Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vindølbu Hut Weekend

Last weekend Ally Chris and I finally got round to our planned mission into Vindølbu hut in the Trollheimen National Park. We wanted a very easy randonee ski trip with lots of time to lounge about in the nice warm hut. We left Trondheim quite late after curry round at ours, and didn't finally arrive at the carpark until 11.30pm. But given that it had been pitch dark since 3 this didn't seem to matter so much.

It was quite magical skiing in the moonlite alongside a frozen river. There was lots of snow and it was super fluffy, so at one stage when I fell over I couldn't stand up again. Finally we made it to the hut for a midnight feast and off to bed under the ice duvets - it was about -8 inside the hut.

Nevertheless we had a very cosy night and woke late. The sun was shining on the other side of the hill so we chased it, but never quite got it. We skinned up a gentle hill side, unfortunately the fluffy snow of the night before had been damaged by wind, so it was a bit crusty. We had a fun but chilly descent, although for Ally on the split board getting up enough speed was a bit of a problem on the gentle slopes.

The little blob above Ally's head is the moon
Sunset at about 3!
Rather frozen we arrived back at the hut just it was getting dark and spent the next hours eating, knitting, chatting, playing chess and eating some more. The hut got up to an amazing 21 and it was about -15 outside!
The cosy Vindølbu
After another cosy night under the ice duvets we decided to take on the steeper and more treed slopes above the hut. IT was great skinning up through the forest and before long we had some precious rays of sun. We had a short but sweet descent, then spent some time videoing Chris and Ally throwing themselves off a small cliff (I will attempt to upload the video to this post).
Up we go - Ally in the front on his new split board

Skinning up into the sun

That rare and majestic thing - a sunray
We tidied the hut and skied out in the dropping temperatures, arriving back to Trondheim to a charming -17 feeling a little chilled - our hut weekend was a pretty cool way to spend the darkest time of year in Norway though. The temperatures have continued to decrease since, today was -20 all day! But on the positive side school holidays have just begun so I have 1.5 weeks off as of today. So I am sure there will be some more chilly adventures shortly to be posted on this blog (-:

Hello to the world

Trondheims Christmas lights, plus me in my trusty down jacket that has been my constant companion the last two months.

Hello to all readers of Emily and Chris's blog! I am sorry there has been such a lapse in posts, I'm not really sure how this occurred...but fortunately for you the drought is over and you about to be swamped with an amazing barrage of exciting posts! Well, maybe not a barrage but there will be many (0:

Chris spent 3 weeks back in NZ catching up with his friends and family and successfully reclaiming his World Rogaining Title with Marcel Hagner in the Championships that were held in Canterbury.

Chris and Marcel at the prize giving
Ian was also competing in the Rogaine World Champs and came 3rd in the Veteran category with Bruce Meder.

Chris brought a nice new camera back from NZ with him, so as soon as he got back he headed out and took some atmospheric 'dark' shots.

Dark and snowy is our land.

This was about 8.30 am.

The road to work is a snowy one!

I spent my time here busy with school, and a bit of climbing and cross country skiing - plus lots of social stuff - so the time went pretty fast. When Chris came back we went to his work 'Julebord' (christmas party) which was lots of fun and involved Chris wearing a tie! Then we drove to a ski orienteering competition in Vennebu (about 4 hours South).

The view from our window including our snowy wee car - poor thing he looks so frosty!

Chris ran from my school one morning down to his work place at Piren - it was just becoming light. You can see the fjord in the distance.

Helen and Ally came round for a Christmas feast before they headed home for Christmas.
We had 'secret santa' which wasn't very secret and roast lamb (-:

We competed in the long event on the Sunday. Unfortunately even though it was pouring with snow in Trondheim that weekend, Vennebu had an all time snow low, so there were a lot of rocks on the course. We stayed in Marthe's cabin with 7 others, so we had a great time anyway. Chris even managed to beat 1 Norwegian skier in the race on Sunday.

Ski conditions in Bymarke have been really good, so we have been skiing quite a bit - only now it is so cold that skiing isn't so good. Hopefully it warms up a bit soon! So now for the first new post - a weekend trip to Vindølbu. Happy reading!

Skiing through the forest one night we came upon this amazing Christmas tree!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin man gets snowy!

This morning I woke up to find poor pumpkin man looking rather white and chilly! We had planned to go away this weekend and do some mountain biking and last minute long run training for Chris before the rogaine world champs in 2 weeks time.

This plan went out the window as soon as we looked out of ours, so instead Chris is currently charging around Bymarke through the snow. I ran up the hill some way with him, we were just running up through the forest when we came across a whole moose family! They nonchalantly ambled off into the snowy trees. Chris is then running on to Ally's place - Ally will do the last part of the run with him.
Before he went out for his run we spent some time clearing the piles of snow off our car and putting on our spikey winter tires. I was enjoying jacking the car up and down. Chris got to do the fun part when it started snowing again:

Tomorrow we think it will definitely be time to head out on the fjell skis - it is supposed to keep snowing tonight, so conditions should be perfect (-:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have never carved a pumpkin before, so both Chris and I were very excited about this one which I made at school. On Friday night Kristof and Maria came over for dinner, so I welcomed them with the pumpkin man!

In the doorway behind the pumpkin is Ally and me.

Halloween makes a lot more sense here, it is getting very dark now and all the leaves have gone from the trees. The clocks went back on Saturday night, so it getting dark by 4.30 now. We went for a nice run in the forest on Saturday - Helen had organised a 'handicap' orienteering training (and just for the record, I won out of me, Chris and Ally (-: )

Chris and I did a good mountain bike ride on Sunday, around the back of Bymarke on a mixture of 4WD road and single track. The ice spikers work pretty well in the mud.

Happy Halloween! Em.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Garmin Bear leads the way...

The first snow came on Tuesday, so Chris had to get the skis and go for a blast in the park. He was sure he would be the first, but I spotted several other ski tracks!

The weekend came around and the forecast was awful. We were a bit bored. Helen and Ally were also a bit bored. We put our heads together and decided what we needed was a good splurge in the mountains to cheer us up - a cosy hut, some fun times and a little adventure.

So while most of Trondheim was huddled inside on a very snowy and rainy Saturday morning Helen and Ally swung by our place in their little silver car and we loaded on skis and backpacks and headed away into the storm.

We drove through Orkanger and on along the E39. We were heading into the mountains of Nordmore to Hardbakhytte (800m). We turned into a very muddy slippery farm road and boganed around for a while before we found the right road and a little snowy spot to pull off the road.

Helen had snow shoes on, while the rest of us had fjellskis. We originally assumed it would be slower on the snow shoes than on the former - however by the end of the trip this was a debatable thing given our respective rates of progress. Anyway, we skied (or snowshoed) up the road past Gammelsaetra, then up onto the snowy hillside.

We followed some pylons up a gully and into the deep mist. Every now and then we were hit by snow flurries or sleet flurries, and progress was quite slow in the crappy snow. Finally we reached the broad ridge which the hut was somewhere on. The wind was increasing and darkness was approaching. Through all our minds (except perhaps Garmin Bear's) was the trickling thought..."was this a great idea? what will we do if we don't find the hut? we'll have to dig a snow cave....brr that will be %$%# cold!"

We wound our way round icey outcrops and it felt as if we were going around in circles! Suddenly I saw a little chimney and we had walked right onto the hut perfectly! Garmin Bear received congratulations all round (although thoughts of purchasing a real GPS Garmin (just in case) have been creeping into my mind!)

The inviting entrance out of the blizzard

The hut was super cosy, we lit the fire and the paraffin lamps, we even had radio reception as we cooked up a feast for dinner. We slept late in the warm hut, and made pancakes for breakfast, before we finally farewelled Hardbakhytte at 2pm.

My crazy new 'hoof' gloves - which actually work pretty well!
Chris enjoying a pancake....I think?
Helen and her little red crocs

We took a slightly different route back down from the hut, over a little indestinct summit called Hardbakfjellet. The weather was still awful, snowing and windy. After celebrating the summit with a photo we had a rather entertaining time crashing our way back down into the 'happy land' below the whiteout/blasting wind and snow zone.
The summit of Hardbakfjellet, or so we think

Helen is the first to happy land

Helen neatly snow shoed her way off the mountain in a quicker time than it took us fjellskiers, even though we were sliding! I guess crashing takes up a bit of time. Eventually the skiable snow ran out and we plodded back down the farm track feeling a bit tired but very happy to be back in happy land. Just before we reached the car the sky opened up for a final deluge of slushy snowflakes.

The boys...both looking a little odd...
The girls looking beautiful of course

We arrived back in Trondheim around 8 pm - it had obviously been raining all weekend in Trondheim too. We were all very content that our bad weather outing had been much more fun than sitting around moping in cold rainy Trondheim and the Hardbakhytte mission was a complete success (-:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Norsk Mesterskap Orientering

Last weekend the Norwegian National Orienteering Champs took place in Beiterstolen - 5 hours South of Trondheim, not far from the Jotunheimen National Park. We headed away from Trondheim at about 5pm on Friday night, after I had arrived home from work and beavered away to make a pizza and some cookies for us to munch on during the long drive.

At Oppdal we met up with Bård and Ola, and they joined us in our car to make our trip a little more environmentally friendly. We arrived at a cosy cabin at about 11pm and went straight to sleep. Chris and I were both feeling tired after a long week at work, and in the morning we had quite early starts to deal with.

A plush grass roofed 'cabin' at Beiterstolen - the one we were staying in was rather more modest than this little mansion.

The arena at Beiterstolen - they even had a big screen with GPS tracking following the competition, pretty impressive technology for following orienteering.

I really wasn't in the mood for orienteering the next morning, but I was entered so I didn't have much choice but to turn up. It was a middle distance at least, so not too long. I headed off to the start, aware that it was supposed to be a 2km run to the start. However, after running 2 km I got to the start and no one was there! I quickly realised I had somehow taken the wrong way and I was now at the start of the final for the afternoon, not the morning qualification start!

So I had to run 2 km back, then 2 km to the real start! By that stage I had missed my start by almost one hour, and the time from my real start is the one that was recorded in the results! Opps! I actually enjoyed my run after all that, it was tricky and very flat, which was great given I was very tired after already running 6 km!

Chris finished just after me - he had a disaster of a run and missed out on qualifying for the final. Oh well, we enjoyed blobbing around for the afternoon and went for a walk to take in the amazing autumn colours in the mountains.
Emily is thinking "Autumn in Norway is really pretty"
Red and yellow trees, getting ready for snow again!

The next day was the relay and Chris ran the first leg in the first Wing team, while I ran in the 5th men's team. The women's Wing team came 5th overall - there are about 50 teams entered, so it is a tough race. Chris wasn't particularly pleased with his run, but the other two in his team ran well, so they finished in a respectable 6th place.

The men ready to start the relay race on Sunday

It really was ridiculous how fast the men started - not a lot of map reading going on at this stage. Chris sneaks in from the outside here to get near the front of the bunch.

On the drive back home we took this photo looking toward the famous Beseggen ridge. The photo doesn't really do justice to the beautiful autumn colours.

Imarbu Sea Kayak

In preparation for the World Adventure Race Champs which Chris will compete in a few weeks time in Spain we decided on a kayak mission for the weekend. On the Thursday week night before we left it was very mild so both Chris and I took a dip in the Kyvannet - I'm pretty sure that will be our last swim in the lake this year (-:

Evening and autumnal feeling swim in the Kyvannet

On Friday afternoon after work I met Chris at the boat sheds in Ila in our wee Toyota Corola. I had already been in town purchasing some lengths of rope for attaching the kayaks to the little set of roof racks which came with our car. We headed out of town in heavy traffic and through to Orkanger. From there we drove the E39, a road we have previously biked along - until we made it to Valsøa where we loaded the kayaks and set out across the fjord in the gathering dusk.
The fjord in the fading light - it was about 8 when we finally set out
Chris organising the kayaks

Nearly ready to go

We paddled for over three hours - it was about 16km across the fjord then up another channel to the DNT hut Imarbu. It was beautiful and calm, but unfortunately we were too busy paddling to take any photos and it was dark too, so they might not have come out so well.

By ten o'clock Chris thought we should be close and sure enough a light appeared in front of us and we heard voices on the beach. There was a 'working bee' happening on the hut, so there was a big group of friendly Norwegians staying there, as well as a tramping group from the Uni. One man we met had just been studying in Dunedin for a year, so we had lots to talk about with him!

Imarbu hut the next morning
Before we set out for our long paddle on Saturday, I was considering ditching the kayaks and taking that inflatable white speed boat thingee in the background.

The sky was gray, but the scenery was still very cool
We paddled for about 4 hours before we stopped for lunch on a rock outcrop. We saw a wee otter swimming amongst the rocks, and I was enjoying listening to my iPod as we paddled. We had also rigged up an ingenious tow system the night before so my kayak slip streamed Chris's.... and if I felt like a little break he would never even notice....

At about 7 o'clock we finally rounded the headland and floated back into the bay where we had parked the car. We were both really tired after a long paddle, but happy to be back at the car and it was Saturday night, so the best thing was to be able to drive home and have a nice long sleep in the next morning (-:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WOC in Trondheim!

I had been looking forward to this week since we first learned the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) were going to be held in Trondheim in 2010 - that was over a year and a half ago - I knew it would be very exciting and it certainly lived up to my expectations.

Ian and Anne (Chris's parents) arrived in at Pirabadet terminal from Kristiansund on Saturday evening - just after I had said farewell to Al and Amber and watched them disappear on the train back to Oslo. The Forne's had been traveling around Southern Norway for the week before making their way to Trondheim.

Chris was feeling apprehensive before the start of WOC, he had put in a lot of preparation over the past year and a bit we had been living in Trondheim - and on top of that he had just been asked if he could deliver the 'Oath of Fair Play' on behalf of all the competitors at the opening ceremony.

Sunday morning was warm and clear, as Ian, Anne and I walked down to Sverresborg Folk Museum where the sprint qualification would take place. Lara Prince and Rite Holmes were the two girl's representing NZ who would compete in the 3 different disciplines (sprint, long and middle) while Tane Cambridge, James Bradshaw, Ross Morrison, and Tom Reynolds, as well as Chris, would represent the men.

The afternoon sprint final in town saw Chris and Ross racing the world's best around the old streets of Trondheim, starting in the square and heading across Gamle Bybro up to Kristiansten Festning, then back down to the square. It was a very exciting race - the square was packed and big screens showed the athletes every move. The Swiss dominated winning gold and silver in the mens and gold in the womens.
Chris finishing in the sprint in the center of Trondheim Torg

Chris delivered his oath amid a very bizarre opening ceremony, then we headed home and crashed after a busy day.

Next up was the qualification for the middle event, then on Tuesday the qualification for the long. The Kiwis all raced hard, but making it into the finals is extremely tough. Only the top 15 from each heat of 45 makes it into the final....for most New Zealanders this means you must have a perfect run to have any chance of getting in.

Ian, Anne and I headed out to the event and ran our own course through the forest as part of the WOC Tour. Ian enjoyed getting some tuition from Emily the swamp expert (-: Ross and Chris both qualified in good positions for the middle distance, and Chris and Lara both qualified for the we had some more excitement ahead of us. It was also great to see my local friend Helen, who runs for the British team, have a fantastic run and easily qualify for the final.
Rita finishing her long qualification race
Chris and Lara - stoked after both qualifying for the long final - go Southerly Storm!

Wednesday was a rest day, so while Chris lazed around saving up energy Ian and I headed out on the bikes to explore the Bymarke single tracks. The weather was continuing to put on a great show for all the Trondheim visitors.

Ian and I head out on the bikes

Anne and I on Gamle Bybro
Kristiansten Festning - the sprint final climbed up to here from town then back down again

The long awaited long final took place in the Granåsen Ski Arena, about 15 minutes bike ride from our place. It was exciting to finally go there after the area had been embargoed for all the time we have lived in Trondheim.

There was a big crowd turn out to watch the race, and the exciting commentary and big screens with live tracking made it very exciting to watch the competition. Chris raced very well, but said afterward he was feeling a bit flat and tired throughout the race. However it didn't appear this way when he out sprinted Daniel Hubmann into the finish who he had been clinging on to for the last part of the course. Lara completed her first long final in a great time too.
Chris verses Daniel Hubmann!

On Saturday WOC continued with the middle final, also at Granåsen. Ross had a few big mistakes in his race which left him feeling pretty demoralized and meant Chris caught him up, but I have to say it was super cool to see Chris and Ross run through the stadium together in their flashy black tops. The commentator liked it too!
Chris and Ross run through the stadium together during the middle final

Chris had a blistering run and his finish sprint was tremendous. I will never forget that finish, it was so exciting! He finished in an excellent 21 place and is now the NZ record holder in the men for all 3 WOC disciplines. I know I shouldn't brag, but I am very proud of him!

The whole NZ team, plus Ian, Anne, me, Mat Scot, Viv and Aaron Prince all squeezed into our living room for a communal dinner

So, WOC had nearly come to a close except the relay....and the party of course! Tom, Ross and Chris were running in the men's relay team - in that order. Lizzie Ingham had arrived in Trondheim by this stage, she was supposed to be competing in all the WOC events, but had to withdraw due to a bad injury in her ankle. This left Rita and Lara without a third runner for their relay team.

After much persuasion I was convinced to run for them so that they could still be a complete team and get a finishing result. This proved retrospectively to be a very controversial decision within the New Zealand Orienteering Federation - however at the time I didn't know this because the people making the decision within the IOF decided it was OK; it meant we still got to have a New Zealand team and there was a record number of international teams entered into the World Champs relay.

I was really nervous before I ran - I had had a couple of reasonable runs with the WOC tour leading up to Sunday, but I was thinking the whole thing was pretty crazy. My running is always hampered by my completely bunged up ankle and I still felt that I had not quite mastered the art of the Norwegian marsh.
But I ran the best race I could - I was knackered towards the finish and made some dumb mistakes in the last loop - but it was a total buzz to finish and the other girls were stoked too. Lara had a fantastic run on the first leg coming in before the Australians! The boys were also quite satisfied with their race - although Chris was so tired from all the other races he didn't have so much left in the tank.
The proud supporter!
Ian and Anne enjoying the summer sun on our porch - and a nice vino

We finished the WOC week with the infamous party, the boys in pink shirts with cool shades and the girls in stylish black and white dresses. Of course there was a beer O included in the party antics....need I say more (-: