For one month or so from the middle of January 2022, I went to Norway. First to meet with the group organised by Norwegian company Hvitserk with whom I will be going to Greenland, and then to go out by myself. The aim of the training: to get ready for both Greenland and the planned solo journey to the South Pole.
In going with Hvitserk to Greenland, I will be in a group of seven other people, including two guides. A nicely sized group and it was great getting to meet them all to go skiing with them and get used to the equipment we will be using on Greenland. So we spent a good four days or so, skiing around near Ustaoset, on to the Hardangervidda.
It was a good few days. Definitely felt the effects of not having skied properly for a few years–though am not sure if you can call my skiing “proper” anyway! I had only really been on the flat sea ice before this, and here we were going up and down these hills, which proved pretty challenging. I struggled quite a bit especially at first, trying not to fall over on the downhills, and going slower on the climbs up. But eventually I improved and wasn’t falling over too often when going downhill by the end of it! Uphills… it was varied. The snow can make such a huge difference. When there was slightly softer snow that wasn’t deep, it was fine. Though then there are times when it is really hard, wind-blown and compact, and it was difficult to dig the steel edges of the skis into it and get grip to go up, even with the skins on.
Then there was the time skiing across a frozen lake: rock solid ice with no snow cover on top and no way to get any grip with the skis. While I didn’t fall over, we crossed it in pretty strong head winds so occasionally I found myself actually being blown backwards! A bit frustrating and slow progress on that day, but good all the same!