Til fjells! Hit the slopes!

Enjoy Norway’s favorite Eastertime sport

downhill

Photo: Colourbox
This Easter, Editor-in-chief Lori Ann Reinhall encourages you to think about participting in the Norwegian national sport of skiing. For most, it’s never too late!

LORI ANN REINHALL
Editor-in-chief
The Norwegian American

Not everyone is born with skis on their feet. In fact, unlike most Norwegians, you may hail from a part of North America where there are no mountains or snow. For you, the thought of putting on a pair of skis and learning to ski as adult might be intimidating.

But fear not: skiing is a sport that everyone can enjoy—even downhill skiing. You have to be prepared for a few awkward moments, but even as adult, you can learn how to ski and enjoy it.

Skiing may be just the thing for your spring break vacation, as you head to the mountains like your Norwegian forebears, relatives, and friends. It may be the right time to try things out or at least take inspiration and start planning for next year.

Get yourself outfitted

First things first: it’s important to have the right gear for downhill skiing, but the initial investment need not break the bank. Remember that skiing is a sport, not necessarily a fashion show on snow.

Think about buying used equipment to start out with and start your search early during the off-season. Swap markets can be a gold mine, and there are many resources online. Goodwill is even a good source. With some effort, it should be possible to get good skis, bindings, and boots for around $400. End of the season this spring is a great time to get ready for next year.

If you have old equipment that has been stored in your basement for decades, it makes sense to upgrade: a lot has happened in ski technology since you were in high school or college.

Another option is to rent from a local ski shop that rents skis for the entire season. Some shops may even offer the option to purchase everything at a discounted rate at the end of the ski season.

Renting definitely makes sense if you are traveling to a ski area from a non-ski area to put in a week or two on intensive practice to try out the sport.

The same goes for your clothing: it is much cheaper to buy used gear. It is important to be comfortable when you are outdoors, so spend enough time to get what you need to stay warm (but not too warm). One thing you must have is a good helmet, in case you—heaven forbid—fall or collide with another skier.

Practice makes perfect

If you only go skiing once a year or even less, you cannot expect that you will be mastering the slopes anytime soon. Initially, you should be prepared to put in the time it takes to develop the needed skills.

For those who live near a ski area, this might mean signing up for a regular series of classes and sticking to them. Otherwise, you’ll have to get used to watching the other skiers tear down past you during your annual ski trip.

If you can afford it, purchase a season’s pass—and make sure you use it. Repetition will be the key to your success on the slopes. Consecutive days of skiing will also speed up your progress if you can manage this with your schedule. Remember, you did not learn how to swim or to ride a bike in one or two days.

It’s also important to remember that before you start a new skiing regime that you already have a certain amount of physical fitness. Ramp up your summer and fall workout schedule to make sure you are ready to tackle the slopes.

You may want to have a physical and talk with your doctor to make sure that downhill skiing is the right sport for you.

Just in the way the ski gear has changed over the years, so has technique. While you never really forget how to ski, if you haven’t done it for a long time, it makes sense to take a refresher course.

Finally, don’t try to go it alone. Ski with your family or a friend, both for good company and safety. It also helps to set realistic goals and remember that practice really does make perfect.

And for those of you who can’t ski for health or other reasons, it’s fun to head to the mountains, no matter what, especially at Eastertime. There is fresh air and sunshine, brilliant white snow and spectacular scenes, the apres-ski fun, quality family time together, friendship, and camaraderie. God tur!

 

This article originally appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.

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