Day 6: First Day in Lillehammer

by Kennedy

I awoke at 7:30 sharp to frantically get ready for a 7:45 run through the immediate neighborhood around our appartements. The weather was sort of foggy and wet, which was pretty similar to what the weather has been like on and off throughout our trip. On our run/walk, we explored some of the youth olympic game centers, which were relatively new because the games were held recently in 2016 (last year). Starving, we returned to the Caldwells’ apartment (also John, Keelan, and Erik’s living space) for a delicious breakfast of oatmeal with some fun and interesting toppings.

After going back to our own appartements after breakfast, we got ready for an exciting ski adventure in Sjusjøen (a small town close to Lillehammer). We rearranged all of the classic skis, which had been compiled into a few ski bags for forerunning, and some of us finished wiping klister off of them (yuck!). After piling them into the vans and locking our apartments, we were ready to set off into the fog.

The van ride was pretty quiet and I almost fell asleep as we drove through the thick fog and snow up high into the mountains. When we arrived at the ski center, it was obvious that Sjusjøen had a lot of snow and it was probably more snow than I have ever seen! At least a few feet! To our delight, we were able to use hard wax – not klister :). We quickly waxed and set out for a classic ski that we were told would last 1.5-2 hours (we may have gotten a little carried away, but it was very worth it!).

The ski was AMAZING! Everything was blindingly white and the trees, which were very spread out, were covered in snow. There were multiple classic tracks covering the entire trail, but they had to be broken in a little because they had been filled with a layer of snow. My wax was a little sticky so occasionally if I got too far forward, I would almost fall on my face (I did end up falling once :). It was like a winter wonderland with breathtaking scenery (well, we couldn’t actually see much because of the fog and snow, but I am sure it would have been beautiful… ). We skied on the Birkie trail and also on some trails off of it, avoiding going to the top of a nearby hill due to the extremely low visibility. We even saw some people setting up a food stop for the Birkebeiner race! We ended up skiing for over 2.5hours and by the end, we were all pretty hungry. It was so fun to see all of the people out skiing – I wish that I lived here! It seems as though everyone skis, which is amazing!

We arrived back at our appartements around 2:30 to eat lunch around 3:00 (we were all pretty hungry!). I took a quick shower before eating because I felt pretty damp and chilled. Lunch consisted of sandwiches, which we made ourselves. I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of the brown cheese (it is very sweet and bitter at the same time…), but I tried it anyways. After lunch, I headed into town with a bunch of other JNT’ers to look around and explore. Liz was very excited because she found waffles :). A few people also made their way to the sauna, but I am not a huge fan of saunas, so I stayed a safe distance away.

The town of Lillehammer is beautiful! There is one main street without cars down the center and it is full of shops, cafés, and other stores. We made the observation that there were a significantly higher number of women’s clothing stores than men’s – I am still not sure why. I stopped with some people at a cafe and most of us ordered hot chocolates with whipped cream (yummy!). Some others went on a sweater search to find the most expensive one (they are really nice!). I also tried to make my way down towards the lake that Lillehammer rests above, although an electric train track blocked our path. Deciding to turn around, I wandered back up the hill to our apartments and arrived at exactly 6:00 (I had promised to be back by 6:00 sharp:) My friends and I also had a snowball fight on the way back and came up with a creative gangster story to fool some of our teammates with. This story consisted of us throwing snowballs and the gangsters hitting us with mini fireworks (unfortunately, we didn’t fool very many people… Only Liz ; )

Dinner consisted of lentil soup and frittata, which were both delicious! Another side note: Adam joined us safely today around lunch time. It is very nice to see him finally and learn about his exciting JN’s experience.  

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