Assignment 1

Basic Ski Course
Syrtveit – 08/02-12/02

Born with skis on but never done any cross-country skiing before it was an interesting experience what only size, width and whether your heel is attached or not can do. It was a completely different feeling.

Throughout the five days we had little technique sessions which helped me to get a better stability and a greater understanding about how the ski reacts to different circumstances. In both downhill / uphill as well as on track / off track. We learned different ways of breaking/stopping, parallel curves and telemarking. As we were all pretty much beginners concerning cross-country skiing it was amazing how you can see the improvement throughout the whole week.

Lessons:
1. «Bend your kneeeees!»
2. Telemark: knees bended, hip down
3. Your poles are the extension to your arms, so If you might fall stop yourself with your poles instead of your arms.

Except that I enjoyed the map and compass lessons and tasks where we had to find and navigate to different spots. It was a great task because I realised at that point that I started to observe my surroundings a lot more in detail to find little marks of orientation. At the beginning it was really hard especially when you don’t know your exact starting point (and also with Len besides you trying to confuse you).

Lessons:
1. Always have your map and compass reachable.
2. The sun is the easiest and best evidence concerning directions.
3. Don’t make things up on the map that you see in front of you. And trust nature more than man/woman made things.

Benefits of learning to ski in the wilderness is for sure first of all … the wilderness. You can be pretty much on your own without meeting crowds of other people, enjoying nature, fresh powder and explore animals tracks. You can do first signature lines and your own tracks, explore the bits and pieces of nature you want to go to and don’t have to follow any pistes or tracks. Another good point which also points out the benefits of cross country compared to downhill skiing: queuing for a ski lift is not necessary. And you won’t destroy your wax as fast as on track.

Within our group I observed a good dynamic. We looked after and waited for each other. The good mood, the smiles and the fun we had along helped one another to carry on and to stand up again even after the hundredths time facing the snow. Not to forget the singing, clapping and cheering … For example at the bus when we were waiting for the other group, we formed a little «tunnel» and everytime one member of the other group reached us we were doing a mexican wave. That was a good group dynamic party mood.
Sometimes especially those days we were supposed to use the maps it was harder to involve everyone because 12(11) skiers and only 3 cards is not a good match. I can remember one situation were one of the group got the task to lead us to a certain lake but on a stop in between where we all looked at the maps again our leader was really confused and lost about our position so other people who were certain about our location took over the lead. In this situation we could have spent more time explaining our evidences to the others and making sure everyone got it on the map.

I am already looking forward to use the map and compass skills as a navigation task or a fun game with the children in my youth camp back home. And going cross-country skiing in the alps more often instead of downhill skiing and snowboarding.