After our lovely tour of the ski museum we headed up to the town of Asker where Astri, Håkon, Aslak and Knut, a family who had lived in Hanover and helped coach the 3rd & 4th graders when the 16 year olds were in that crew, live. It was interesting to be invited into their home willingly, I mean, 15 roudy teenagers can be quite a handful:) Luckily for us we were invited and the boys immidiately began showing off their strength right away, busting out pullups, pushups, and weird parkour things. For a while we hung out with Knut, who is 13, and soon got to enjoy the company of several athletes from the local ski club who wanted to meet us. It was fun talking about our different likes and dislikes, and the different laws in our countries. They were jealous of our 16 year old driving age and we were shocked by their young drinking age.
We spent our early dinner at several different tables and talked while we ate pasta which was delicious. Soon we had to hurry onto dessert though-which was sooo hard to do 😉- and were able to eat waffles with ice cream!! Yum Yum!!
We rushed out of the house at 6:04 one minute earlier than we had to leave by and headed to their local training grounds as the skies darkened. We soon arrived and pulled out our already waxed skis to join the rest of the very large Norwegian crew of skiers. The plan was to ski for about 10k easy so we headed out and intermingled talking from a range of how ice tea tasted like a lollipop that was ground up and dissolved in water to the definition of a club, which is not a tree but a team. The trail was different from ours back home. We generally have shorter fairly steep climbs, whereas this ski was a very gradual up that more felt like a flat but when we came back down it went waaaaay faster. Once we reached our turn around point we took one large group photo of all us Americans and Norwegians together before we headed back.
Part of the workout was to do a 1k doublepole interval when we reached a certain place and finish at a road crossing where we would all regroup, it was really cool to see everyone turn it on and speed up so quickly. When we finally made it back towards the stadium we decided to do a few speeds, see where us ‘Mericans stood among the speedy Norwegians…and there were some pretty close battles. It made a great end of the practice and we were sad to have to say goodbye to our new found friends. I guess they’ll just have to come over to the States!
When we returned to the parking lot we were treated to the surprise arrival from Noah Hoffman and Liz Stephen, both members of the US Ski Team and Liz is from Vermont! We got to have an interesting chat with them and wish them luck before their races this weekend, the 30km and 50km classic marathons that we will be forerunning. It was nice to have such an easy going conversation with them and they seemed just as excited to see us as we were to see them! Sadly our day was soon to come to an end though as we packed up our skis, loaded into the vans, and headed back to our hostel for a much deserved sleep.