This is kinda how I feel everyday here in Finland… OUT OF MY DEPTH! So, it was with a little bit of trepidation and a lot of excitement that I set off for my first cross-country ski outing in the country.
My kummi family lives near to the forest so we set off from the house on skis (they lent me everything) and went to the forest. There is a snowy road that runs through the forest which is prepared with two thin tracks on the opposite edges of the road (if this is making NO sense, please just keep reading and look at the pictures when they come up). These tracks are a bit thicker than your skis and while they don’t do all the work for you, they certainly help. For more info on the difference between downhill skiing and cross-country skiing, click here.
So, I set off with my “pushing style” and soon tired myself out. My kummi mother showed me how to do the “gliding walking style” which feels like how you wish it could feel when you walk normally… for every step you glide a bit. Your arms get involved by holding the ski poles with which you strike the ground in front of you just before you reach your mosted stretched out (or the “zenith of your glide”. I just made that term up). And its opposite arm for opposite leg. and then you just chugg along.
I thought I was doing pretty well when I realised that the four kids we came with were miles ahead and I was being passed by very old people. “I’ll take one slice of Humble Pie to go, please”.
The track was about 2km (it was for old people and kids) and ended in an opened out area for braais and places to warm up. Nice. So we had some hot chocolate, biscuits and sausage grilled on an outside fire. An outside fire in the snow??? Yes, South Africans, believe it!
After the snack and hot chocolate, we fetched our skis (which we put up on a rack with no security, because, people just don’t steal in Finland) and set off back down the track again. Once again the kids were a million miles ahead of me and more old people passed me, but it was so much fun and I throughly enjoyed myself. I would love to do it again.