I can learn that technique.
p.s. Congrats to the Canadian Men’s XC Sprint Team of Harvey and Kershaw who inched ahead of the Norwegian team to win the gold at the Nordic world skiing championships. Apparently it was a major upset — one that most Canadians probably knew nothing about! ( source )