Tag Archives: xcski

The winter of my discontent?

27 Feb

What I feared has come. After three excellent winters in a row, Oslo has finally got a bad one. We’ve had very little snow and now spring has come horribly early.

Even though the calendar says February, temperatures are now regularly climbing up toward the teens. Today skies are clear but a good bit of the little precipitation we’ve had has come as rain.

So now it’s already Easter conditions requiring sticky klister wax if you go classic. I’ve preferred to skate to avoid depression. The up side with that is you can climb fast on an icy track. Then, whatever technique you choose, you scream through the downhill. Just requires steely nerves because ice is not forgiving, particularly when you’re going fast.

But maybe the risk is bigger to my mood than to my body. Skiing keeps my mood on an even keel. Happily it’s still possible to ski right now in the Oslo forest. But I have to travel because conditions on my home trail are getting hopeless.

In years past that trail got prepared double-wide for skating. I would go before work on a new prepared trail and it was pure joy. I could hone the way I took every corner and every change in elevation. It was great technique practice and extremely pleasurable. This year the trail has only been prepped single-wide because there’s not enough snow. And now conditions are such that it’s not even worth skiing classic.

But no use being bitter about what you can’t change. Maybe there are other things in life than skiing. Maybe. Perhaps I should just hope for an early rollerski season. Less heartbreak there.

Still, maybe there’s hope. I spoke to a very kind conductor on the train to the closest remaining snow. She assured me that we would “get another winter” in week or two’s time. Let’s hope she’s better at foretelling weather than her employer is at predicting train arrival times.

Winter techniques

17 Dec

A great thing about skiing is that it’s not just skiing. There are a whole host of related activities you need to master to be good. One, quite obvious one, is ski waxing. Both glide and grip. I feel like I’ve been doing that better lately. Yesterday, however, I failed miserably at grip waxing. I started out with violet wax and got no grip. Since most of my trip was downhill, I figured I’d just double pole and then put on some softer grip wax when I turned around to go back. Then, since I was slipping so bad when I tried to kick, I went straight for red wax. That was a bad choice and my skis instantly loaded up with with snow killing all my glide. As I struggled back to my start point I got passed by people. Not so usual for me.

Today I made a better choice. I focused on making the “wax pyramid” whose crest lies right in the middle of the curve of the ski in the kick zone. This structure along with the flavor of wax I had chosen worked well on my roughly 28km ski trip today. My skis slipped a tiny bit but glided extremely well.

The snow was light at the bottom of the hill but got progressively much better. I went with my old touring skis in the event there would be gravel at the start. But I took my good poles since the route had a lot of double-poling.

On the way back I got to hone another one of my skills. I love taking the bus to go ski. It makes me feel stronger than those who feel they need the comfort of a car. But when I’m lightly clothed and it’s cold, I need special bus techniques. With the current snow conditions I have to go far, with several bus changes. I therefore plan my route in advance with layovers in cafés and grocery stores. That way I can drink something hot and eat some energy while staying warm. The way home takes a little longer, but it’s bearable in spite of the cold.

As you say in Norwegian: alt skal læres. Everything will be learned.

Finally snow in Oslo!

7 Dec

The weather forecast didn’t see this coming. Happy happy happy! More later on how the skiing turned out.

Rollerski Vendée

20 Jul

Yesterday’s rollerski greenway tour took me deep into the heart of France’s traditionally royalist region, La Vendée. Don’t know how Catholic it is to go rollerskiing in lycra tights, but the greenway is without a doubt fit for a king.

The start point, just Northeast of the rail station, is, to say the very least, inauspicious:

However the path quickly opens up and tranquilly leads the rollerskier high above the downtown chaos of La Roche-sur-Yon via an elevated railway right of way. You escape in an heartbeat from the bustling town into bucolic countryside.

The path is narrower than the Brittany Greenway, but still just large enough to go comfortably with skate style rollerskis. Yesterday was windy after the passage of a storm, leaving a fair amount of leaves and twigs fallen from the trees shading the path. But that didn’t pose too much of a problem. That just meant I had to double-pole through the heavily shaded damp spots with tree droppings to avoid skidding out.

The asphalt was fast rolling, allowing me to log my fastest speed ever on slow-wheeled rollerskis. But on the down side, some of the road crossings were less than perfect. The passages between the barriers were difficult to negotiate at speed, leading to a near crash. Moreover, the initial ones required you to traverse stretches of dirt.

However, on the up side, unlike the Britanny Greenway, there weren’t any barriers to slow you down when you crossed tiny agricultural paths. Moreover, the narrow width of this greenway never became much of an issue because the traffic was very light. The only problem was a herd of English cycle tourists who obnoxiously sped up as I passed them. F*ing royalists!!

I only sampled a third of the greenway’s 31km. But the experience makes me want to come back. Overall rating for the Vendée Greenway: 15/20.

Season’s last ski tour in Oslo

25 May

Early- and late-season specialist Tom Stensaker got in one last ski tour 19 May.  As usual, it happened in the Oppkuven area of the Northwest Oslo Forest. Story and pictures here.

He closes his account of the trip by saying  that upon his departure the frogs in the nearby Bittelille Oppkuvvann lake could mate in peace and quiet without being disturbed by skiers working overtime!

My ski season in numbers

30 Apr
  • Longest trip : 68km, 15 January, Kjelsås to Sørkedalen skole
  • Fastest average pace on snow : 18,9km/h, 31 March, 8,65km on my local
  • Max speed : 66,1 km/h, 23 January, coming back down from Søndre Hegglivann
  • Most elevation gained : 1,013m, 12 March, Birkenprøven from Rena to Lillehammer
  • Fastest average pace on slow rubber wheels : 18,3 km/h, 19 April, Maridalsveien/Gamle Maridalsveien
  • Fastest up Grefsenkollen from Skeidbanen (fast wheels) : 17:04, 10 October 2010
  • Kilometers training since May 2010 (a little lower than actual) : 4 890
  • Calories burned training since May 2010 : 344 555

Oslomarka cross country video

19 Apr

Nice video that shows a lot places I ski in the Oslo forest. Doesn’t show local trail prep in its best light, but the landscapes are pretty.