Basic Ski Week with TrollAktiv-Evje
Aim-Introduction to Cross-Country Skiing and basic and essential techniques.
The basic ski week at TrollAktiv in Evje consisted of 5 days basic cross-country skiing introduction and technique. The week was informative and enjoyable and was probably one of my favourite weeks during the Outdoor Education course.
During the week were split into two groups of varied experience, a mixture of novices and varied experience skiers. I had only done Alpine/Downhill skiing so I had this assumption that I was going to find it easier, however I was wrong in this case. It gave me the realisation that too not go in thinking you can ace it straight and feel of arrogance.
Day 1 was a get ready and go type of day. We arrived at Evje, shown to our accommodation and then were straight onto the skiing. Before we left for the skiing we had to wax the skis which is a bore some process and requires patience, which in my case was wearing thin after 5 mins. The process of waxing skis is that first you need to rid of the storage wax that is already on the skis. This prevent the skis from deterring whilst in storage. After this is completed you then must have the correct ski wax. Temperature outside was around -7˚C to -10˚C. The appropriate wax was SWIX Extra Blue wax. Following on you wax the ski from a foot length in front of the binding and the same for the rear. You then need to evenly distribute the wax and then using a cork brush work the wax into the ski. You may need to put several layers on depending on consistence of the snow and temperature. Waxing iron were also used and cut half the time.
After waxing the skis, we headed NE from TrollAktiv to a park and ski area. From there we were split into two groups and set about the start of our introduction to skiing. I was with Tim Davies who was owner of TrollAktiv. We began the session practicing movement while on skis which led in to turn. The main turns we learnt and used were star turns and kick turns. At first the turns weren’t easy as they required shifting your weight and balance but after several minutes of practice the turns became more fluid. Continuing o from turn we ventured to a purpose built and layered ski track where we practiced downhill technique. Downhill is much harder on touring skis due to just the front of the foot being bound whereas with downhill skis there is a full binding. The rest of the day consisted of working on these techniques and trying turning whilst going downhill using a Telemark turn and a step turn. Both of which were not easy to do with many falls involved. I was determined from the first day that was going to push myself throughout the week. You can look at Cross Country Ski Technique (2017) which highlights the need techniques and how it can be applied to novices which I found useful in my ski development.
We returned to the ski site that we used in Day 1, thus this time we spent the entire day out on the tracks. The aim of the day was to continue of skills from the previous day and embark on a short tour round the local area designed to improve our ski ability and endurance. The tour was fun but frustrating at times as there was many falls along the way which tested my resilience. We each took part leading the tour and were given a technique that learnt the first day to put into practice for the group. We spent majority of the time on tracks or off-piste which was hard at time due to the deep snow from the nights previous snowfall. We stopped for lunch at what was supposed to be tipi however it wasn’t available which then resulted in the use of group shelter, which is an important part of kit when taking a group out. It can be used as a shelter, improvised stretcher, ground sheet and vital in an emergency. We made our way back to start point we crossed a lake, however it wasn’t evident until it was pointed out by Tim. The 2nd day was a good step in the right direction of becoming more confident and adequate skier.
We ventured to an area just past Evje town, where there were frequently used ski tracks through mostly woodland environment. This time we were split into level competence with all the Brits and Aussies in the same group and the European in the other. We realised that we weren’t going to be the next Olympic ski team and the Europeans had all been brought up or experienced skiing from an early age. The day was once again a tour round the local area which was interesting as we came upon a live firing range which was being used by the Norwegian Army. There wasn’t really any focus for the day and we took it in turns to lead sections of the tour, which resulted in us performing a loop circuit. When we finished the tour, had a play session on the local ski jump ramps and play park which is a BMX play park in the summer. The ski jump was particularly fun as it consisted mainly of falling over whilst in mid-air and faceplanting. Day 3 was the most enjoyable yet and a fantastic opportunity to put our leading and ski techniques into practice in a more independent setting.
Remaining in the groups from day 3 we went to a new location NE again of TrollAktiv. Both groups were together for most of the tour which was mainly up-hill which tested some people psychical ability who had only been introduced to skiing a few days earlier. The aim of the day was to focus on navigation in snow and whiteout conditions, picking recognisable landmarks and planning a route for accessible terrain. My group were good at the navigation however our ski ability was tested at times due to the incline. Our goal was to reach the top of a local weather station. The route up was tracked however was steep and icy at points with high winds reaching 22m per second winds. Once we had reached the it was sense of achievement, however the stay wasn’t very long due to the weather conditions. This showed that you must respect and take the weather into great consideration as it could be the difference between a good and unpleasant experience. On the way, down from the weather station there were several accidents due to the icy conditions, which left me with several cuts on my right flank. This was however my fault due to being cocky and reckless by trying to race down. Once at the bottom, I was given charge of the route. I am quite confident in navigation so I saw this as an opportunity to hone in on my abilities. Whilst on the last stage of my lead we came to a small lake that to the eye was frozen however this wasn’t evident. I feel through to the ice-cold water and that when all actions go took place. Luckily, I was pulled from the water quickly and a change of sock and drybags on my feet I was all good. If I was immersed for a prolonged period of time, Hypothermia could of set in where the core body temperature drops which in turn will led to organ failure (WebMD 2017). As we headed back to the vehicles the descent was fun due to mostly small downhill tracks. Once at the bottom we proceeded down a paved track and into a famers field where we practised the Telemark turn, step turn and continuous Telemark turns. These turns were still a challenge for me and after about 40 minutes I returned to the vehicle due to my feet. Day 4 was a productive day with a lot of development taking place. Later that evening we gathered in a yurt we reflected upon the day, chatted and played games.
On the last day of ski week, we returned to the location we used for the first day to practice the skills we learnt over the week. I focused on my turning downhill and how to get propel myself forward using the least amount of energy. The day consisted of a small tour round the local area which was good to get some last navigation, route choice and moving over steep terrain. The last day was then topped off with a play on some downhill tracks which I took full advantage of to practice my downhill technique in touring skis. There were many falls but was worth it. Day 5 rounded off a very enjoyable week which I believe gave me a new set of skills and sport to focus on over the remainder of the semester and a sport that I know will try to progress every winter. It also provided me with a skill set that can further create opportunities in my outdoor career.
Crosscountryskitechnique.com. (2017). Cross Country Ski Technique | Excellent Technique for Everyone. [online] Available at: http://crosscountryskitechnique.com/ [Accessed 9 Jun. 2017].
WebMD (2017). Hypothermia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. [online] WebMD. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-hypothermia#1 [Accessed 9 Jun. 2017].