Tag Archives: Ridderrennet

Cross country ski week in Norway!

Cross country ski week in Norway

Ridderrennet in Beitestolen Norway

Once again we gathered at Oslo airport, took the four-hour bus journey in driving snow up to the resort of Beit stolen.

The organisation of this event is so good that the army is waiting to help you with your bags when you reach the hotel, volunteers from the Lions Club are there to help you find food in the restaurant  and them your assigned guide helps you through the finding skis and boots out onto the slopes, well undulations as this is cross-country skiing and you are powering yourself up as well as guiding yourself down the terrain.

You can do downhill/alpine and my room mate, Joe McKeown came second in his category to add to a bunch of other medals from the group..

The weather conditions were stunning this year. Piles and piles of snow bashed down into great tracks for your skis to find and clear skies to light up the tracks for those with a little sight. My third time of asking but actually the 50th time the event has been run.

Some veterans in our group such as Mike Brace and Jim Denton as well as a novice in the form of Maurice Williams. Everyone had a great time whether it was learning, improving or competing in the biathlon, 5k 10k or 20k. I hadn’t done the sonic shooting before but really enjoyed it, especially as part of the biathlon.

If you like exercise, enjoy a challenge and enjoy the outdoors, this is for you. The tracks make it ideal for visually impaired and the technique to get moving, double polling or good old-fashioned diagonal skiing soon gets you in the mood.

Oh, and the army also man/woman drinks stops out on the course. It is such a beautiful landscape, and a real pleasure to be out enjoying the mountain air, keeping fit and every excuse to fill your boots at all of the meals provided at the hotel.

The evenings are also covered including quiz, comedy evening, talent show as well as the awards ceremonies for the races. Harish’ performance on stage, singing his own song, was one of the highlights for me this time around!

article by Chris Lewis

 

Ridderrennet 2017 – a lack of snow but no lack of fun!

Cross Country Skiing in Norway - Ridderrennet 2017

Ridderrennet 2017  – Article by Chris Lewis

Ridderrennet, for the non-initiated, is a week of disabled cross-country skiing put on by the Norwegians, featuring the King’s guards from the army, students from the Sports Science degree course and a wealth of volunteers from across Norway.

Cross country skiing is ideal for us vision impaired as the two tracks that skis fit into help guide us up and down the variable Beitostelen terrain. Well, that’s the theory.

The 28 strong British delegation arrived in Beitostelen on Sunday 26th March to find  “the worst snow conditions I have ever seen in my 43 years of attending the event” said Mike Brace. People who can see commented on how much of the mountain’s rock and ground they could see where former years have just shown snow piled up. The organisers shifted the activities from the sports and health centre to the World Cup centre and the fun began.

Chris lewis and Mike Brace
Chris lewis and Mike Brace

Everyone attending gets a guide allocated to them and they disappear during the week into the different parts of the resort to practice their skiing and shooting (with a sonic rifle, no bullets involved). The resort is so compact that everyone returns to the hotel to have lunch and swap stories about their triumphs and challenges. I have, personally, never experienced such a high level of helpfulness in a hotel. The main challenge for the VI attendees is avoiding the many wheelchair skiers hanging around the lobby!

Once the practice is done there is the matter of a couple of races. The biathlon took place on the Wednesday with a series of 2k circuits followed by the shooting. I  bottled out of this as the conditions were ‘a bit challenging’ but those who took part had a lot of fun. The 8k race on Thursday and the actual Ridderrennet race on Saturday see the military band come out, lots of loud music and tension mounting as people compete against time and each other.

The atmosphere on Saturday was excellent with a couple of Norwegian Ministers also joining in the battle to get up hill as quickly as possible, gulping in deep breaths of fresh air at the top before plunging downhill again. I can honestly say  I have never done anything quite so physically challenging.

The race was made more fun by my fellow Devils cricketer, Alan Turnball, being alongside me at one point and some very choice language being used when I fell across his path. He wasn’t to know that he had just sworn at a Minister of the Norwegian Crown as well!

Chris Lewis and a Minister of the Norwegian Crown at Ridderweek in Norway 2017
Chris Lewis and a Minister of the Norwegian Crown at Ridderrennet in Norway 2017

The British delegation featured some real veterans like Mike Brace (43rd year of attending) as well as some newcomers who took to the sport like ducks to water (bad analogy). It is a fantastic week of challenging yourself against nature and also presents an opportunity to mix with fellow VIPs as well as those from other countries.

My favourite memory, though, is waiting for a car at the top of the mountain and seeing an army Volvo estate go past me with a wheelchair fixed to the ski racks at the top. I got pretty accustomed to people in wheelchairs shooting past me on the course.

Congratulations to the Norwegians for putting on such a fantastic inclusive sporting event and to all who participated in the British delegation. If you’ve never given it a chance, keep an eye out for next year’s event.

It’s a sport that demands a great deal physically but gives pleasure back in spades both from a sporting and social perspective.

article by Chris Lewis

Ridderweek

  • Ridderweek is held in March or April in Beitostolen Norway.
  • You have the opportunity to participate in a 5km race for women or a 10km race for men; a biathlon (a 6km ski coupled with sonic rifle shooting); and the 20km Ridderrennet race.
  • You can read Metro member’s accounts of the previous Ridderweeks by accessing the ‘articles’ link on this page.
  • Contact Mike: mike@mikebrace.co.uk  for enquiries about next years skiing trip

 Interested in VI skiing  then check out  the Metro blind Sport’s Skiing page