On Monday, February 8th, we met at the university to go on our first real trip outside of the university. For our basic ski course we went to the TrollAktiv center near Evje and Len and Tim tried to teach us how to ski in the following five days. After a short drive with the bus, we reached the Trollaktiv center and moved in our little cabins. After a quick lunch we went straight to Høgas, where we had our first introduction in the art of backcountry skiing. Therefore we have been split up into two groups of 12 people, one taught by Len, the other one, my group, taught by Tim. At first Tim tried to keep it simple, as we were only getting used to the skis, which are a bit like crosscountry-skies but a little wider with a small edge, so theoretically you could use the edges (didn’t work for most of the time though). To finish the first day we had a little race against the other group, that we won. Every day was structured that we did some skiing during the day, roughly from 10 to 4pm, and a theoretical part in the evening in the cosy little hut. In the first lecture Tim taught us how to wax the ski even though we did it with Len the week before, the focus this time was on the different kinds of waxing, using sticky wax in the middle part of your skis (for uphill and flat skiing) and using gliding wax (the green was is the gamechanger), well… for gliding on tip and tail.
The next days we become better and better with the basic skiing, so Tim fostered us with some new techniques like Telemark skiing downhill, which was a big challenge for most of us. Tim was looking out for us all the time and he even tried to activate us on a cognitive basis by telling us things about the weather or making us navigate for a short period of time. The following lectures were about packing our backpack, first aid and map & compass. And even if the navigation lecture left most of us really confused, we really learned it later then by navigating through the forest.
On Thursday we did a nice tour around Gautestad, where we did some exercises for our technique, but most of the time we were just skiing through a wonderful landscape. At the end of the day we had the chance to improve our telemark skills, supervised by Tim, who was always supporting and encouraging (“Good effort”) to keep trying, as long as we are having fun doing it. That’s a really important thing I would like to transfer in my future teaching techniques, that you can’t force someone to do it, if they don’t like doing it. The students won’t learn as good if they don’t like it. So the main aim is to change the tasks for every individual so at the end of the day, everybody improved and had a lot of fun doing it.
For the last day our ski instructors had planned a little “fun park session” where we built three different attractions and then try them out. At first I was a little disappointed because Thursday was really good and I wanted to do another trip, but in the end the building and of course the trying out was a lot of fun. We split up in three groups and built two kickers a bumpy section and another part where we had to pedal through the slope. Everyone did a really good job and I think we are all capable of building our own funparks back home – then as an instructor.
Last but not least Tim and Len had a little surprise for us: a Chinese race. Pretty easy, everyone starts at the same time. First one wins. As a future sports teacher I may have had little doubts about the security of the last race, but they were probably aware of our good skiing skills. After one last gathering with prices for the fist five, we went back to the TrollAktiv center and got picked up by the bus right after to get us back to Kristiansand.
As that was our first real trip, for our Outdoor Education group it was a very good opportunity to get to know each other. Unfortunately, we couldn’t mix it up too much because of the Covid-situation, so we had to stay in our apartment-groups for living in the cabins. Nevertheless, we had very good talks with different people on our ski-trips and the always named cohesion started to grow. As Tim in our group and respectively Len in the other group took the leading position there was no need in ourselves to choose someone who would take over the lead of the group. But there was still some movement in the group, so someone could figure out who would be suitable for leading a group of backcountry-skiers. Tim tried to force this by making us lead the group for a short period. A group of 12 people who are guided by just one person is the maximum amount and it only works if the group members itself take part in supporting and helping each other. It happened that on some occasions the better skiers tried to help others, when they were struggling with very steep hills or other difficulties. That reinforced the group cohesion as well. On Thursday, we had a nice gathering in the evening where every nation had to plan a “typical” thing for the group to take part in. There we had a little insight to the cultures of our group members and, what was more important, we had a lot of fun. We are still waiting for the contribution of our British colleagues, by the way 😊.
Highlight of the week: Skijumping in Evje
On Thursday after the skiing we went to Evje for some grocery shopping. Near the supermarket we have seen a ski jumping hill and asked Tim when we will be going there to jump the real hills. He didn’t really get the joke and planned an event for Wednesday night. Luckily, a friend of his owned that place and so we got a first instruction in ski jumping and just minutes later we were up on the hill with shaky legs. In the end most of us did some jumps and it was a lot less scary and a lot more fun than expected
What I take home from this trip
First I learned how to ski and even if I still fall a lot, I felt a lot more comfortable after the week than at the beginning. Furthermore we learned how to navigate in the nature, what points to mark and which significant areas we should focus on. And even if I may never be teaching a class in backcountry-skiing I learned a lot about teaching and behaving as a guide/teacher in the outdoors. All the skills like teaching the different techniques, correcting others and myself and simply everything that comes with safety and first aid content for spending time outdoors, we got taught to a basic level. But we still need to improve them by gaining more experience supervised as well as unsupervised.
I cant say that I am ready to teach a class how to ski or how to behave outdoors, but I am confidently looking forward to my first ski trip without any supervision.