søndag 16. juli 2017

An Odd Experience Without the Nordstoga - Telemark

We took upon ourselves to extend what for many is a day tour to Bo Sommarland, a water-fun-park in the midst of Telemark. Boe as I have no oe with a strike through on this keyboard to try and be more precise. A place to live you can translate it as.

Being DNT members only every other year, it fell this year to join up and do something with our limited budget for holiday,  with long standing credit card debts and that other D of cost, decorating, getting in the way of a trip abroad or even a Hardangarvidde cabin tour again. Bo Sommarland however did a very decent package including hotel and breakfast for about 250 euros for all four of us, so that fitted in with budget, but not quite with our style. So a cabin, a hut, a basic over nighting premises was sought.

Like Scottish Youth Hostels, the Tour Society's "huts" in Norway range from shacks and even open lean to's all the way to fully fledged mountain hotels with full board if you so desire. After you join you find out also by experience that in fact the huts out in the sticks are not all that cheap to live in actually per night for a family of four, especially once you've paid for hermetic and dessicated food and drinks. Our last trip I worked out was about the same as shopping around for a hotel or 'pensjonat' with breakfast included, given you can either quite legally make a packed lunch from the 'smorgasbord' of bread slices and various goodies or just pinch one anyway.

So far with our iPad-android kids it has been hard to get them to do any serious cabin trips, They love the cabin experience but motivating them for a 17km hike in, which seems to be a rough average to the first hut in a tour of cabins, is just too difficult. Last time 10km into Kildebu ( Bu being the same meaning as Boe, kilde meaning spring or source) on Hardangarvidde. A spectacular high plateau with glacier in distance experience it was, the unusually high termperatures made for a hot afternoon and evening's tour in over the moor. We had cheated even more the previous days by staying at Hallingskeid which is a DNT hut right at the station. The only other partakers of such idleness were older ladies with bad joints and some Romanian beggars who werent allowed in to help themselves to the over priced larder. It gave them a good feel for the "Hytte" and high mountain experience, but it was only myself who actually made it up to the top of the peak, at 1500m, a cheat too, higher than Ben Nevis but only like a walk in the Pentlands to conquer from the Bergensbane station roof.

This time we cheated even morre just to give the kids a reminder tasting of the finer things of cabin life. Mosquitos and a bad night's sleep in a room with curtains which seem to be phosphorescant is par for the course. 'Kjerringa" my dear other half of the Norsk persuasion,  planned one hut on the Bo side of things, which we could really cheat with by driving up to and then only having a half hour to get to the amusement  park next day. That one was booked, for obvious reason, it is near a lot of good places to walk and visit in a car. The next one looked very near in fact on the map when  at large scale, but we were about to discover some of the ins-and-outs of Telemark and this type of easy access hut.

FIrstly we had to pick up the keys at the region's office in Skien and not out at some petrol station or the likes in the sticks. This however did not look like much of any a diversion, and in fact could be put on the way. Delivering the keys back was then an issue, because it was about 120 degrees and 60 km the wrong direction for Boe. Ok, we could post them. Ah, nope, they were down to emergency last chance key sets because it was high season for their own local members. I didnt even need to bite my lip for once and just went with the flow, the kids had said they love car tours, as indeed I did when I was wee, just give us the chance to run around every couple of hours outside and play a while, plus  some picnicing and chocolates.

Next thing was that no matter the need to deliver keys, our Hut of choice was bound in by the valley system which you find along the whole south of Norway, The valleys run with the direction of the ice from that age which ended 10,000 years ago of course,. That is North-South. Where valleys give way to higher ground, usually there are large barren areas, VIddas, like the famous one in the Hardangar area and east over. which ends incidentally in Telemark. Our Cabin was about as far up the valley as you can get before it is just lakes , stoney outcrops and bogs. Now in places like Hardangarvidde or Dovrefjell and so on, the need to get twixt main cities has driven rail and then road over the tops, akin to Rannoch Moor in dear green Caledonia.  Not for darkest Telemark. A mere 30 km as the crow flies with about an extra 100 to actually get down the valleys and up them again to reach Bo. Keys out of the picture  there was a very slight short cut which follows the Grenlandsbane up the east side of the innappropos 'North Sea: lake up towards Bo.

The cabin was seemingly a very traditional one with cream yellow walls, green beams and blood red edging like many a traditional farm house. One outhouse, the shitter and woodshed as it turned out, was at least a hundred years old, a log cabin, but it transpired from the concrete foundation and damp course that our cabin was in the cosmetic style of a trad hut but completed by Telemark Tour Society TTF in the nineties. Very nice though it was too, with a boat at hand to chill out on the little creek outside, and a morning bathe to be had there in too. The kids had drunken cola, diet variety and after 7pm. After a joyous arrival, fetching of pales of water from the brook, and chilling out with the mandatory installed board game, the kids did  not want to sleep. All the woes of the world and combinations of who would sleep where and get mummy and up bunk bed or down, side room or main 'stua' living area ensued until midnight, and us with a suppioosed 8am departure.

Now I had not mentioned that this road went mostly up from Skien and deterioated into gravel after 20 of its 70 or so km, and had a boom with when the going got really into the sticks. The hut turned out to be at around 1800 ft above sea level, and thus cool in the morning so dips in the creek were quickly forgotten, and good old Norwegain kettle cooked coffee ensued in great volumes. We went down a gear in both mentality and in the car to bring us back down from the high chaparal, and into the valley south. However fate would conspire to give us a yet longer tour back to Skien. For some unknown reason, I could blame 'kjerringa's navigation and presumption or route, we took a 90 cegree wrong turn and ended up bamboozled. The sun at one point seemed wrong to me, being on the right and not the left, but I put this town to the convoluted nature of the roads. Soon we found ourselves negotiating a one in six climb to what surely must be the way out, when we came to a dead end, and a real kind of banjo land feeling about the woodsmans houses we came across. We scurried down ,and retraced our tyre tracks, realising we had driven up a dead end, and had merely missed one crossing and one sign,

Soon it dawned on me that the sun was on the right side now that we had done a 180. We carried on with the name of one road secured as correct, and the solar compass telling me to carry on south., At some point we went over our mistaken 90 degree out junction without even noticing it, until the next junction seemed familiar and the sign to Sommarseter was confirmed as one of many we had really in actual fact seen, Refering to the map one more time at a subsequent junction, I could see we had driven a long way in the wrong direction, But we had a two day pass at the Sommarland and in any case it takes time for the air to warm up, with the mid afternoon being most comfortable for water shoots and river runs., Lost once again, we found ourselfves driving into yet another farm yard, with the prospect of shotguns casually over thighs on rocking chairs, cocked and ready though just in case. We were actually back in Christian civilisation had we cared to scan the tree line for Luksefjell church spire. The chapel could fit ooh maybe fifteen parishoners at a guess. The internet of its day for the remote valley.

The rest of the tour was just boring really with me driving as fast as I dared on gravel tracks down towards Skien and then remembering to keep my license by holding the snails pace town speed limits here. Key delivered, we turned another 180 approximately and headed off up the other side of the North Sea to Bo.

The water-park was really much more than we had expected, given we had two days to enjoy what we wanted there. The first series of flooms are built onto a handy hillside, making for a great deal of walking and indeed, eager running back up to the top., Queues were an issue on all the rides where you could either go with someone or compete against someone. and on the twisty classic floom, which slung a fatish, muscleyish middle aged man like me out of it at twice the speed and considerable more force than kiddie  winkies went on it. The scariest were the straight liners, either the big  drop man and madness test , a 20 meter near vert' drop into a trough with I guess about 50mph being achieved, and even the three lane racer was quite a scare. Corners slow you down, give you a centrifugal thrll and hide the obvious fall to death from your eyes, where as straight down is like a certain death, only like a parachute, the water arrests your descent safely, if a little violently,

Day one I had slept four hours and was not in the mood for much, think I went round the river too, but the long slide twice or three times otherwise was my lot, lacking the will to climb stairs and stand in qeues, I put my reflective sun glasses on and milf spotted away most of the afternoon. Overpriced junk food duly consumed, we started to plan day two with our own packed lunch, and getting a good pitch at the top round river section early.

The hotel was at Akkerhaig in Gvarv, with names to places like Nordagutu it all seemed rather alien to standard Norsk, but of course Telemark is a reknowned source of the wildest of dialects. Our hotel had a lakeside view and you could see the Telemark canal section heading off north towards Notodden and Rjukan. A well kept secret internationally methinks, Norske motorboaters delight in this tour whcih rather like the Caledonian canal, sews together a series of lakes and slow flowing rivers with locks to take you to the finest inside fillet of Telemark and the famous lake where the Heroes of the film, no americans sorry Kirk, bombed the heavy water wagons into the deep., It must rank as amongst the most very scenic canal journeys in the world, and should I coil up my sheets and roll my sails, a stink boater I, those waters would be plied with a putt-putt diesel cabin cruiser.

Day two at the splashy fun park started actually almost as late as day one, a good lie in had until 0830 at the hotel followed by gernerous brekkie al. fresco. Wonderful stay, apart from some rudeness over DIY waffles.  I got rather agitated with a woman making it seemed a hundred of the, patiently and persistently and lying about more mix comng in the bowl. Park reached we felt like old hands, and got on the choo choo train to see the whole park all be it at a snails pace. Being 24 degrees forecast, and being very wet in the west of the country, it seemed half of Bergen had fled the rain there and sat themselves down in a camp for climate refugees, We did not get a decent place to sit, let alone any sun loungers, and ended up on a picnic lawn out of sight of any attractions. This being the missuses decision, instead of securing a as yet shadowy, but strategic sunny spot on the main slope, I buggered off with the kids for an hour, determined to take all the medium tough runs and see If I could build up to the big drop or rubber dinghy rollercoaster. We played and played and thrived in the joy of it all, witth the wee man bounding up a one  in six as if carried by the wind,.I had to 'paddle' ski technique to keep up with him.

:Laterr we try to encamp at the circular river attraction, and after some debate and a false start by the paddling pool, found a nice spot on some rocks which was like being on a the 'Svaberg' so many noggies love to escape to along the coast and rivers. We baked and enjoyed dips to cool down, before endulging in the wave dump they sent round the river on the hour, every hour or more often, Pretty cool it was too!  Clouds gathered, kicked up from the damp north sea westerly wind and the crowds started to thin out. We took a final few circuits  on what proived to be the kids favourie, a triple funnel drum affair with twon man figure of eight bathing rings to go two up in or single donuts to enjoy being slung into a conical flaks on its side, with fate and physics deciding if you would be slung out backwards or not. Time marrched on, with a five minute wait or so each time round, and soon the clouds rolled up more, threatening thunder, and we were a bit cool and ready for a warm car.

Final retail opportunity trap sprung with momentos made in China, we took off through southern Telemark to our next desitnation on the Aust Agder coast. A jig saw puzzle for me to fit the last bits into place, we wanted to avoid the boring main road and take a short cut over some hills, THis prove to have less straights than Bennets night club in Glasgow of a saturday eve. I kept the pace on without scaring the kids and ``
from Lunde over the top and down to Drangedal, The same was true of the road south of there, the 38, which must be frustrating for any 'muist get past' ego., A white van man appeared in my rear view, only to realise that my breaking at chevrons was good common sense and backing off, We missed our magical short cut through Gjerstad somehow. Everything in retrospevctive carotgrapchical review, works in diamonds in this part of the land, with us missing the jucntion on the second of two diamond road patterns, me looking for familiarities on the first. Soon though we were at the Kragero junction to the Main E18 southbound trunk route, and the smooth road and lack of 30mph corners made up for the lsightly longer route. White van man, who was creating paranoic feelings in my other half, backed off at his chance to whizzx pass us in a three lane section, and I hit the gas pedal there after maintaining a crafty 10 percent or so above the signage, my speedometer being oh so very over optimistic,. Home came in the late gloaming for us, a tired and  super satisfied little clan, mini break fully enjoyed,

mandag 12. juni 2017

Companies That Give Up on Norway

Here in South Norway we have a major crisis in the demise of thousands of industry jobs, mainly on shore. This is not just in the oil industry, the trend for companies to outsource abroad has hastened in the last three years, despite many of those companies actually being profitable at the time, or having been profitable for decades and reaching a crisis to sort out.

In some of the companies, outside the offshore oil business, which I have worked with I see that they have actaully quite thin gross margin. This is a big signal for any high wage, high skill economy that things are not going well. Production and engineering services companies need to have high value added products. The issue is that very often they are letting their customers have high margin products by continuing to respond to calls for more competitive pricing. They often loose a focus on cooperative innovation on costs in the supply chain, and instead go back to their workshops and start cutting corners with materials, manhours per unit designs for manufacturing ease rather than long term durability and ease of repair.

There are two alternatives here of course. You firstly offer innovation and not just some flashy USP type 'difference', but something which offers more to the end user. This is often more revolution than evolution! It is then the time to find out which customers are quick adopters and willing to cooperate on new technology introduction, or if you can achieve a branded draw-throuugh in the supply chain where customers down the line are specifying the innovation or brand. You can then command a higher margin, and perhaps in your innovation design you have included process and material savings- more being less, the main goal of margin-management.

The second is to find the customers who truly value your product by putting prices up in line with margin desires, and on a wide product range, reducing to the most sold, and the already highest margin products. High volume, low margin products in a Norwegian SME is just a route to dig your own grave, because you actually incur higher costs through out the company  in the noise of making more stuff. To some this sounds like a viscious and respectless 'creaming strategy' but it is in fact for two companies at least I have advised on other matters, a survival strategy they should follow before it is too late.

Admitting defeat in production and completely outsourcing while having just an office based company in Norway is seemingly all 'knowledge economy' strategy and good stuff, but in fact for either a new innovtator or an  established company it can be a road to hidden costs and crisis in customer confidence. For both companies, the switch to overseas production is usually to low cost countries like Poland, the North of Spain, Portugal, Brasil and the Far East with China being particularly popular a few years ago. In an ideal world you should be able to send a set of drawings, part lists and specifications to a contract manufacturer and let them get on with it, turn key, but for an SME in Norway what they have to understand, even at the larger end of medium size, is that on a world basis they may be a small customer to a large supplier. The reverse can be true, that the SME choose a small CM or one with sub suppliers who are small and do not have in particular the quality assurance infrastructure.

Qaulity assurance is the over riding main issue with outsourcing. Second  to this is project coordination such that they are delivered in time. The two factors above work very much against Norwegian businesses abroad, who are not prepared to pay the cost for having an effective inspection and project management prescence on site. That costs a lot of money per head, per product. The supplier is often in a position in these countries where credit is less available and they live more from cash flow,  and in addition working capital levered short term loans in the author's experience. This means there is a pressure to finish your project and argue about it later, especially when a larger spend customer has new orders or larger orders to be finished.

In essence for the offshore and shipping industries, the demands on quality for GL-DNW of American Bureau of Shiipping certification means that all production systems and all manufaddcturing procedures are qualified by the SME. In some equipment, for each item, every single critical stage of constrcution of every individual product has to be overseen and inspected, such as welding or electronic wiring for example.

Quality is in practice a combination of a quality system, excellent design, ownership, pride in work, experience on the workshop floor. In outsourcing you risk losing absolutely all of these, especially if you have taken several rounds of price negotiations. The negative side of forcing price down with a work shop to the lowest nearest bid, is that you risk being a cheap and quick customer. They operate in the same way as any business, man hours per project per unit, and that is where you risk losing most on the quality side. You also risk being the sacrificial cow for postponements if you are marginally profitable to the supplier.

Quality is one thing that can cost companies very dearly if there are deviation at factory-acceptance-test time, or failures in operation. It is very much related to practical on the workshop floor experience with a documentation system reflecting this. When you outsource, those two elements have to entwine with the supplier and that involves an investment.

One area of Quailty in terms of ISO systematic development and initial deliveries to customers stands very much in favour of domestic production in house or in geographically 'cosey'  workshop. Even when this prototyping and and first-of-type-to-market stands at a loss in a larger serial production of the product or is a risk venture on outset, it is worth keeping production facilties local such that the degree of involvement with the practical realitty of the product is immediate and many employees can contribute with no travel costs. This type of lead engineering also can help integrate further into your customer's innovation processes and set you apart as a higher value partner rather than an also ran supplier on the three bid rounds process.

Quality is an unavoidable cost which in turn should be passed on to the customer in BOTH a higher out price and within that a higher margin than for lower qaulity assured production.

An area which is though a major source for revenue in Norway which is in danger of loosing traction due to the decimation of domestic production is life cycle servicing. There are some companies in specialist areas of safety equipment or other critical items for offshore, who make far more money from a delivery in its' lifecycle than when new, because that work is all then very high margin, up in terms of 50% on labour and travel costs and often quire astounding the matter of 80-100% for parts and other materials. Apart from being an income source from the customer, it is also a point to integrate to the customer on, and discover if they have new purchases, are interested in wider upgrades or innovative replacements. Additionally, if they have stopped buying, to then find out reasons as to why.

In terms of manufacturing experience on site this means that those who built it and designed it are very often best placed to be able to fix it or predict what will wear out on it first. Losing this knowledge base through cross board redundancies can be very costly when highly qualified service engineers with no product history are confronted with the on site complexities of ageing products.

Really quality and life cycle are the two areas which western manufacturing firms in general should be focusing  on in terms of maintiaing about average margins. Instead of letting some customers determine a falling top line while the cost line increases, SMEs in Norway would be better finding not what new product to sell, but which new form of relationship to build and which bad form of relationship, the cost driven one, to walk away from. This may mean  of course finding new customers on a global basis, but it means also better integrating to some existing customers and becoming a supplier who solves problems -at a cost - which then avoid costly mistakes down the line in terms of quality failures and poor serviceablility in the field.

onsdag 7. juni 2017

Hvorfor er det lettere å få en ny jobb når du sitter i en stilling enn når man er ledig?

Det er en liten gåte. I Aust Agder sitter det en i fire i voksen alder uten jobb og en del yngre som ikke får lærlingsplass. Ledigheten mynker hvis ikke det stuper nå for denne kvartalen. Varigheten av folks ledighet er ikke en statistikk som vi høre mye om, men de over 18 måneder er i et stigende tall i Agder fylker.

Flere enn en i fire NAVver i Aust Agder. Det er et svartehull for ledige arbeidsplasser som bare kan sammenliknes med Finnmark med hensyn til utlyste stillinger. I tillegg til skyhøy ledighet blant voksen og god vosken folk,  er det mange uføre mennesker som er syke eller tja 'syke' nok til å NAVver hele livet. De skal ikke forsvinne fra NAV uten flere lave terskel jobb. Men de uten jobb som er ofte fullstendig overkvalifiserte ta opp de jobbene fordi det vil være i arbeid slikt det er lettere å komme i en bedre jobb.

Det er en liten paradoks her selvsagt, vi alle har hørt om. At det er alltid lettere å finne en ny jobb når du allerede er i en jobb. Eller egentlig ikke helt sant. Hvis du er kvalifisert eller i et bestemt industri eller strørre konsern, då er det mye lettere å skaffe en jobb 'internt' til firmaet eller industrien. Hvis du sitter på kassen i Rema, då er det kanskje ikke så sannsynlig at den lille ventejobben vil bære frukt. Oppsigelsesperioden stiger etter fastansettelse, butikkbransjen vil også ha lojale medarbeider som ikke forsvinner overnatt til tross for ryktet om mye midlertidig sysselsetning. Faktisk mange gode kvalifiserte folk blir sittende i en 'ventejobb' og mange yngre mennesker med bachelors går flere år fra en ventejobb til det neste. De blir stemplet med lave ambisjoner og initiativ for å bygge en karrière i det det lærte på universitetet, tross for etterspørsel i deres yrket. Yngre, ivrige folk begynne å forbi kjøre dem i hele prosessen.

Men senere i livet er en ventejobb sett på som positiv. Du har vært utsatt for nedbemanning, du kanskje ellers skulle har gått ledig, og en jobb i en hagesenter er engasjerende for deg mens du venter på den nye jobb med stor J i livet ditt. Nå i Aust Agder man konkurrerer ekstremt om ikke bare slike ventejobb men også arbeidspraksisplass som har muligheter å få deg en vente jobb ved erfaring eller avlate for videre ansettelse som NAV inngår. Man konkurrerer med kvoteflyktninger og 'yrkes NAVvere' som er plassert ut i de laveterskel jobbene. Situasjonen er svart og vi kan kanskje forvente at de mange millioner krone regjeringen setter inn blir brukt på flere attførings -konsulenter som smiler og er veldig glad i å hjelpe andre mennesker men har ingen evner til å skape reelle arbeidsplasser for folk som er ledige.

Hovedsakelig det er lettere å få en jobb når du sitter i en jobb fordi man lukter ferskt vare. En fangst, En kupp. Du kan løpe fra dag en når du flytter fra jobb som er likt eller i det samme kunnskaps området, då blir du fort i gang og tilbringe nye kapasitet umiddelbart.  Verdt å vente de tre måneders oppsigelsestid. Kan begynne i en jobb i morgen? Altfor lett-vindt, billige vare.

Største av alle to helt forferdelige fordømmelser mot arbeidsledige folk er  1) De har noe dårlige grunner for at de ble sparket eller valgt som mindre verdt når nedbemannings kniven falt.  2) De er late og mangler en viss motivasjon eller noe sosiale evner som bidrar til at de er ledige og då lukter de dårligere.

Som sagt er ventejobb en veldig, veldig god idee hvis det er noe for deg og kanskje en ventejobb åpner nye veier er til et nytt yrke? Det er også nettverk å vurdere. I jobb og omkring. For eksempel å jobbe i en vente jobb i det offentlige ofte føre til en bedre jobb i en annen etat eller avdeling. En bekjente av min som er innvandre slet med å få jobb til og med hun jobbet deltid midlertidig i kommunen, og så ble hun anbefalte til en jobb i NAV som saksbehandler med sosiale klienter. Jobb i butikk er dessverre på bunnen av muligheter for slike nettverking, det har få muligheter for selveste heltidsjobb. Men en jobb i butikk kan føre til en høyere vurdering av deg i din etablerte nettverk. Så er det 'Walmart økonomi' biten at du kan jobbe egentlig 50%, NAVver ved siden av, og står på CV som i jobb og ikke uten.

En annen sak som jeg leser om er at arbeidsledige folk er for ivrige, slikt de lukter enda vondere tydeligvis. De smisker og pisker opp CVen og vil viser seg fram som super motiverte kandidater som kan utføre jobben bedre enn noen har noensinne. Men de artikkelen overdriver en del. Kanskje. Eller er Janteloven så sterkt at man skal alltid under-selger deg selv og la dem leser mellom linjene? Jeg har uten å være helt oppmerksom på det, over-solgt meg selv inn på et par stillinger i mitt tid her i Norge og i utland. Jeg presterte ikke helt etter forventninger og små feil som ellers skulle ha gått i glemmeboken, ble til svarte merker og spørsmåltegn.

Det største grunnet til at folk i jobb får jobb, uansett oppsigelsestid, er at det er veldig dyrt å ansette i Norge, og en nye ansatte må være veldig produktivt i stillingen. Feil ansettelse koster ikke bare i rekruttering avgifter, men også i tapt produktivitet. Snitt lønn i Norge er 550k NOK med sosialeavgifter og diverse godteri er det nærmere en million krone per år i kostnader. Hver ansatte i en bedrift som har folk med høye ferdigheter/kunnskap/osv då må beregne enn omstilling relaterte til den stillingen av minst 2 millioner krone. I Aust Agder er lønn betydelige lavere for 'on-shore' arbeidere men inntekten til lokale service bedrifter er også vesentlig mindre. Det er verdt å vente på den riktige personen enn å ta inn en som kanskje ikke er helt 'opp og løpende'. Verre for meg, det er 'team fit' i bildet- hvordan en ansatte som skal investeres i med opplæring og innkjøringsperioden passer inn i laget og med hvilke positive evner vil de takle jobben deretter?  Jeg passer ikke i alle lag, særlig når sjefen er en liten selvgod Hitler og jeg har medarbeider som gjerne dumpe noe av deres verste oppgaver på meg.

Folk i jobb får jobb mer ofte på de to hoved grunner. De er opp og gående i det systemet, arbeidsflyt, kundegruppe, teknologi, programvare, verktøy eller generelt fag og ikke hjemme med et usynlig spørsmåltegn på CVen. Så får de høre om jobb, og dessuten anbefalte for jobb før jobben blir utlyste. I det offentlige og private med forskrifter om dette, vil stillingen bli utlyst bare som en bekreftelse at den interne eller bekjente kandidat er god nok, og fordi det kreves av organisasjonen eller lovverket. Dessverre er det ofte slikt at prosessen med to runder intervju foregår allikevel som er kjedelig. Intervjupraksis ja.

Jeg er en NAVver nå, føler som yrkes skattesvindler egentlig. Jeg får ikke en sjanse til å jobbe selveste gratis mellom tiltaket som regjeringen kom med i fjor. Det blir ingenting av. Flere muligheter, men ofte i bedrifter eller etater som forventet kutt i budsjett. Nå forventer jeg svært lite av den nye innsats/tiltak pakke når det ankommer Sørlandet og blir svelget av innleide konsulenter og midlertidige rådgivere. Tja, så jeg skulle søke om en slikt stilling meg selv! Mitt alternative er egentlig å ta en liten ventejobb noen timer i uken for å få enn litt bedre ventejobb med flere arbeidstimer, til å få neste antageligvis ventejobb med litt dårlig lønn men fastansettelse og så videre til og med jeg pensjonere meg selv. Slikt føles det. Og jeg må virkelig kjempe om å få en dritta møkka jobb som de uten kvalifikasjoner skulle heller ta og ha som inntekt i stedet for NAVving etter de vandre ut av skolen for siste gang.

mandag 8. mai 2017

Happy Birthday Fred Nordman !

Today is liberation day in both France and Norway. 72 years ago many boys born on the day or the following week were given the first name Fred, which means Peace in Norwegian too.

Happy Birthday Freds ! You have lived through an amazing peace, uneasy with youur Russian neighbour, but reconcilled with your once conquerors and united in many ways with Europe and the democratic world, and a go to touch stone for peace negotiations indeed, as the long tradition of Nobels' snub to Sweden for his peace prize continues to influence international politics, with today Japanese news perhaps being the first to report that peace talks between the US and North Korea will take place in Norway.

Me, well Fred is just a nickname and a useful handle for ranting and discussing the hypothetical, a bit like Kirkegaard but not as profound nor as influential. I hope that you Freds in the dales and cities of Norway, along the fjords and half way up the mountain live many more years in peace and security.

torsdag 23. mars 2017

Utrente Gubber Oppmuntres til å Delta

Med litt grått hår og første tegningene av en god solar-panel for opplading meg selv når eg fyller 60 år, er det nå eller aldri for å komme i form.

Jeg var nokså topptrent som 21 åring, med et hvilende hjerterytme på 36-42, og på sykkel 8 timer minst fra April til Oktober, pluss langtur i de skotske fjellene i blant, pluss litt kampsport, svømming osv. Jeg er ikke noe idrettsmann i utgangspunkt, uten særlig talent og uten kanskje en "VO2 Maks" som er i nærheten av noen som virkelig var trent da.

Nå sliter jeg med norske forhold som middelalders idiot i spandex-bokser. Jeg liker dårlig å løpe. Jeg liker dårlig skiføre som er enten blaut eller isete. Jeg er ikke villig å ta min 'god' eller min trofast terrengsykkel ut på veiene som er saltet eller skogsveier som har tilfeldig isflekker i skyggene, når det er ingen skispor. Jeg prøvde løping is skaugene i fjor, men jeg fikk, som i alle forsøk før i tiden, skader og en dårlig rygg.

"Ærlige Unnskyldninger. Jeg er i for mye
 av et tidsklem for å være føresnobb" 

Ærlige unnskyldninger- jeg er i for mye av et tidsklem til å være en føresnobb. Løsning kan være å flytte på meg til Lillehammer og bo på hytte der oppe ved Sjusjøen. Og så reiser til det mystiske, varme landet som heter Syden, som ikke er i Britiske feriebrosjyre forresten, men som Nordmenn er kjempe glad i å besøke.

Jeg giddet ikke gidder en gidd for å bli med i en treningstudio i fjor, og holdt meg til sykkel tur om vår og sommeren og krysset fingrene når snøen kom i store mengder i seint November. Det ble lite av, og det var ikke ideelt, men gøyal var det i en uke. Silkeføre et par dager! Og her på Sørlandet! Då besøkte jeg Vegårshei og Kleivvann på besøk i Aust Agder og fikk stor skiglede! The Joy of Ski ! Ah! Å! Ø!

Men problemet er at jeg mister formen litt i de månedene mellom sykkel og ski, og sommer svømming som det blir mye av nå i ferskvann, er nesten utbrent når det gjelder gjenværende effekt så snart skistaver finner plass på potene mine. Jeg har ikke god nok form for å komme i form!!

Jeg ser for meg at jeg kan bare løse dette problemet ved å kjøpe rulleski. Eller bli med i en studio med fancy 'turbo' ski maskin som isolerer musklene i et litt kjedelig, fastbundet,intense, svette,  innendørs type tortur foran mange andre, bedre trent og noen skeptiske kjerringer som flirer på sarkastisk måte.

 "...det er mye bedre for kroppen min 
å ikke ha hviledag hver annen dag, 
men i stedet til å trene to - tre dager på rad"

Men det som var godt med sesongen var en liten oppdagelse om treningsform og planer - det er veldig usikkert i disse dagene om vi får snø med brukbar skiføre i mer enn en uke, og hvis jeg må ta oppdrag i "supply chain" konsulent-tjenester et annet sted uten tid for å gå på ski. Altså, når snøen kom i November og jeg var ledig (og fattig!) for oppdrag, var jeg ute og gikk på ski ofte, særlig når jeg så de blå tallene i langtidsvarslet på Yr.no, forsvinner til fordel for syv plussgrader. Pøh!

Men jeg fant ut at jeg nå er jeg blitt gubbete og at jeg ikke er så trent og heller ikke forventer " å pushe" meg selv, å gi bånn gass med det første. Det viser seg at det er mye bedre for kroppen min  å ikke ha hviledag hver annen dag, men å trene to-tre dager på rad. Innenfor de rammene har jeg fått mye større fordel enn å holde meg til å trene tre dager i uken men ta det med ro i og mellom hver trenings tokt/økt.

Hviling er mest viktig etter at man har påført en stor belastning på hjerte, lungene og musklene. Så er det viktig å la immunforsvaret å komme seg fordi det dempes ved de hardeste øktene. Ole Einar Bjørndalen er paranoiker over at han skal bli smittet og bor på egen bo-bil med luftfukterapparat slikt han ikke blir tørr i neseborene og halsen og utsatt for virus.  Kroppen reparerer seg selv, og hjerte pumper langt og høyt en god stund etter de tøffeste eller lengste turene. Men for en gubbe som meg, jeg ikke oppnår slike ved sesongstartet. Jeg vet jeg begynner sakte og jeg vet at det skal være litt vondt, og nå vil jeg unngå så mye av det. Kroppen min er klar for en ny belastning neste dag slikt det lære seg å bli trent igjen.

Det er ikke så rart. Vi egentlig huske ikke når vi folk fleste som har tullete litt med å komme i kjempe form når vi ikke en gang hadde nådde 24 år gammel, at det var vondt og vi fikk skader, og vi måte tøye, og at vi hadde noen større smerter som betydde vi måtte hvile en helg eller glipper en konkurranse. Vi bare glemmer alt om hvor hardt det var, og huske hvor bra det var å være så trent, og hvor raskt vi kunne , hvor langt, hvor lenge, osv osv.

 En eldre kropp (under 75 -80 år) trenger litt mer tid å komme seg i form, og vil aldri oppnå toppformen en 21 eller 33 åring vil avhengig på hvilken idrett de var med i. Folk flest blir letter skadd fordi de ikke har trent hardt i flere år og de trekker for hardt! Det tok meg tre år, tre sesonger å komme i så god form som jeg var på sykkelen, delvis fordi kroppen fortsatt å vokse men også fordi sykkelsport er tøff særlig når du er litt større. Det skulle kanskje ta meg like langt med 8 timers trening per uke for 'å runde merket ' i Birke'n nå. Har jeg tid til slikt tull?

Ok, så treningsøkter to eller tre dager på rad før litt hviling. Selvfølgelig er det variasjon i treningsøkter  Med skitur og på sykkelen er det alltid en del interval-trening, det kommer med fremgangsmåten i seg selv. Men det er å tenke gjennom litt når du skal først ut den første dagen i en to -tre dagers serie.  Å ta kroppen opp til høyt fart litt raskere og vare litt kortere tid, eller å varme opp godt og å tøye seg før enn lengre tur?

Etter min mening skal silkeføre benyttes til lengre tur i langsommere tempo, med mye fokus på teknikk frem for konsentrasjon om intensitet.

Men det er ofteste skiføre som har største betydning for meg i alle fall. Silkeføre og då er det fristende å gå hardt inn på det fordi føret tilgir mye smått i dårlig fraspark og staking. Men då er det nøyaktige tidspunktet å planlege to mil som skal slukes. ( 2 mil forresten, i litt 'pace' er langt for meg, mer om dette snarlig) Langtur med fokus på utholdenhet og teknikk, nyt det gode føret til å føle maks glid og effekt fra fraspark og dobbeltak med fraspark. Konsentrerer deg om pusting og å holde 'hjulane i gong' ved den høye virkningsgraden i spark-stak-glid ligningen at du finner fram til i de første halvtime.

"Jeg Streber å Bli Mosjonist. 
Jeg er Bevegonist!"

Vi har langs kysten ofte skiftende forhold i været og til følge, skiføret.  I år er jeg glad for å ha fått 'pelskledde' "skin" ski, fordi en dag er det blå, så neste dag blir det lilla, så over til rødt og så clister men vent litt, her kommer ny snøfall og ti kuldegrader. Skiene funker jo og ikke blir slit i løpet av en sesong i henhold til en god universal-klister jobb som for meg, på siste ganske trøtte, myke ski, varte kanskje 2 mil maks. Jeg har blogge ganske mye på engelsk om de, men de hjelper. Med så skiftene og ofte dårlige fører (hmm, hvis det er flertall i føre), isete i skyggene og blaut der solen smiler ned hele dagen, det skulle være en hel sesongs eksperiment å bruke mye tid på gode smøring- eller clister- jobb og sammenlikner skiene i en halvtime. Føre har ikke vært bra i snitt, men skiene får feste når det teller. Så lenge det er tekstur og krystaller i sporene så vil skiene finne feste, og en veldig god del glid uten at man ligger merk til pelsen som er i midten som en 'brasiliansk' jobb på yngre damer. Når det er blaut og renner litt vann, så suger de en del grunnet være venusberget på bunnen, og når det var kram snø, var det for mye spenn i dem.

Igjen vil jeg si at jeg ofte har ikke tid  til å trene 8 timer hver uke. Eller jeg gidder ikke nok for å slkive ut tiden med familie og koseblogging osv.....Jeg strebe faktisk å bli mosjonist. Jeg er bevegonist! Jeg beveger meg opp ut av sofaen i blant når føre er greit nok. Jeg finner på lite fysiske aktivitet , ikke nok i allefall, i de saltet, skittne måneder mellom sykkeltur og skitur.

Jeg tok min aller siste skitur i går. Deilig og litt slitsomt i påskeføre med et underlag av is. Motstanden noen steder var stor men det var fordelaktig for å få mer ut av treningsøkten. Korreksjon, hvis jeg får en unnskyldning for å reise til fjells så tar jeg det som siste skitur før neste vinteren kommer i september. Hvis jeg får meg ut i påske då gir jeg litt tips til dem Northug og Nordhaug ;-)

onsdag 22. mars 2017

Atomic Skintec 4000s - Are skin Skis the Way to Go for Training and Fitness Skiing?

Just to give my own personal skis and experience over a few hundred kilometers on them. To summarise, as before in an earlier blog, the ski's are pretty much as good as the conditions.

 You can't expect to really get the most of a ski with a hard arch tension and a mohair insert which will have some friction and waterlogging effects, on the type of conditions we get here need the coast.

'Last Couple of Day's Conditions. We often get thaw back to this and then new snow in spring. At least it was firm and the slush wasn't too deep today.

Today the conditions were actually not bad because the ice had been churned by the machines not that long ago, and the sun as you see was melting the structure a fair bit to a softer texture. In truth it looked like a far better day for skate skis.

The ski went well today, but it made me think about how much better a good clister job would have done on a slightly softer pair of skis. There is the dilema, you need then more than one pair of skis anyway! 

Today proved though that the skintec works on any condition where there is compacted snow which is still crystaline. Blue through purple to red hard waxes, and purple to silver and of course universal clister to the point when clister will work better on harder surfaces ( but suffer abrasion down to little again after 15 km) 

For list lovers then: Plusses and Minusses: 

+ Works on Wax Conditions with Old and New Laid Tracks
+ Works in the wetter easter snow
+ Really good kick and glide in 'silky' blue and purple with firm track bases.
+ Perhaps in lillac/ blue conditions, you can scale a steeper hill before fishboning comes in
+ Seem to avoid icing while keeping good grip in Zero conditions or mild air on cold tracks too
+ (ski not skin) The arch tension in the ski is good for glide and double pole with kicking
+ Works better than wax it seems in the mid lane out of the tramlines
+ Can skate on them usually because they do not 'snag' on the mid lane and they are high tension

- Doesn't work at all on very icey (where ice clister would be best) or very hard, transformed compacted tracks
- Doesn't work well at all on fine, cold new snow. 
- Gets waterlogged it seems, and looses some traction
- Can suck on downhills when waterlogged 
(ski not skin) The arch tension in the ski is a little hard for soft conditions

They Suck - But Not Often

That would be the biggest issue there above underlined- I noticed these spring days that the skin will suck right down on even a fast down hill when the ski finds a soft spot or the contour fills the arch, and it is like putting the brakes on a bike on. 

Then to release it you have to rock back to your heels and the ski flies off again, which is of course to be expected with a pretention in that arch matching 100-120kg skiers. On a faster section you can forgive this a bit, but not if you were racing or if you then needed to step out of the tram line, or one ski plough brake, because that might knock you off balance with a thump. 

This also shows itself in undulating terratory when it gets wet or porridgey in the tracks- the ski will not glide well, although you dont feel it like brake blocks coming on, it just is there. 

I would guess that the ski skin glider / protector sprays are the way to go. I tried and HFC shoe polish style rub a couple of times, and I think it helped with waterlogging, but also I think I lost a little traction when I needed it most in the shadowy sections where the tracks hadn't started melting.

Ski For Your Weight and Style

Here comes a little of the rub. Atomic have made a training ski which is used by some pros in their team, which has quite probably a very consistent arch tension (spenn) due to carbon being used in the construction. They are a mid to high range ski, depending on your tastes and local shop and prices. However they have made the 208 cm model a monster ski which a 125kg, 2 m high giant could use as skate skis. They have a tension which is just too much for soft conditions, and quite hard work in good conditions, while in the hard conditions it seems it works against itself too, but does allow for a really fast poling ski. 

So what were they thinking of? There are very few competitive skiers over 90kg let alone 100kg, so an advanced, stiff semi racing ski is not going to be ideal for the presumably less fit buyer and actually less trained yours tuly.  Well I did get a pair of these on the tension tester machine, and 208 was correct because the feeler gauge just got to the tip of the skin with some tiny friction the last inch or so. But the thing is that the skin is quite slipply in fact in glide phase because it seems never to pick up ice crystals, it brushes them backwards of course! Also this 4000 version is a built in skin, unlike its immediate predecessor which looks very similar as a ski, which has the magnetic removable insert, with two versions. So they maybe placed the skin too far forward. 

Another guy I met and paced with had the Fischer trainer-tourer skin ski with the thinner, twin skins and a traditional groove. He had poorer glide, yet about the same grip, and he didnt seem overweight. 

Skis vary as do conditions, so I would say have a think about your average conditions and if you have a good old wax pair for softer conditions, or if you want a skin ski for soft conditions and then a hard 'clister' ski for hard conditiions. The longer the insert, and the broader it is, the more it will create possible friction and waterlogging. Get the skis on the test meter and see where the feeler gauge meets fur ! Then do the floor test too for old times sake, both skis with a sheet of A4 paper under. 

I would say buying two pairs of skin skis is going to be a bit of a bad thing to do, a soft and a hard, because then you get into conditions where the skin doesnt work anyway  ie new snow, or ice, or waterlogged when the arch is not that hard in the ski. You are better thinking if you do most of your skiing on high mountain conditions to get a skin ski and then a soft ski for blue waxing through to the spring thaw melting and harder conditions for clistering them up. Some ski areas in the Rockies and Canada, tend to get a large early dump of snow and then the tracks get older and firmer for most of the season. So that would suit the idea above, a harder skinski and a soft, loose day and end of season waxed ski which is softer in arch tension.

I conclude this year, being the sixth not very great season in a row after two seven month -blue and lillac stonkers in 2010-2011, that it is the conditions and not my skis which are the issue!! However I can see that I need a softer pair of skin skis,  and I need to get hold of a pair of clister skis, again not quite as hard as the 4000s because I feel I need a quicker contact with clister - to be able to feel how hard I need to 'paw' or slide on the harder base conditions. 

With shorter seasons, the hard spenn skis are tough to work up to pace on, a bit like a high geared track bike needing more power and technique to be built up over time. 

So picking your ski is a bit of a Science for your own personal art - a soft ski is easy to get up and going, but will limit your speed and development of a powerful kick (perhaps!) Even for a new beginner a soft ski can be a mistake for mountain conditions, especially if they are investing a bit of money in the sport there and then. 

A hard ski - correctly measured for your weight that is, not too hard -  will allow you to grow in style and keep 'the wheel rolling' - for example double pole with or without kick will be much more effective and once good in technique, energy efficient on a hard spenn ski. 

A medium spenn ski is going to be a good allrounder for your style as a fitness skier I would say, because you are most likely concentrating on diagonal style. Also it will help you build up strength for the season, rather than for the ski,  like with mine! When we perhaps see a skin ski in shop like this, we look for approximately right length for your height and then check the arch tension for your weight. I would say take it down 10kg and see how the feeler works, then up 10 kg too. Here you get an idea for the different loadings caused by hard or softer bases, and can see how the ski might suck too much if it is too soft. I say you can allow for some feeler 'rub' on the skins at the front on your own weight, and not be looking to have the skin off the snow completely ie feeler guage all the way forward and into plastic before it finds friction. Mine are about an inch and a half of friction on the scale, perhaps then two to two and a half would be better, but then that would suck more on wet conditions.

lørdag 18. mars 2017

Birkebenrennet - Do-Able for Me ?

Birken run went today in glorious weather with a massive margin on the win for Martin Sundby, surviging even a Skidoo attack on the closing miles! Unfortunetly that was all which I have seen televised today as I was hoping for the type of coverage from the national channel akin to the BBC, which is NRK here.

Seemingly NRK had called the ski run's organisers bluff and not paid for TV rights at all, perhaps I am cynical. Anyway this was the very year I would want to see the course on TV and hear the race reports from different competitors, or participants as many are, on conditions, ski waxing etc.  I have half a mind to train up for it!

The run is 54km which at current appaling fitness level would take me 5 hours odd, at a measly 10km/h,. and that is without thiniking about the weighted rucksack you must carry all the way. The furthest I recall logging in a session has been 22km, on a partiuclarily crisp day when I was a little under clothed and got cramps in my legs. I could have managed 30 km. Also my skis seem a little slow, I was on my fast touring skis, not my atomic training slim n' straight ones. It was only a couple of km longer than my very first day on skis at Geilo, when the instrtuctor said I was a little fool hardy doing the 'round the fjord' 14km after our session first had been up about 6km. I couldnt walk the next day for any distance and the thought of snowboarding which I had planned for the next two days,  sent me back to bed with a hot drink.

Ski choice though is important for getting the most efficeincy out of your efforts of course, as is waxing or having the right conditions if you have 'furry soled' waxless like my Atomic Skintec 4000s. I noted Sundby was going like a train with relatively broad skis, presumably because of the extra weight he had to carry, and perhaps some soft conditions. Oh, breadth, length and arch tension..... how many pairs of skis to think about!!

Ideally then you may want to have a soft pair , possiobly a bit broader for new snow or slushy conditions to encourage float and make kicking adhesion work better. These would then not be skin skis, because these are conditions they do not work in, not all that well. In new snow they grip badly at lower temperatures , typical blue conditions, while in sliush they get waterlogged. They have an advamntage in zero conditions though, which you may experience underway.  Then  you could have your hard pair as skin skis, which would cover any older snow condtions right up to very firm, but not glazed conditions.

An akternative to both wax or skin skis, would be using Start grip tape, with a good application using a hair dryer or wax iron to a very clean, rubbed base. This stuff realluy does what it says on the box, and covers much the same range as skin skis,  but tackling loose and wet snow much better. It is very resistant to wear in normal conditions, and tends to neither pick up too many hard crystals nor hold onto them that long. They have a race version I have not tried, but this would be a good alternative if  you get to try them out on your skis first in a range of conditions, and get the length of application right, which in my experience is longer than clister zone, but shorter at the front and at the sole than a blue wax job. I had one applicatiion last a couple of months in mid winter, doing maybe 200 km in total, before though just two days 15km total took them down to almost bare.

Skinsks have the appeal for runs like Birke'n in that they dont need to be rewaxed as long as there are crystaline conditions and clean tracks without new snow, hard ice or slush. The issue with climbing is that you need a soft wax like purple to get under way and do the major diagonals on the way up (VR 50 VR 55 swix recommended today, on a clister binder with melted in green base known as a pro level endurance job) while the temperature usually drops and snow copnditions become mountain over the top and towards Sjusjoen. Soince there seems to be a good degree of double-poling (staking) once the first ascent is out the way, you could do a 'pocket only' job with lillac wax and hope it is grippy enough yet wears off enough so as not to clog with the colder, harder crystals over the top sections of the course.

Skin skis then today, would have been ideal with a range expected at my start time of almost zero at the start and down to minus 3 to minus six on the highest points. There would be little risk given the tracks were of course run through the night after any last snowfall was expected and done with decent weight onto a good base prepared in forehand. However the wrong arch tension could have made a messy day for you. Skinskis also by in large have a clister zone insert, which ends half way down the sole of the foot. So you could add about three to four inches of wax, or dare I say clister or even grip tape if conditions were to be loose or particularily hard on some portions of the Briken or any other run.

My 4000s are a bit too hard arch tension (spenn) for my current style as soon as the snow base becomes a little soft or gets icey. However it looked like they would have done fine today, and I would have been able to pole effectively much of the slack way down from the highest point witthout hindrance. However I think I could compromise with a little less in order to train up in longer, lighter tours and build my technique a little more, especially in the 'keep the wheel rolling' double pole with kick, which for me suits a softer ski I think. A softer skin ski may be a mistake though, because the skin might drag too much. However what really tires you physically and mentally is back slipping or not getting your effect of double pole kick over the semi fast sections. Staking over flat and softer snow down hill is very tiring, although fast for lighter skiers, it is not as efficient for a big skier like me as double with kick I beleive at least.

So I would be opting for about a 10% less stiff skin ski for the distance as in todays blue/violet, or over to older,cold hard snow and up to zero conditions. For pluss conditions I would opt for a softer pair of clistered skis with a green spray and ironed in wax, and rilling and glider done by a pro at the specialist shop here. For a new snow forecast , or possibility for a lot of wind blown snow, then I would opt for the same softer skis and do a day wax ontop of a good base and blue mid layer. VR seems to work a lot better in terms of durabilituy than no flourinated Blue and Lillac, but beware the temperature ranges are little different than standard wax.

Back to training up. Because we often have soft, new and melting snow here near the coast, I could not see myself doing forty km training sessions on my 4000s 2.08m long planks. I do see skins work well because one day it is blue, the next red, so purple so clister and I would save hours on end stripping and reapplying waxes. My 4000s would then be used for shorter, intense sessions where I practice sustained glide and timing the repowere after each glide phase on each leg optimally. You just cannot be lazy with them, they need a hard press down each time to release that carbon fibre insert.

Training up means about 8  hours a week until two weeks before apparently, when you do one last full lenght run or even 60km and then you scale back to intensity, before a light session three days out, and just stretching and suppleness two days up to it. To come in at 12km an hour, in just under five, then I would need to do that 8 hours a week for about three months, which would require either a good old fashioned winter, or access to a cabin above 500 m. lacking that, a gymn with specialist ski machines would help, or even roller skis of course. We are lucky to have 15 km of fairly gentle cycle lane alongside the route of the main road, with very little fish bone  and only a couple of iffy downhills for yours truly. It really is an option with short sessions with the ratchet on, and longer round tours with skate style for endurance.

Given though very silky conditions on the day with snow just a couple of days old, and a stable temperature profile, ort one which favours skin skis, then I can see i could complete it with a lot less training, and having actually not done the whole distance before. But that would not really give me the satisfaction of peaking out from a good season.

Logistically it is annoying and expensive, but some clubs get packages together win bus and hotel combis to get you there and back., and there are some showers lorried in i believe. A bath tub is what is needed, and a sauna after, so an overnight stop in telemark somewhere on the way home, with poissibility for a morning swim in a heated indoor pool would be the ideal. All in all this is looking at not much change from a bout a thousand pounds, for entry, bus,. hotel and food. For me that would make it once in a life time.

If next season proves to be a good one, with an artic oscillation and the scandinavian high dominating from early winter, then I am determined to trian up for a 42km run, either the Telemarkhelten or one of our own concotion with my offshore mates if that does not match, or it is blown off or too cold. I am then not fussed if it becomes 42km on mountain touring skis, or in nicely laid tracks, as long as it isnt four times round a 10km course.

So I need three things, A softer pair of skis, skin or not, a good winter and a goal of 42 km before I decide to invest time and money in a future birken,. Next year it reaches 80 years old, but for me what ever year I do it will be the right year for me!