Learning to Walk the Norwegian Way

And by learning to walk of course I mean learning to ski! Though if I’m calling skiing the Norwegian way of walking I should be referring to cross-country skiing, while this post is actual about the easier yet also more dangerous kind of skiing: alpine.

Foto: Silvia Lawrence
Foto: Silvia Lawrence


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I’ve dabbled in downhill skiing before, but always with several years between each attempt, which hasn’t been quite enough to make me an expert on the slopes. Though when I was about five years old I did win a silver medal at ski school!

And then the next time I went skiing was when I was twelve, and then again when I was 23. My friend Ashley and I were in Hokkaido for the Sapporo Snow Festival and found a cheap deal for a day of skiing at Niseko, a nearby ski resort, but after optimistically hopping on a chair lift up the resort’s most impressive mountainside we had to take the ride of shame straight back down again and head to the baby slope instead.

So I’m pretty thrilled to now find myself armed with a season ski pass, living just a kilometer down the road from Vierli, one of Rauland’s ski resorts.

Bye bye, bunny slope

Foto: Silvia Lawrence

Olympics, here I come!

Foto: Silvia Lawrence

Kidding of course, though my boyfriend Dan might not be. Soon after we decided to move to Rauland Dan dreamt that on his first day of skiing he qualified for the English national team, giving an interview to Sky Sports saying how he felt bad for all the people he beat who have been skiing all their life. And I’d say his confidence has only grown since then.

So how did his first try go?

Dan, boyfriend. Foto: Silvia Lawrence
Dan, boyfriend. Foto: Silvia Lawrence

Erm, apparently I’m not the best ski instructor. Luckily for us, the people at Vierli took pity and offered us a ski lesson from a pro. And sure enough, within half an hour Thora, our instructor, had us zooming down Vierli’s intermediate slope. It’s amazing how much easier it is to ski when you’re following in an expert’s tracks.

Thora explained exactly how we were meant to shift our weight (essentially the opposite to what I had been doing) and even though she had cruelly taken our poles from us skiing suddenly became so much easier.

If only Thora would join me every time I ventured onto the slopes. Or maybe I should just start following behind strangers. Would that be weird? Do you think if I asked nicely they would offer me a detailed analysis of everything I did right and wrong each time I got to the bottom of the slope?

Anyways, lesson learned: lessons make it easier to learn.

Dan and Thora at Vierli Skisenter. Foto: Silvia Lawrence
Dan and Thora at Vierli Skisenter. Foto: Silvia Lawrence

After Dan and I had our ski lesson at Vierli , I’ve been taking out my skis every chance I get. Like, I’m becoming one of those people who goes skiing before work. Who would have thought? And since basically every Norwegian is a ski master by the age of 3, the easier slopes are always quite empty, which is almost like having my own private ski resort. Well, if only it weren’t for those pesky two-year-olds.

Though I should admit that I’ve been skiing this much more out of laziness than athleticism. You see, the ski lifts here run up some of Rauland’s most impressive slopes, which also happen to offer the most beautiful mountain views in the area. In the summer we hike up these mountains, but during ski season all you have to do is hop on a ski lift! So easy.

Except for the getting back down part. But I’m working on it!

Vierli. Foto: Silvia Lawrence

By Silvia Lawrence- Heart My Backpack