Basic ski week took place in and around Evje, with the group staying at the Troll Aktiv centre. This week was one of the aspects of the course that I was most looking forward to as I had never skied before.
On arrival at the outdoor centre we quickly put wax on the skis so as to be able to get out into the snow. We then spent the remainder of the day practicing basic ski techniques such as turning and moving on the flat and up and down slopes. During the day we learnt how to do turns such as kick turns and step turns as different ways of changing direction. Along with this we learnt how to move up slopes using the herring bone technique. As this was only a half day we did not move far from our start point, however, towards the end of the day I was beginning to develop a sense for how to move on the skis, however, I was having difficulties moving up hill, and after the wax lecture at the night I think this was down to the fact that I had not applied the wax properly to my skis, therefore meaning I was finding it hard to grip the snow when moving up hill and sliding backwards. Each night of the trip there was a lecture on a different aspect of skiing and cold weather trips, during the first night the lecture was on waxing your skis.
This lecture was very interesting as it highlighted how big an aspect of cross country skiing correctly waxing your skis is, and this was further evidenced over the course of the week as I came to understand how many layers were needed for the course of a day and also how the terrain effected your waxing, for example, waxing more of the ski if more uphill will to undertaken.
The second and third days of this week were spent on the purpose built tracks in and around Evje, these days were spent practicing the basic skills and also learning more skills we would need such as the Tellamark position and step turns. These days were very useful as I was able to become more confident on the skis meaning I was becoming quicker and falling less. Also, during these days it became evident how much more difficult it is to move as a group, in contrast to a walking group, especially when the majority of the members of the group were very in experienced at cross country skiing.
On both Tuesday and Wednesday evening there was another lecture. Tuesdays lecture was on first aid in the field, as I’ve worked with children and groups quite a bit it was very interesting to see another view point on first aid, this was due to the fact that we were all supposed to carry a personal first aid kit, this was different to me as I usually carry a group first aid kit which is much larger than the ones we were discussing, however everyone carrying a small first aid it for themselves was very good as it made sure that each person ad what they needed for themselves and were able to tailor there’s to suit their needs, this meant that I personally just had to strip my large first aid kit down to a smaller size and take out duplicates of what I had. However this method only seems to me to be useful if people know how to first aid and are competent and confident to do it, therefore, I do not think it would work with real novices and children. Also we went over actual first aid however for most of the group this was just a recap.
Wednesday evening lecture was on picking and packing a day sack and also on clothing. This was interesting to see what Len and Tim take with them, however it was more of a recap for me and some members of the group however it was interesting to see how some members of the group seemed to not be as experienced and this seemed like a very beneficial lecture as it meant everyone in the group was properly equipped.
Thursday was taken up by a ski tour to the top of a hill. This was a very fun day and I found it easier to ski in the thicker snow and seem to have more grip. Also on this day we were practising winter navigation and looking at animal tracks. During the day however there seemed to be a lack of group cohesion, this was evident by the lack of team work shown, this was particularly evident when one member of the group fell into a river and the group just watched as he struggled to get out, and did not rush to help with changing of socks and getting warm clothes. On this evening the whole group spent the evening in a hut around the fire sharing cultural games and activities, these involved songs and dances and then also game such as splat and Swiss cow race. This was very fun and as this was the first main trip with the whole group it seemed to build greater social cohesion between all the group members as people seemed to start to talk more.
On the last day as we had to get the bus back to Kristiansand this was just another half day and this was again spent on the tracks jut recapping and practicing the skills we had learnt during the week.
I feel like I learnt a lot during this week and started to develop my skiing skills however I believe ill need much more practice as this was the first time I had ever skied. I also think the teaching methods used worked well, however I feel like a review session each evening alongside the lectures would have been very useful to allow us to highlight anything we feel we need to work on more and also to help to consolidate what we had done in the day, the experience comes alive in a debrief (Schoel, Prouty and Radcliffe, 1988).