Another trip filled with cross country skiing and other snowy adventures!
Normally this trip would take place 2 weeks earlier, but it was rescheduled because of the bad weather and therefore bad snow conditions. It was already pretty warm for the beginning of March and there was also a lot of rain fall. That all made that the snow melted. The friday before we left the decision was that we had to go now on our trip, otherwise it would get worse and worse. The snow conditions were still not good and it was still too warm for good cross country skiing, but we were going to make the best out of it.
We all left together at the university with a bus and drove to Hovden, a three hour drive north. We stayed in a cabin in Bjaen, a little more north then Hovden. It was the first time after the other ski trip that I was back on my skis. We did a short trip around in the surroundings, with a new group and as instructor again Tim.
We also did a really fun quiz in the bus, made by one of my classmates, where we got to know some fun facts about our class as a group:
- The average age in our class is 23,2 years old
- We had on this trip 4,1 kg chocolate with us (survival food on his best)
- 18 people of our class brought their knitting stuff
- Nobody brought jeans (because that’s not outdoorsy)
This day we headed out for a long daytrip, where we were going to do around 15 km on our skis. That’s a lot! This time we switched instructors, so it was the first time that I was in a group with Len as instructor during cross country skiing. He was really different as instructor, what was also nice to experience. Tim would really take a role as leader and focused on the skiing. Len focused more on the whole experience, so also everything aournd skiing and let us do more by ourselves. I was still not the best in skiing, but already better then first and I found it also more fun. You also noticed it in the group. People focused less on themselves and just surviving and more on the others and the social aspect. We also focused that day on map and compass and we even talked about avalanches and made in half an hour a surviving snowhole for one person. I didn’t think that you could make something so fast in the snow, but after 30 minutes it was there. It was not comfortable, but good enough to survive a bad storm. We also tried to find a person under the snow with our avalanche probes. Don’t worry we just digged a hole in the snow, where a person could lay in and the others could just stand above. There I realised that it is really a challenge to find people in the snow and that you also had to be lucky. The first time I pocked was a couple centimers of the person laying there. I could have just missed him as this was a real situation. That’s crazy to think about! We also saw this day some wild reindeers!!
This day we did something that I really looked forward to when I signed up for this semester. We were going to make a snowhole and stay in there for the night! We left the cabin with our big rucksacks to a spot close by where it was possible to build the snowholes. Skiing with big rucksacks is something else! If you would fall it was so hard to get up again and everything in general was so much harder. When we arrived at the sport we splitted up in groups of six. Otherwise it would be to hard to build the snowholes. The first thing we had to do was find a good spot, so that meant a spot with enough snow. Then we started digging. One part of the group made an entrance and the other part of the group just started digging straight down where our sleeping area was going to be. When the sleeping area hole was deep enough they also started digging to the entrance so that these two things got connected with each other. After that we had to make the roof. There were two possibilities for this. One was like an iglo, where you just saw blocks out of the snow and put them on top of each other. The other way was that 6 people were standing in the deep hole with a tarp over them and that all the others threw gently snow on them. All the snow would settle, because of the throwing, the compressing and the heat the bodies in the middle would give off. I did with 5 other girls the second option! It was a really cool experience. You felt the weight of the snow on you, but not that it was heavy. We also felt it settle after some time, so we could get out through the entrance tunnel one by one. After that was done the biggest work came, making the sleeping area big enough for six people. That was a lot of digging, sawing, throwing the snow out… . We worked a whole day on our snowhole, but then it was finally ready! It was just big enough for all of us, so quit cozy but it would work! For the night we also had to do some stuff for safety, like marking our entrance clearly, have shovels ready inside and outside the snowhole and texts our instructors before we went to sleep and when we woke up. It was a cozy night, with not a lot of space in a selfmade snowhole.
We all packed our stuff again and left the snowholes. We went down to an area with a mountain. We climbed this mountain by going zigzag all the way up (luckily without our rucksacks). Almost at the top our instructor told us where at the mountain could be avalanche risk and just at that moment we heard the snow under our skis settle. We all faded a little. Our instructor told us fast that we didn’t have any avalanche risk, where we were standing (what we obviously already kwew but still). The mountain was not steep enough. After that we went up a little more and enjoyed the view that we got on top (and the wind). After that we went down and back to our cabin to dry our stuff that was wet and to make us ready for another night outside. This night we went even closer to the cabin, at a place where was snow but also trees and other vegetation growing. We made in groups of three emergency shelters with our tarp, the snow and everything else we could use.
The week went by so fast! In the morning we went back to our cabin, cleaned everythign up and then already went back home with the bus.
We were also so lucky with the weather the whole week. We had a lot of sun and almost no rain/snow. The bad thing about that was that it was way to warm (above zero degrees almost all the time). That made that the snow conditions were really bad, so we had to use different wax then normally. We had to use ‘klister’. This wax is really sticky. The good thing about is that you can get up hills, but the bad thing about it is that you slow down when you are going down and that snow sticks on your skis. Not fun, but bettet then no wax.