Monday, January 17, 2011

Kårvatn - Norges Cup Randonnee Race

Chris is the red person furthest away in the third row - you can just see a little of him

Just a quick post to update you on last weekends activities - a trip to Kårvatn for the first in te Norwegian Cup Randonnee Race Series. There were races on both days which Chris planned to compete in. I was planning a more relaxed version skiing in the 'recreational' category on Saturday with Line, and going for a fun excursion up the hillside on Sunday with Ally, Paja, Tomas and Line.

Chris just before he races up the hill

Chris loved the race on Saturday - 2 times 1000m ascent and descent back to back. The fastest guy took a crazy 49 minutes up and 6 minutes down! Then he repeated a similar time the second loop around. Chris's times were pretty respectable and he managed to beat and scare quite a few Nowegians. He was up in 57 minutes and down in 10! Not bad for an old one (-:

Line and I finally make it to the top of the climb

We went out for a really funky dinner on a farm on Saturday night. The restaurant was this kind of renovated wooden barn thing - all the meat eaters got to eat a special kind of local cow, while I got a yummy fish dish - it was a really nice evening.
Dinner at a cool wooden farm house
The terrible real seal skins - Chris is never allowed to have these ones

On Sunday there was a 'two person teams race, Chris raced with a speedy Norwegian who kept him on his toes. In the meantime our little group skied up valley and explored a spectacular frozen waterfall. We then skied higher up the hillside and found an amazing old hut where they apparently used to store the hay during winter and would come up on horses to retrieve it when supplies got low down in the valley.
Chris sets off on day two with Olav

The frozen waterfall
The little hay hut we discovered

From the hut we enjoyed some nice powder descent back down to the farmstead. Then it was time to pack up and hit the very ice road back to Trondheim - the temperatures had risen a lot and it was raining, creating dangerous ice every where, yuck! Luckily we made it home safely.

There are a few more photos on my picasa web album:

Kårvatn Norges Cup Randonnee Race

Friday, January 7, 2011

Skiwis New Year in the hills

Just a few pair of skis each for our trip away, not excessive at all (-:
Running late as usual we drove out of Trondheim on Dec 28 headed for Oppdal to meet Tomas, Paja and Anders in our little, silver, string-of-unusual-noise-mobile. We meet the others (who were waiting patiently in the Rema 1000, and then followed them up the Storlidalen to Anders' wonderful cosy cabin in Storlia up the head of the valley.

Looking up valley you can see the steep rock faces of the Trollheimen mountains. His family's cabin is very modern and so snug and comfy, complete with a little sauna. We ate a quick lunch then drove back down valley to go up Okla on our randonnee skis. Anders and Tomas were braving fjellskis instead.
Starting up the hill

We climbed steeply and very slowly up - the snow was super light and deep and impossible to go upwards through, there was no base underneath though so one's ski got tangled up amongst the rocks and trees on the ground.

After 1.5 hours up we had climbed barely 400m! Then Chris fell on a rock and snapped his pole in two. After that we decided Okla was off, so Chris and I gingerly skied down trying to avoid scraping our skis too badly on any more rocks.

Finally back down on the flat land
When we reached the bottom we saw the others making their way down too, so like Anders' suggested we started construction of a little ski hopp (jump). For me it was spooky going over the little jump, especially when Tomas put it upon himself to give the jump an enormous kick so you were thrown up straight in the air!

We had great fun - Anders' showing the real style by doing the jump well on the fjellskis! Finally when we were chilled to the bone (at least Paja and I were!) we headed back to the cabin and spent the evening eating, suana'ing and playing Settlers.

The next day we decided to tackle Storbekkhøa (1504m) all on fjellski this time. It was a long trip up - about 4.5 hours till we reached the summit just as the sun was dropping beneath the horizon ( it was about 3.30 in the afternoon), we enjoyed the final rays then set off down.

Climbing slowly up Storbekkhøa

The peak above me is the top
Snowy valley
Nearly at the top, by that stage I had given up on my skis and found it was easier to walk
Enjoying the final rays on the top
Sinking sun

I was hopelessly slow, the others nearly froze waiting for me, and I was thinking "why didn't I bring my good skis?" But Chris assured me this was much better training and would make it seem so much easier next time I was on the other skis, hmmm.

Heading down as it got slowly darker

We crashed down through the forest, and it was completely dark when we eventually made it back. That descent is one which was much more fun retrospectively, once I was warm and fed again it didn't seem so bad.
Relaxing inside Anders' great cabin
On Wednesday it was time for Paja and Tomas to head back to Trondheim and Chris and I to head on to meet up with Theresa and Matthias at Høvringen - the little ski town we visited last year with Stu and Fi.

We went out for a beautiful classic ski on the valley trails before we left and got some nice photos of the white land and the blue skies.
Chris enjoying some nice classic trails and nice scenery

After driving for about 3 hours (and doing some grocery shopping in Oppdal on the way) we met up with Theresa and Matthias in their small wooden cabin. We ate dinner and played the card game Romme in the evening.
Chris, Theresa and Matthias in the wee cabin

The following day we skied together out to a little place known as Puttensetter and found a warm spot inside a hotel lobby where some friendly Germans were happy for us to eat some food. Theresa was having fun on her new skis, it was her third day on cross country skis. Having said that Chris and I seemed to do our fair share of crashing too.

3 Reindeer skiing to Puttensetter
We had a super hot sauna in the evening, then ran on the frozen lake making snow angels before running back into the hot sauna. We then amused some Norwegian who were just arriving in the blizzard by running back to our cabin in the nud.
After our sauna we tried some strange Swedish 'fruit soup' - it was actually pretty good!

In the morning we farewelled Matthias and Theresa and hit the road again on our way to Grovellsjøen in Sweden to stay with Aaron, Sara and their two small daughters Greta and Karin. Russell (Aaron's Dad) was also going to be there - visiting from NZ.

We arrived just in time for Sara's delicious spinach lasagna and some nice Kiwi trifle for desert courtesy of Aaron. Later in the evening we walked down with the masses with their burning sticks to the little hotel where there is a countdown to the new year, a bonfire and fireworks. We did the same walk two years earlier when we stayed in Grøvelsjoen with Aaron and Sara at New Year.

Some people lit some cool paper hot air balloons which wafted off into the cold night. During the day it had been snowing, so there was fluffy white snow everywhere.
Flaming sticks along the way to the bonfire and fireworks

New Year's day was clear and sunny, so we took off on the skate skis. Chris, Aaron and Swedish Jens headed out for a speedy ski round the 5 km, while Russell and I took a more leisurely pace following them. The snow was so soft that skating was extremely hard work and I decided that it was definitely better conditions for a classic ski in the afternoon with Sara.

After lunch Sara, Chris and I headed out onto a different loop. It was a fun challenge skiing with Sara, I could just keep up with her if I pushed myself, so we raced around the 8 km, and it was so much fun we decided to do it one more time.

By the time we got back to the house I was feeling a bit pooped. A hot sauna followed by Em's veggie lasagna helped though, and in the evening we had a great game of Settlers. Chris loves that game! Sara and I schemed a bit and came up with a plan for a good long classic ski the following day out to an old farm on a hill following some small trails.

Russell, Sara and myself out on the classics for our little mission

Russell and Chris came along too. The trail climbed gently up to the old farm where we stopped for some food and hot rosehip soup. Chris and Russell then skied to Norway (the border was about 300m from the farm). The trail then wound gently back down through the trees, you could double pole along and it felt like being on a roller coaster, it was great!

Russell was really tired and had taken to running on his skis, while the rest of us were all getting a bit tired too. It was a solid 3 hour ski, just a small one for Sara though who is planning to compete in the 90km Vassaloppet again this year.

Sadly it was time to say Goodbye to the cute girls, Aaron, Sara and Russell and head back to Trondheim because we had work the next day. Chris did the driving - it took about 5 hours on the very snowy roads. When we reached Trondheim we found that even more snow had fallen. There was so much snow at our house and we had great trouble driving up the steep street to our house.

The snow now comes half way up our window - so as you can imagine we are pretty happy with the snow conditions right now. Thanks for reading my long post - I hope you had a really great Christmas and New Year too. Believe it or not we are actually quite excited about a sunny warm NZ Christmas next year - so we plan to make the most of the snowy months ahead of us! Happy New Year,
Em (-:

Skiwis Christmas

Rather a lot of snow!
The Christmas holidays started only 2 days before Christmas this year, so we decided to stay in Trondheim until the day after boxing day, after which we had several ideas for trips up our sleeves. This year (unlike last year) the best ski and snow conditions by far was actually in Trondheim itself, the rest of Norway didn't have much snow. So we canceled our plan to visit Sjusjoen again near Lillehammer, and decided to head somewhere more local instead.

The week before we had a wonderful early Christmas dinner with Helen and Ally - we had a really fun evening, with some little presents, some delicious food and wine, some whiskey and most of all some great company.

The days leading up to Christmas were really cold, around -19 on Thursday and -15 on Friday. Nevertheless we got out for a really nice ski both days, the trails around Bymarka were in great condition and we could track (and chase) the groomer using the GPS tracker on the brilliant website.

After our night ski on Christmas eve Chris had some beautiful eyelashes!

Once Chris was looking at our laptop and saw on the screen the groomer was out on the trail just below our house, and then looking out the window we saw the lights of the groomer heading across the Kyvannet bridge, cool! We put our skis on and raced out the door after the huge machine.

On Christmas day we opened some nice wee parcels in the morning, skyped home and then headed out for a ski with our new Czech friends Paja and Tomas and their friend Anders. We were all skating and it was a fast paced ski for me, I spent all the time way out the back. Never mind, it was really fun, we skied out to Elgsethytta, down to Grønlia via Storheia and back through Lian to our place - a solid 2.5 hours skiing and a good way to get a really good appetite for Christmas dinner.

Tomas, Chris and me from the flagpole at Lian, Christmas day

Tomas, Anders, me and Paja just after a quick stop at Elgsethytta

The evening was pretty low key with yummy roast veggies and fish. The next day we went out to Klaebu and round the Jonsvannet to ski in a new spot with Paja and Tomas. It was nice rolling terrain, a lot less demanding than the usual Bymarka hills.

Unfortunately the wee cafe shown on the map was not open so we all ate muesli bars and jumped around trying to keep warm. After that it was home for a hot shower and pack for a week away in the hills!