Straight outta East Oslo

1 Dec

Soon I’ll get into the routine of skiing near my house on weekdays. But before enough snow comes for that to happen the early ski season gives me the opportunity to improvise. Yesterday I went to a lighted ski trail in Furuset, an East Oslo neighbourhood best known for Ikea.

I’d seen that a number of trails had been prepped in the East Forest (Østmarka), while very few have seen the machine’s caress near where I live. Moreover, a bus passing near my apartment took me close to the starting point.

I’d reasoned that crowds would be lighter over there since the ski fanatics mostly live near me. That wager turned out right. I only saw one other skier. But the problem was that in the absence of skiers the dog-walkers think the trails are prepped for them. Snow cover was light, and it was therefore difficult to distinguish between brown rocks poking up through the snow and frozen piles of shit.

It’s a shame poorer people ski don’t ski much. The sport is made for them. The equipment costs a pittance and trail use is free. Before Norwegians had money, it was one thing available to most everyone. But these days it seems like the sport is losing its popular soul. While cross-country skiing still remains staunchly white, it is now a mostly upper class activity. You rarely see anything but shiny, late model station wagons in trailhead car parks. And all too few bother to take the bus.

In fact I think a significant motivator behind the weekend crowds on ski trails is a dodgy identity affirmation thing. While they may not necessarily enjoy it, skiing is what, in contrast to the rest of the the population, white Norwegians do. So they feel social pressure to go out en masse to be Norwegian.

I wonder why eating rotten or lye-soaked fish wouldn’t be enough?

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