Mar 20, 2008

Skiing - it helps to have a sense of humor

Everyone has heard of Norwegians and their skis. How they invented this mode of transportation by basically noting, "Hey, that was good beer! And I'll bet I can glide down this slope with planks on my feet!" OK, maybe not the beer part. Well, maybe very much the beer part. But the next part was, "Hey, look at what those crazy Sami are doing with planks! I can do that!" Because it turns out, the Norwegians did not invent skiing; they just made it theirs (much like they did with rose painting and Swiss cheese) and eventually exported it.

I have skied. It is fun. I don't ski any more. It's not that much fun. Really, it depends on where you are and the snow conditions, and I'm not such an enthusiast that I a) enjoy skiing in a crowd or b) waiting to ski in a crowd nor c) struggling with anything but the most perfect powder snow in the most perfect weather. OK, I can handle a bit of a wait in line and some clouds, and for cross country, nicely packed snow, but I stand by the rest. I have cross-countried and I have downhilled. Both have their merits. Both have the advantage of putting you outdoors in a landscape made breathtakingly beautiful and surreal thanks to a covering of snow. Both have the disadvantage of sending you down a hill you weren't prepared for.

So I sit at home, with a nice cup of chocolate tea (yes, there is such a thing), reading the online newspapers since there is no printed one delivered today, and I come across a couple of items that tell me that not only do you need a sense of balance, strong legs and strong arms, and warm clothes when skiing, but also a sense of humor:

Skiers in Geilo - Norway's answer to Mammoth Mountain, California (Hemsedal being the answer to Vail, Colorado) - experienced that icky situation of being stuck in a ski lift yesterday. For 45 minutes, 160 skiers swung high and helpless above the ground in uncovered chairs, waiting for help. Fortunately, they got the emergency power supply going (don't know what happened to the regular power supply) and the skiers made it safely to the top. That's a cold wait, and they had to do it without beer.

(Photo taken from Bergens Tidende)

Not knowing how long the ski lift would be stuck, rescuers started helping people down from the chair lift.

Beer was the whole point for some other skiers who were out and about earlier today - in downtown Bergen. Which typically had far less snow that my neighborhood has, only 10 minutes' drive away (you'll also notice the difference from this photo):

This bunch dons old-fashioned ski equipment and, regardless of the weather, ski from pub to pub, and have done so as an annual Easter tradition eight years running - or scraping, as the case this year may be. They have noted that today's have been the worst skiing conditions yet.

(Photo taken from Bergens Tidende)

I love the rucksack on the guy in the rear. That is seriously vintage!

3 comments:

Sparkling Red said...

I've never been skiing. I'd like to try it at least once, but first I have to find a like-minded enthusiast to drive me to a ski hill. (Ken is not interested.)

Michele said...

I'm not a big skier, either, Keera; I like the idea of skiing far more than the actual exercise. We got so much snow last night, though, Ian and I are going to try a little cross-country on the field next to our house. We'll see how it goes.

Crazy how different the snow level in your neighborhood is to downtown! I really like that picture of the pub skiers/scrapers. :-)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Spark, maybe some local sporting goods store does group tours. I remember when I lived in California, that one could sign up for a day with a guide/instructor via the sporting goods store that would also rent you the equipment.

Michele, it's definitely worth a try. The only thing you must know is how to plow so you can brake down that unexpected hill. ;-)

Cities are generally warmer than suburbs, but I'm still surprised every time the bus shoots through the tunnel to the other side and I see a completely different landscape.