With all the fun of the Winter Olympics in the air, we thought we would have a go at Norway’s most popular sport.
Cross country skiing is Norway’s national sport and Tromsøya island built for it. The city of Tromsø is situated on the island of Tromsøya, which is only 9 square miles in size. Just a five-minute drive from the city centre of Tromsø you can find yourself in an astounding landscape: pine trees adorn an island wide ski trail!
We had a private skiing session with two guides from the area who showed us first the basics and then, the more exciting parts of the trail. We took to it quickly but still had trouble stopping. This did not deter us from trying some of the steep (and therefore fast) parts of the trail.
The ski trail goes from one side of the island to the other and acts like a road (just remember to stay on the right), with tracks on either side of a walkway in the middle. The tracks are dug out of the snow to fit the cross-country skis, this helps with gaining speed on down sections and zoom around corners. As complete beginners to the sport, going down hills was exhilarating.
After a quick warm up we felt confident enough to have a go on a few hills and my goodness did we pick up some speed! You could feel the wind rushing past and hear a sound similar to that of a zip line as speed built up. It had not snowed properly in Tromsø for a few days, meaning the snow underfoot was frozen and very slippery, even better for picking up speed.
When we stopped for a break, we skied off the track and enjoyed a warm drink and some lefse (Norwegian delicacy) and enjoyed the view. Although the light was against us at this point, the mountains were still stunning to see.
Our guides told us that when the wind picks up, it can take little effort to travel from one side of the island to the other. You can occasionally see locals taking out some tarpaulin from their bags and use the wind to take them along. What we did see on the trail were locals “walking” their dogs by skiing alongside them.
Our final part of the day was going around part of the competition trail. This meant one thing: tall climbs and big slopes! It was great fun. After speeding around a few more times and the light fading, we headed back. All in all, we spent about four hours on the trail and loved every moment.