Ådneram – Week 14

In week 14, we did our first self-organised winter trip. Together with Anna and Antonia, I decided to go to Ådneram. We planned to stay for four nights in different DNT cabins with an average of around 10 km of skiing each day. 

Our preparation consisted of a detailed Plan ABC, a packing list, and a meal plan. We split our preparation tasks and made sure that every one of us had a DNT membership. Moreover, we checked that the DNT cabins are open and that we don’t need special keys for them. We marked our route on a map that we printed beforehand. 

On Saturday the 2nd of April, we left Kristiansand in the morning. We quickly started skiing after arriving in Ådneram, where we left the car at the DNT cabin. Pretty soon, we discovered that the snow conditions were not the best. It was super icy, and no amount of wax seemed to work. On top of that, we couldn’t find the sticks from DNT that mark the way. Luckily a lot of locals were around, so we followed them. A couple then told us that the road, which is usually covered with snow, has been cleared in order to allow cars to access the broken dam. It meant that our flat and straight route of about 8 km was gone for us. After taking our skis off and walking on the road for a while, we crossed a river to get to prepared tracks parallel to the road we wanted to go on. There we met a lot of other Norwegians who also struggled with the conditions. A woman told us that she had never taken her skis off that much before to get up the hills. And there were a lot of hills, which we kept sliding backwards on again and again. We just kept trying our best and kept moving, even at a very slow pace. Now and then, we met a group of scouts who we told that we wanted to go to the Taumevatn cabin. One of the leaders decided to approach us to ask us about our plan. He also asked us if we were prepared to travel in the dark since it was still a very long way to go. Furthermore, he wasn’t sure if he could find the way to the cabin or if there were any DNT sticks around. He then kindly offered that we could stay at their camp for the night if we didn’t make it all the way. Then the scout’s group moved on, and we sat down to assess our situation. A few things were clear to us: We didn’t want to spend the night outside! We wanted to have fun and be safe! 

So, we turned around, but not after finding and thanking the scout’s group for their help and kind offer. On the mountain, we called DNT to book a room in the cabin in Ådneram, where we left Anna´s car. We had to hurry back to pick up the particular key for the cabin at the local store before 6 pm, which we managed to do. Falling onto the beds in the cabin, we were pleased with our decision even though I was a bit disappointed. 

We spent the next days going on day trips that lasted around 7km. Sometimes on the prepared tracks, sometimes over frozen lakes and into the deep snow. The snow conditions didn’t improve much, but our ability to ski on icy snow got better and better and so did the weather. I started to try out skating and I´m now looking forward to renting proper cross-country skis to try it out more. We also taught Antonia some things that we learned on our previous trips such as the right layering of clothing, how to behave when crossing a lake and how many Kvikk lunsj to take on each day trip. We had a really great time and enjoyed our comfortable afternoons and nights in the cabin. We played games, baked banana bread and read a lot. 

All in all, it was a lovely ski trip, and I had a lot of fun. Our original plan didn’t work out for different reasons, but I am proud of my group for adapting to the situation and finding another way. I learned that it is ok to fail and change plans to fit everyone´s abilities and wishes. I am also happy to leave the snow behind, and I´m looking forward to our spring trips. 


Kvikk Lunsj? ✓
Compass? ✓
Ski wax? ✓
Motivation? ✓

Writing a packing list before a trip is a safe way to ensure that you don’t forget to pack anything important. The next step is to pack your backpack efficiently, or in my case, learn how to do it whilst on the go. My first experimental learning experience occurred when we needed the ski wax on our first day, and I packed it in the bottom of my backpack. After unpacking my whole bag to wax my skis, I always packed my ski wax and other essentials in a reachable place near the top of my bag. In contrast, items for later in the day, such as my sleeping bag, went to the bottom. Waxing my skis was information assimilation. We briefly talked about the different types of wax and where to apply them in the classroom. We then applied this knowledge literally to the skis. But I would also say that it was an experimental learning experience for me since waxing requires constant experimenting due to different snow conditions, and I would say that you also need a bit of luck.

Hovden-Week 6

Our first ski trip!! And my first time on cross-country skis! You can say that I was pretty shocked when our teachers told us to just put them on and ski down the big hill on our first day. In Germany, we would have gone through one to two hours of theoretical training/ talking before we would have a go at downhill skiing. Still, it must be said that I appreciated this learning-by-doing approach. Going downhill on skis that are only attached to your shoes at the front is an experience I won´t forget, and it helped me for the following days. I learned how to fall and that it is completely fine to do so. I had a really great first day, even if I left the ski tracks with a few bruises.
The next day we did our first tour to a stadium, where we ended our day with a relay race and some theoretical training. We stayed on the prepared tracks, which helped us improve our technique. Moreover, we learned how to walk uphill. The group was entirely shattered throughout the area. People had to wait for each other quite often, which isn’t good in cold weather.

This was improved the next day when we went on a backcountry tour through the deep snow. It´s essential to go on a slow but continuous pace so the group can stick together and profit from the already made ski tracks from the person in front. Due to bad weather and a lot of wind, we dug a trench into the snow for our lunch break to get some proper rest. This was yet another experimental learning experience for us.
We finished our trip with some games and a little theoretical session about how to prepare a camp side and different snow layers. This input was information assimilation, and we got to prove it useful on our next trip to Evje with the Norwegian Out-door Education class.

Evje- Week 8

A two-night trip into the snow and another trip full of experimental learning. We learned how to set up tents/ lavvos in the snow with tree branches as pegs, how it is to ski with a big backpack and how to stay warm for more than 24 hours in the cold. For instance, you should never get into your sleeping bag when you are cold; instead, do some exercises to get warm beforehand.
Some learning assimilation also took place. We used our knowledge about setting up a camp (stomping down the snow and letting it settle) from our Hovden trip.
Personally, I struggled to eat and drink enough on this trip due to the coldness, and I almost took all my food back home with me. Luckily, it was only three days, and I learned a lot for the next trip regarding which foods I needed to bring to eat more.

Hovden-Week 10

Snow caves!! Finally, the trip which most of us had been looking forward to. Three nights in the high mountains of Norway, from which I spent two nights in a snow cave and one night in a tent at around -10 degrees. This was when we got to use all of our previously acquired knowledge and when a lot of learning assimilation took place.
The week before the trip was spent with lectures about winter navigation, safety and shelters. We learned about how to build a snow cave, detect hypothermia and frostbites, and navigate when you can´t see more than 20 meters.
Once we arrived in Hovden, we skied to our campsite, which had been selected and tested by our teachers to safely build a snow cave there. After setting up our tents for possible shelter, we began to dig our snow cave in smaller groups. We over-came exhaustion, loss of motivation, coldness and inefficient digging situations. We had an excellent and relatively warm night in our snow cave which we were proud of.
The next day was spent collecting water from a river and a small ski tour to Magnhildshellene. We took turns in navigating our group. In the evening, the second half of our group arrived after suffering from an illness the days before, which meant that we had to dig more snow caves or make our 3-person caves into 4-person caves. So, more digging. Eventually, we pulled through after helping each other out and had another excellent night in the cave.
The third day was moving day. We packed down the whole camp, which could take quite a while and moved to a new spot. It was quite windy that day, but the sun was out, and we had a beautiful view. After navigation to our new campsite, some of us started to dig a new cave whereas I decided to sleep in a tent this night. We went to collect some firewood and dug a firepit but sadly couldn’t keep the fire going for too long. Eventually, we stopped after inhaling a lot of smoke and decided to eat dinner. The only problem was we were low on gas, and we hadn´t found running water. So, we found ourselves in a tricky situation since we didn’t have water and couldn’t melt snow due to the lack of gas. Luckily, someone found running water at half twelve in the night, and we got to have dinner/ a warm drink before bed. This was one of the most prominent experimental learning situations, and we will now always bring more gas.
We had to move the furthest on the last day, so we decided to move in military-style, which means 50 minutes of skiing, 10 minutes of resting, etc. We stuck together in groups and drove at a slow but steady pace. At lunchtime, our teachers threw us into a big experimental learning situation. We took a lunch break for nearly two hours because our teachers wanted to see what we would do when getting cold. Lucky for us, the sun was out, so most of us could easily lay around in the sun for the time being. If we had encountered bad weather, I would have put the tent up after digging an L-shape in the snow to get proper rest and to be able to sit/ stand inside.
After lunch, we got to do a lot of downhill skiing to get back to the prepared tracks and then to Hovden.

All of the trips were amazing and an experience I will never forget. I liked that we did a lot of learning-by-doing and that the trips and the acquired knowledge built on each other and gradually got “more extreme”.
I guess Thomas is correct; we are really fortunate. Others pay for this; we get to study it.