Metro Annual Ski trip
On the 8th of March 2015 a group of 23 (including 5 sighted partners) left the UK on six different flights for Beitostolen in Norway to take part in the 52nd Ridder Week.
I arrived at 5.30 am at Heathrow terminal 5 (which is massive) and came across Mike and Mo Brace wandering around in the duty free. Eleven of us were newbies to cross county skiing. So what were our first impressions? It was a three hour journey by coach to the hotel. Not being one for sight seeing tours for obvious reasons, even I couldn’t fail to be impressed by the scenery en route.
After checking in and eating far too much of the excellent food in the restaurant it was off to the sports hall to meet our individual guide for the week.Monday morning came and it was time to tackle the snow for the first time. It felt very strange wearing skis and I cautiously began taking a few pigeon steps hanging on to the ski poles for dear life. My guide Oliver then informed me there was a hill – too late I was already at the bottom of it in a heap.
Part of the challenge was learning to communicate effectively with the guides who had quite a task on their hands not only were they having to adjust to the level of sight their participant did or didn’t have but they had to convey these instructions and directions in English. As the week progressed I gradually improved my technique to just about a passable level and managed to complete the 10k event in a time acceptable to me.
For someone who was very dubious about going on a cold holiday, I thoroughly enjoyed being outside in the clean mountain air away from the noise and stress of London (well Surrey actually).
Away from the cross country skiing there were other snow based activities available including snowboarding and snowshoeing. Also a few members of our party were lucky enough to get a ride behind the huskies on the dog sled which was part of a multi-sports day that had been arranged.
Evenings usually consisted of indulging in the evening meal and catching up with each other’s triumphs and disasters of the day. There was entertainment laid on in the evenings including a karaoke and a talent night on which we were treated to Harish’s dulcet tones crooning away and strumming his guitar.
For someone for the word holiday usually means packing bikinis and sun lotion I think I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this whole experience Physically it was quite challenging and I think you do need a reasonable level of fitness to get the most out of it. I am certainly planning to go again and look forward to improving on my techniques and knocking ten minutes off my time for next year.
– article by Joanna Turnbull