Paranoid foreigner buys new ski boots

23 Sep

Went early this morning to Oslo Sportslager to buy a new pair of skate ski boots. They opened doors at 7, but I arrived at about half past. At that moment there were already a 100 people waiting in line to get in. An interesting cultural experience. Again, only in Norway.

They’re quite customer service oriented at this sports shop, so the deal was that people were only allowed in when an employee got free to help them. My problem was that I didn’t know whether they had what I needed. The flier for the sale didn’t mention any skate ski boots specifically. It just said they were clearing out their old ski boot stock.

Still had to wait a hour in line. In the drizzle. And when I finally got in, I didn’t find much in the my size. The employee helping me took a first trip to the stockroom and managed to dig up a pair of size 46 Rossignols. As I waited for him to come back, a pair of Alpina’s top model from a couple years ago also magically appeared as I glanced down in a corner by the rollerski equipment. But those were size 46 too.  And, unfortunately, both pairs felt slightly loose.

At that point I was ready to give up and nevertheless take one or the other. I desperately needed a new pair because the zipper has gone out on one of my Alpina boots and has been inconveniently popping open at inopportune moments. That would be trouble in my ski race coming up in France. Seeing my pained look, the man helping me decided, in spite of the mob of customers, to make another brave foray into the stock room. He then finally came back with a size 45 of the Madshus model pictured above.

I have owned Madshus classic boots and have been happy with them, but their skate boots always felt wrong on my wide feet. So, doubting, I tried them. But my feet said “ahh”. Moreover this model is supposed to have more “torsional stiffness” (untwistiness) than any other boot and is also supposed to be “extremely stable”.

I rollerskied to the gym today and can vouch for the stability. I get really good kick too, probably due to the torsional stiffness. So I’m a happy customer.

Once at the gym I did a core strength class. It only lasted 15 minutes, but you can’t work on your abs forever. There were a lot of balance exercises that I think will be fantastic for improving my skiing. The core muscles are the body’s balance muscles.

So feeling happy and balanced I headed to the locker room to prepare for my ski back home. When I got there somebody started saying something to me about ski boots and the snow not coming yet. I thought he had really good eyes to so quickly spot my new boots in my half open locker. Thinking I was getting made fun of, I shot the man a dirty look and protested that I had in fact traveled to the gym by rollerski.

Grabbed my stuff and walked out. Only when I was snapping into my skis in the parking lot did it occur to me that the man in the locker room was the one from the sport shop who made the extra effort to find me a suitable pair of boots.

People in Norway are generally very kind. So if you think someone is taking the piss out of you, you’re usually safe to assume you’re mistaken. So now I feel bad and awkward. Hope I run into the guy again and get to explain I’m a paranoid foreigner with limited Norwegian skills.

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