All over the southern half of Norway from Trondheim south over, we have had that nasty mild atlantic weather which plagues the UK and France usually more often than we in Terra Norvegus. Usually we can tolerate a mild intrusion along the coast and Oslo area, and the lucky few can retreat to their cabins over 700 meters up in the hills and plateaus. But this year the temperature profile in the atmosphere has been that of a more southern clime, with an army of warm - and occluded fronts running in over the bits of Norge people actually live in! The high level mild air means that there has been rain in all the hills under 900 m.
Once again though I discovered we actually had some "zombie snow" after a week of fluctuating temperatures. And this just above sea level. Couple to the ski club's snow milling machine attachment, it meant that I discovered very nice conditions much to my surprise yesterday morning. I had been sick for almost three weeks, with two forays the previous week on icey tracks not really helping at all.
We had then "fully transformed" or "mechanical" snow, or rather a kind of crystaline slush puppy in our local ski run. Ideal for one type of ski, the waxless! Not only did my ancient, church jumble sale waxless "Winner- Trak" skis give me rather excellent traction, they also allowed me to practice skating and even padling up hill!
From what was an unpromising 'suck it and see' , fully prepared to turn heel and go home quite unskied for the whole week, the mornings session became a really great series of intervals and technique trials.
This year the conditions were first soft and poor glide in the minus lots (-20 at night some places, centigrade) where I learned that my Madshus Ultrasonic skate skis deserve more than Swix's answer to Mr Sheen on them. There was a big thaw back after that hurricane which did an atlantic tour, and then of course freezing again, So the tracks became an all to familiar concrete consistency which eat Klister for breakfast, even my newly purchased blue ice Swix. Insult to injury access to the local higher area about 50 minutes away, was impossible for my car in the last 500 m before the car park. A one in five hill with skating rink ice and only some tractor chain marks to kind of look for grip. We slid backwards, persuaded a piroette out of the car and went to the lower run with its harder spor half an hour nearer home...tails between legs.
This year though I have been most inspired to take what I can out of life, and aim both higher sometimes and pragmatically. I am very likely to need to move or weekly-commute to get a decent job, or eat some humble pie on wages and job type locally. With skiing though, the important stuff, there is plenty snow in dem dar hills. So my 'fjellski' will be for the first time, taken out the attic and a pair of second hand boots with old style rattrap tre hole, egg flipping binding fitting acquired.
Mountain skiing and telemarking is why I took up XC. I was in the Scottish hills often in winter, and took to some 700 m hills between Luss and Faslane where many SAS and Marines train personally off duty. It's easy to access and often covered in snow above 500m. One year there was a good meter in the drifts on the ridges and I was trudging through all this when I came upon some skitrack of course. How jealous I felt that not only did the owner get a much more comfortable walk, but also he or she seemed to have had some decent glide on the flat and some down hill of course, with what could have been telemark turns left in the snow, there were also some ploughing marks.
That is what lead me to sports skiing style, although I am not very sporty and never will compete. Now I feel it has come full circle and am ready to give up the prepared tracks at weekends and holidays to go on fellskis instead. It maybe wont be this season though, but I can live with that. I have a big family funeral to travel to next week, so that will suck up all my winter holiday budget this year.
I feel quite recharged from my ski tour on friday, all 10 km of it. Also I felt that steel edges would make me feel much more confident with downhilling in future.
Life bodes well, It has many challenges. It has long term frustrations for me. I look forward to the new challenges in learning fellskiing. Yes there will be frustrations, but I will avoid the pitfalls - get proper instruction. Build up progressively in difficulty and distance. Most of all go in the right conditions or make adjustments to routes if snow is deeper or harder than expected. 2016 maybe RIP, even the 700m hills are icey now. 2017 ? Bring it on!