As we’re roller skiing on the roads near Aure, Norway, we hear a car approaching from behind and move far over to the right side of the road. The driver slows to pass us, giving us a large amount of space, a friendly wave, and a look that says “you’re crazy to move over so far! It’s MY JOB to move for YOU!”
Oooooooh boy. I am so spoiled.
I can already tell it’s going to be a rough transition coming back home, where Cross Country skiing isn’t the biggest national sport, but instead competes for a rare spot as one of the smallest and least-known professions. (Although, let it be known that the fans we do have are VERY passionate and do a great job cheering for us!)
Every time I come to train or race in Norway, Sweden or Finland, I gain a deeper appreciation for our sport and where it comes from. I mean, Football’s cool and all that, but it wasn’t invented by Vikings. Basketball and Hockey are awesome, but the players get to rest at halftime. There’s no calling time outs or commercial breaks in XC racing. Not in the Viking Sport. Maybe that’s why Cross Country skiing is such an enigma; because it’s one of the hardest things you can do, yet at entry-level everyone in the world can do it and enjoy it. And when you’re in Scandinavia, it seems like everyone in the world actually does ski! I feel like I’m on some sort of sporting pilgrimage.
So here I am, in Aure with my USST teammates, basking in the sunshine…and thunderstorms, because let’s be real…we’re on the west coast of Northern Norway! We’re enjoying the chance to see a new part of the world and train on rolling terrain along the fjords, and we’ve done a lot of point-t0-point skis and runs in order to see as much as possible.
Here’s a bunch of photos to show you what we’ve been up to the last few days, and stay tuned for updates as the races begin next week! For more photos and stories, check out our SMST2 team website, as it’s updated a few times weekly by everyone on the team. https://smst2.wordpress.com