Skating through Sunday

2 Jan

Winter Sundays in Norway haven’t changed much in a long time. Provided the weather’s to their liking, which is all that matters to them, hoards will pour out of the city into the surrounding hills to ski.

The snow had taken a hit from recent wild winds and accompanying precipitous temperature swings. There were lots of birch tree sticks, pine needles and cones all over the somewhat hard and rutted snow surface. But it was Sunday and the sun was shining bright, so out they came.

My goal on such days is to ski without overfeeding my misanthropic penchant. On such Sundays that takes strategy. Mine today was to skate.

I took the train a bit deeper into the forest to get to better snow cover to avoid destroying my skate skis on bare scraped rocks. With skating people are in principle easier to pass since you don’t rely on the tracksets like in classic style skiing, but rather on the machine packed snow lying in the middle.

The trail I picked was reasonably widely prepped, so the theory was that I could gleefully whiz past the plodding hoards without breaking my stride. Worked halfway in practice, but not entirely.  For reasons I don’t grasp many Sunday skiers don’t use the tracksets but rather slowly walk with skis on in big groups right up the middle. But who cares, in those cases I jumped into the track and double-poled past them.

The bigger issue was that this was the first time this season I’d taken my skate skis on a trail with significant climbing. That’s usually where I shine, whatever the technique. But in years past my first skate outings have been mightily depressing in terms of skate technique. This time it didn’t feel great, but that’s still a vastly better result than my last first times skating in the season. And promising for the future since I tend to end my seasons feeling more accomplished in skating than in classic.

The hard, rutted trail today contributed significantly to my feeling of bad balance and uneasiness. With a better prepared track I think I might have actually felt OK. With softer and smoother snow I think I would have committed my weight better and rode out the glide longer on each step.

If weather forecasts hold we’ll get significant snowfalls next week that should improve conditions and open more territory to skiing in both styles. It’s important for me to focus on skating early this year since I will be competing in the 76km Transjurassienne race mid February. But I can’t neglect classic either since I’ve got the 90km Grendarløpet the weekend right after.

Wonder what I’ll do when my important races are over so early. Maybe just enjoy skiing.

Trip details:

  • Style: Skating
  • Distance: 15.5km
  • Temperature: -3C



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