Basic Ski Course
8.02 – 12.02.21
Me, Thomas, a part of the Outdoor Education students spent the last week, the 8th To 12th of February, at “Troll Aktiv” near Evije, to take part in an beginners Cross country Ski course. After organizing and getting to know all the equipment we would need, a bus brought us to our home for the week.
The group knew each other from before, either private or study related activities, but an event like that was new terrain. The motivation was high but the overall socializing in the bus was kept to the already existing smaller groups of people.
After settling into our accommodations and sorting our bags and equipment, we got ready go on to our first skiing lesson of this week.
Despite being an enthusiastic skier for a few years now, both alpine and touring, I could not say that that helped me in this course. But feeling like a complete beginner again was a nice and humbling experience!
When looking at the other group members a huge improvement can be seen. As everyone is coming from a different background and not everyone skied before, different levels of experiences came into this course. It was amazing to see how fast beginners and with no previous exposure to skiing, learned the ways of Cross-country Skiing. This wouldn’t have been possible without the motivation that everyone of the group brought to this course. You might think that being enthusiastic about outdoor sports is enough to get into this program but then seeing how motivated everyone really is, to learn a new skill, was really inspiring.
Skill wise we learned
- Basics/Advanced use of the Cross-country Skis
- Use your poles as extensions of your hands/arms, especially when loosing balance.
- Use your knees and hips to stabilize your whole body, especially when going downhill
- Following 3, the principles of the telemark technique
Of course, all those techniques were gathered and trained over the weeklong period. Beside that we learned a lot about
- Orientation in the snow
- Reading a map and compass,
- Using our surroundings when reading the map
As practical Ski resorts and Ski lifts are, being in the nature and the natural playground you would use when Ski touring is unbeatable. The obvious benefits are being part of nature and exploring it in a more natural way. That combines looking for dangers you can meet as well as searching and identifying animal tracks or special plants. This information will be very handy when it comes to organizing trips for yourself or others, from a pedagogic point of view.
Especially when looking at the meaning of Friluftsliv and its benefits to mental health, being in the nature without huge crowds, queues is beneficial to everyone’s wellbeing.
The overall group dynamics perceived by me, were all positive. As mentioned earlier starting in the bus, everyone was still in their zone, as not many group activities happened before that, of course mostly because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Adding to that, separated living and being in “forced” groups did not help the overall dynamic in a big group. Although everything changed for the better in the following days of the week. Inside the groups while skiing, everybody got to know each other better, their mindset, their humour and of course how far they can be pushed before frustrations sets in. Everybody was working together to reach a common goal and to make everybody´s experience worthwhile.
As far as I am concerned, no obvious Leaders came to the surface to take control of any given situation. While navigating, everyone was relying on the other, helping each other to find the way.
Especially on the last day of skiing, the play day, the improved ski skills and dynamics between the people were obvious. It also showed in the little things, like welcoming the other group back at the busses, after a long day of skiing, by making a “tunnel of cheers” for them and celebrating their safe arrival. Everybody survived!!!
I hope I can use my new experiences and skills in the future, while out in the Norwegian Wilderness or any other area in the world. Reading a map and compass is the universal tool of getting around in the world, especially when there is no mobile coverage! I hope I can develop more on those skills and use them effectively in my tours to come.
Of course, all the things we learned so far are very useful in being a vejleder and to take other people out on their adventure.