Clear blue skies, fresh mountain air, the challenge of winter sports and great logistical support – that’s the Ridder week in Norway!
Taking in that first breath of Norwegian mountain air on Sunday 13th March made the lost three years of no skiing disappear very quickly. For the four newcomers with our party of 13 attending this year’s Ridderrennet Winter sports week I suspect it was a very pleasant first experience.
However, it turned out not to be the first and possibly not the best of a lot of things that come as part of being in Beitostelen and joining such a trip.
We used to refer to it as cross country skiing, with tracks cut into the snow to guide us along with our sports student guides. But, the week now includes downhill skiing, snowboarding, biathlon (skiing and shooting), dog sleigh riding, snowshoe walking and some ad hoc tobogganing late at night with little or no supervision.
Despite the Norwegian army being mainly present at some NATO exercises up in the North of Norway, and numbers down to around 250 from the usual 500, the Ridderrennet committee put together all of the usual support services of guides, logistics and volunteers in the hotel to keep us organised throughout the week.
Entertainment is provided in the evenings in the form of a guitarist and singing in the bar as well as some quizzes, bands in the main hall. But, the Metro group seemed to generate its own entertainment throughout the week including the above-mentioned tobogganing.
From a sporting point of view, the exercise is intense. Every day you get a chance to push yourself either downhill or across the various cross country courses – 2k, 5k,10k and even 20k for the Ridderrennet climax on Saturday.
Video below of Metro member Darren Kail downhill skiing
Everything is close to the hotel and bus transport gets everyone back for lunch and a quick rest before heading out again. This year the organisers also laid on some more training classes which is much needed by us compared to the Norwegians who seem to have skied since birth.
The hotel also provides a perfect swimming pool, gym and sauna to relax in, after a hard day on the slopes. It is easy to navigate and plenty of staff provide guidance and assistance with getting the delicious and plentiful food on offer for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I think almost all of the UK contingent also took advantage of the chiropractors working in the hotel each day. Plenty of legs, arms and other more tender parts of the bodies impacted by the exercise and the odd fall from grace required some stretching and clicking courtesy of a really great bunch of practitioners.
A few of my favourite memories:
- Every meal proved to be a chance to hear what everyone else had been up to as well as just getting to know everyone including Ramin’s guide dog Felix!
- The WhatsApp group vibrating with messages offering help to people to the pool, bar or even to do with the sport itself!
- Louise admitted to having eaten five puddings on one evening after a particularly busy day doing cross country and downhill
- Jo finds out that her dog sleigh ride required ten dogs when most of the rest of us only needed eight
- The Metro contingent created their own yoga class after the yoga teacher had left for the week
- Metro initiating tobogganing as a late-night activity on the downhill slopes opposite the hotel (Naqi, remember not to use your hand to break next time!)
- Naqi tinkling the ivories on the piano in the dining room after dinner on several evenings
Video below of Naqi playing the piano!
- The UK contingent winning medals across the events: congratulations to Louise, Debbie, Joanna, Naqi, and Ashfaq.
- The airport assistance people leading two crocodiles of four men and three women respectively through the security on the way back – must have been quite a spectacle for those watching on!
Doubtless, the rest of the attendees have their own favourite memories. Being the eldest I used my status as an excuse to slip off to bed early most nights, but know of many stories of a lot of fun being had by all late into the evening. Perhaps they should as the tradition suggest, ‘stay on tour’!
In short, this is a great week for anyone looking for a series of new experiences, learning to do some winter sports and having the chance to spend a week in a great resort with fellow Metro members and a wide range of people from the US, France, Norway and many others.
Many thanks to Metro for the generous subsidy towards the week.
Bring on next year!
article by Chris Lewis
Metro Annual Skiing trip
- Ridderweek is held in March or April in Beitostolen Norway.
- At Ridderweek there is a 5km race for women or a 10km race for men; biathlon (a 6km ski coupled with sonic rifle shooting); and the 20km Ridderrennet race. 5km race for women or a 10km race for men; biathlon (a 6km ski coupled with sonic rifle shooting); and the 20km Ridderrennet race.
- You can read Metro members’ accounts of the previous Ridderweeks by accessing the ‘articles’ link on this page.
- Contact Mike: email@example.com for enquiries about the skiing trip
Want to know more?
For more information about skiing at Ridderweek for blind and partially sighted people and Metro’s involvement, contact Mike Brace at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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