by Greta, Kennedy, and Grant
Wake up!!! It was difficult to wake up because we didn’t have an early morning jog, but after a full bowl of oatmeal filled with swirls of raspberry jam we loaded up the vans filled with sandwiches, apples, and lots of gloppy kick waxes and sticky klisters. After enthusiastically picking up Jørgen from the train station, we arrived in Nordseter and instantly became perplexed about the parking tickets. For some reason, I was put in charge of purchasing and administering parking permits for the four vehicles… I loaded all of the money for the four vehicles into the parking meter, but only one slip of paper shot out of the machine… OH NO!!! Inside the cafe, I asked about getting my money back, but to no avail and instead it was necessary for me to purchase three more tickets. Once the conundrum was sorted out, I put the four tickets in the respective vehicles, and then hastily waxed my skis with klister binder and a blue extra hard wax.
Slowly, we swooshed up the first hill into another world where you can ski off into the distance forever. The endless snowfields looked like an endless cream pie riddled with chocolate chips of trees sprinkled sparsely throughout. After an infinite climb, we approached the first intersection; the road signs at each intersection exist as real roads in the summer. We double-poled along a frozen lake below Nevelfjellet, a pure frosty entity blanketed in drifts of snow. Sara and I took turns taking the lead to buffer the wind for the others behind us. The lake quickly morphed into small foothills with little huts and hints of sheep presence in the summer months. Suddenly, a turret of the astounding Pellestova hotel rose in the distant horizon.
We skied through the tracks, longing for the delicacies we’d been dreaming of the whole ski. Stepping into the warmth of the hotel felt fantastical, and we were greeted with the aromas of baking cardamom, waffles, and coconut cream bolle. Our team swept the kitchen of the pastries and lathered our waffles in sour cream and raspberry jam. The view from where we sat, inside the hotel, out across the lake and valley was absolutely breathtaking. Jørgen discovered the five sandwiches that various team members had made him in the morning for him to eat for lunch. Much to his surprise, he bit into a brown cheese and lettuce sandwich, and exclaimed that Norwegians would never think of a more disgusting combination of ingredients. The acceptable partnering ingredient for brown cheese seemed to be jam in his opinion… 🙂
We braced ourselves for the cold and windswept outdoors, but after stepping outside, we were pleasantly surprised at the warmth of the sun on our backs as we re-waxed our skis (the klister binder wasn’t sticky enough to keep the hardwax from scraping off of our skis onto the abrasive snow). We snapped on our bindings and glided down the trail towards Sjusjøen and Nordseter, and Malcolm, Andy, and I experienced our “first wipeout on Norwegian soil”, as described by Malcolm. I lost all of the speed that I carried into the downhill, and slowly began striding up the hill, far behind the pack. The blue sky shone down upon the taiga characteristic conifers lining the trail, and I imagined the sheep grazing in the summer and little trolls peeking out of the trees and under the bridges, waiting to steal little children passing by.
Many hours and millions of pole plants later, we turned right onto the trail leading back into Nordseter, and descended into the parking lot, where we split into two groups; one who enjoyed a carefree van ride down to Lillehammer, and one who skied the extra seventeen kilometers down to our cabins.
From Nordseter, a significant group of athletes stumbled down the trail back to the Lillehammer stadium and then on towards our appartments. It was about 17km of extra skiing and mostly downhill, which was amazing! The trail was much narrower than everything that we had skied on so far and it gracefully curved through the woods and across multiple roads. By this time, my wax was not working very well, so we were pretty lucky that there were very few large climbs. The trail was also littered with tree debris and other sticks/pine needles. It was a large contrast to the perfect tracks that we had seen up on the plateau.
After arriving back at the appartements, I took a shower and was soooooo happy to finally get warm after a very long ski. After I finally felt warm and dry and clean, I headed outside to clean the klister and hard wax off of my skis. Unfortunately, I missed some on the side walls and proceeded to receive a very low grade (I got a C) from Tim Caldwell (oh well, I still passed the test :). I then headed down into town and meandered around with some other teammates, shopping, buying some norwegian chocolate, and we sat down for tea and hot chocolate at a local cafe. I love the little town of Lillehammer, especially that there are very few cars, so it is easy to avoid them ;).
Once we finished our 28km ski through the beautiful trails of Nordseter, most of us decided to ski home (adding an additional 13Km). Once again, the views were amazing!
It was quite interesting how there were houses–that were being used–right off of the trail, with their only mode of transportation being xc skis.
Like before, the skiing was fantastic, with wide open flats and zippy downhills. After about 50 minutes we arrived back home at our apartments, ready to shower, eat food, and rest.
Slideshow from today: