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Posts Tagged ‘XC skiing’

XC tracks in Orsa Grönklitt - beautiful conditions!

…I’ll ski there too I once had a t-shirt that read. Still have it, in fact. I got it on a ski trip in Canada in the 90’s. Back then I was all about alpine skiing, now I’m more into XC-skiing. For many reasons – it’s cheaper, it’s much better in terms of excercise and it’s quite social.

This past weekend we went to Orsa in Dalarna with my “sports club” at work, just like we have the last two winters. This year however, we’d managed to time the coldest weekend of the winter – sporting some 20 degrees Celcius below zero on Saturday, and warming up (!) to 15 below on Sunday.

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Cold, colder, coldest. I was exhausted too. And cold.

I’d pretty much brought all my winter gear, and yet figured it’d be a good idea to invest in a fleece balaclava. One of my better decisions this winter. As long as you kept moving it wasn’t so ad, but once you stopped…brrrr! Freezing! 
 
We managed to ski 12,5 km before lunch, and after treating some abraisons on my heals (I never learn) we set out for another 11,5 km in the afternoon. It nearly killed me. A, who had come along for the weekend, forgets from time to time that I’m: older than him, a woman, overweight and have a body riddled with arthritis. Thus, he tends to expect too much from me. Darkness was falling too, and it got so much colder – instantly – when the sun set. 
 

In the evening we went out to dinner at Fryksås Hotell – a lovely three course set meal. Yum! We were all so worth it! 

Breakfast time in the cabin.

 
We stayed in a brand new cabin, all ten of us. It was so nice, with five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a sauna (of course). 
 
The next day, Sunday, it was a balmy 15 degrees below zero, and we got ourselves ready for another day on the trails. I’d intended to ski 10 km, but my heals stopped me after a mere 5 km 😦 I felt week and didn’t perform as well as I’d hoped, but I simply couldn’t go on.
 

Instead I skied through the forest over to Smidgården in Fryksås – the best lunch place, possibly ever. The wiews are stunning, the cakes wicked and the lunches both yummy and filling.

Views toward Orsasjön, Lake Orsa, from Smidgården in Fryksås.

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Hi, remember me?! If not, totally understandable – I’ve been (very) absent. But I’m back!

Christmas was lovely, though A thought he’d starve to death one day, and die from eating too much the next. New Years was spent down south, in his home town Karlskrona. It was also nice, but I still have some – idiotic – issues with that place, so I’m just as happy coming back home again. It’ll get better with time, I’m sure.

We had a fabulous long weekend in London before Christmas, and the travelling will continue this year – even more – it’s like I’m returning to my old self, constantly on my way somewhere. Woohoo!

First up is a weekend XC-skiing in Orsa, just like the past two years. Hopefully I’ll see something this year…

A month later we’re heading to the Big Apple – New York City! I’m not quite sure how that came about, but A and I had collected enough bonus points with Star Alliance to get one ticket for free, so we (mainly A!) thought “what the heck” and booked it. Woot woot! How cool’s that?! Such a spontaneous booking, but it’s going to be fantastic 🙂

Ten days after returning from NYC we’re going to the Swedish island of Gotland, where my parents just bought a sharehold (?) (a house owned with others, they get to use it 10 weeks per year). We’ll be there for a long weekend, working two days from there instead of the office.

And just now we booked our summer holiday in…CANADA!!! My favourite country of all times. We’re doing a road-trip from Edmonton to Vancouver, from prairie to the Pacific. It’s going to be legendary!

If anyone has any tips to share on either of those destinations, please let me know!

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Yep, that pretty much sums up our Easter. As I mentioned briefly as the train pulled out of Stockholm Central Station, A and I were due north for a bit of XC skiing. I should perhaps mention that A hadn’t skied for the last 15 years, and even before that he didn’t have much practice (he’s from the end of the country that barely ever gets snow). So, with this knowledge, I still booked us in for a full three day XC skiing “adventure”, between three different mountains, totalling just under 50 km. Some girlfriend, eh?

Upon arrival at Storulvån it took forever to get our rented skis, poles, boots and skins (?), but we finally set off around lunch time. We knew we had 16 km of skiing ahead of us, and that it might be even longer by the time we reached a river crossing, as the sunny warm weather was causing the waters to open sooner than expected. So off we went! A reminded me, very much, of Bambi (even if Bambi was on ice) – bless! He did not seem at all comfortable with the skis, and I was, and still am, so impressed with him for coming with (though his own comment was that he was stupid in the head to come with 😉 ).

Glorious views towards Sylmassivet.

We arrived at Sylarna late afternoon, the sun still beating down on us. We “checked in”, and found our room that was shared with some 15 others – perfect! I took my boots off and realized I’d lost one toenail (ugh!), and on the way to our sleeping quarters I slipped and twisted/sprained my thumb (ouch!). Except for the intense snoring, the night was peaceful and we got our well deserved rest.

In the morning, A was sore from the first day of skiing, and my thumb still hurt, but after putting the gaitors on we were ready to get going again. We’d gotten up extra early to be sure we’d make it across the water before the snow started to melt, and because we knew we had a long distance to cover. This also meant that the crust on the snow was still frozen, which in turn meant it was a lot harder for us amateurs to break on our way down the mountain… I fell several times, one of them hard, forwards, hitting my water bottle up my chin – ouch! Hello bruise…

Yep, XC skiing is THAT much fun!

It was a long, second, day, but even A found that he was enjoying himself. Down a mountain, up a mountain, down a mountain and up another mountain, and bam – we were at our destination; Blåhammaren. This is my favourite mountain “hut”, and for the evening we’d booked ourselves a part in the Easter buffet they put on – yum!

Again we spent the night in a room with 20+ others, and again we were totally knocked out from exhaustion – sweet!

The forecast for the third day was a bit shakier, but again we were rewarded with an amazing, sunny day. I made sure A understood that we can never go back and do the same trip again, as we’ll never have as nice weather as we did this Easter! On our final day we only had 12 km to ski, mainly downhill – our weakest technique. But we took our time and even stopped to have one last coffee break with our goal, Storulvån, in sight. In fact, we made it in such good time, we had time to shower, have lunch and meet a friend who gave us a ride to Åre, instead of us waiting for the bus and train – score!

In Åre my best friend had booked us a room at Holiday Club which was an extremely un-Swedish hotel – but much cherished by these two skiers all the same! All in all we had a fantastic Easter long weekend, and on the last day of skiing A even mention that next time, he’d like his own boots. Or at least that’s what I think he said, as I stopped listening after the words next time… 😉

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Luckily I have a new jacket to keep me warm.

It’s cold. To tell you the honest truth it’s actually flipping freezing in the Arctic North. The city of Stockholm has had highs of -10 degrees Celsius this week. Yes, I said highs. It’s crazy! And I love it! Except on the days when I’ve opted for a dress and stockings, like today. That’s just stupid. Yesterday I wore fur, and today I’m in stockings? Daft. It’s just that I thought they said it’d get warmer today, like to -6 C or something. You know – warm.

We had the coldest November in 100 years, and December isn’t looking any “better”. Oh, and today we had a full 6 hrs 25 mins and 12 seconds of sunlight!

Seeing as I’m leaving for the hot south in a mere two weeks (woot woot!) I’m trying to make the most of it by attending Christmas markets, going hiking, and hopefully getting in some cross country skiing this weekend 🙂 I’d love to get a few clicks into my system before I head south!

Gorgeous Stockholm! My knees were numb by the time I got back from this walk...

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Wow. I mean, like, WOW!!! How anyone can complain about winter when we get days like these, I’ll never understand. This has easily been the most wonderful weekend, weatherwise, of the year! Just incredible.

It’s obvious to me, but it might not be to you: the wide open white areas in the photos and video clip below is of course the frozen Lake Mälaren. Yep, all this activity goes on on the snow covered ice! And yep, it scares the bejeezus out of me every time the ice goes “TJONG!” as a new crack forms, but it’s been cold enough for  long enough for it to be safe. However, one should of course always keep [ice-prods] with them.

Enjoying a winter weekend in Stockholm, capital of Sweden!

I woke up freakishly early yesterday, Saturday, with the sun shining through my blinds before 7 am. I figured I might as well bite the bullet and get up, so I did and headed straight to the gym. I spent an hour there and then whole heartedly spent a good chunk of time cleaning my flat before going upstairs for some fika with my best friend. After that it was time for the Supercup final at Råsunda – a kickoff to the coming season, starting next weekend, if you will. I walked across the lake (kind of like Jesus) to get to the tube; and boy, was it ever nice in the wonderful sun! AIK beat IFK Göteborg (third time in a row now, hehe) and thus won the cup, much to the delight of me and the handful of other supporters that were there. There was a ridiculous turn-out to the game, and one I entirely blame SvFF for.

Then last night I was invited over to a friend’s to watch the Melodifestival, so after a quick (yet healthy!) dinner I headed to Söder, where we had tea and low-fat (of course) micro popcorn. A very good night! Then home, watch more footy on TV and bed. Great day!

This morning wasn’t quite as sunny (got better throughout the day though), so I woke up at nine. Got up, had oatmeal with banana, raisins and cinnamon before getting ready to head out for some XC skiing. Of course, it’s also the day of Vasaloppet, so I put that on the telly for some inspiration 😉 Again I stopped off upstairs for a cup of coffee first (thanks guys!). Then off I went, and I loved, loved, loved it!!! I skied as shown on this map:

This is the route I skied today, according to Google some 6 km!

This was the route I skied today, some 6 km according to Google!

According to Google maps it was about 6 km in total, so not very far at all, and I did it at a very relaxed pace, stopping to take photos and to send and receive text messages. There were so many people out and about – on foot, with prams, jogging, on skis, biking – I’m not kidding! It’s truly been a spectacular day. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend as well. Now I have to do some work 😦

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Yeah, so the Olympics are on in the city of my dreams – Vancouver – if anyone hadn’t noticed. Sweden, reigning Olympic champions in hockey, just played themselves out of the tournament by a shockingly poor, and slow, performance against Slovakia, but I’m not too surprised. I wasn’t expecting much from them, not even a medal, but I guess I still thought they’d make it past the quarter final. Oh well, moving on – we’ve done incredibly well in the XC skiing, and as that’s my new personal passion I find great joy in that!

However, during these Olympic games I find that people stare at me on the tube, on the streets, everywhere… Why? Well, I guess I don’t look like your average Swedish fan…oops!

On my way back from the gym...the observant reader will notice that I'm also wearing a Roots hoodie. Ok, and a pair of sweat pants with UBC written across the bum. Ok fine! - yes, the boots were bought at MEC...geez, get off my case already! 😉 Who you calling a wannabe? What, me?!

Like my good friend Brooke writes, I too am smitten with the mittens! They’re apparently all the hype out west, and people are queuing up for ages to lay their hands on a pair. Hell, they even write about the mitts on Swedish TV’s Olympic website, and I’ve seen that one can win a pair in some competiton on Finnish TV; YLE. Me, I’m so darned lucky to have great Canadian peeps in my life, and have actually had a pair since early January, thanks to my friend Andrew, and I also received my incredibly stylish Believe toque from my sister (second family) Jodi on Tuesday! Yay – Go Canada…ehr, I mean Sweden! 😀

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You know the saying “all work, no play”, right? Well, this weekend was the opposite – I went away with work, and it was all play, fun and games! It was my first cross country skiing weekend – ever! As you can tell by my short youtube clip below, I’m not good at this, but I had oh so much fun! I went up to Orsa Grönklitt in Dalarna, with five colleagues to practice our XC skills. Well, three of us had none to start out with, but I’d say we improved very much over the course of the weekend. My personal record going up north was 6 km in one day, but on Saturday I skied 6+5+5 km, and on Sunday a whopping 14 km in one go! (The youtube clip is from Sunday, and I was beat).

Acting like an idiot, doesn't make me one, ok?!

The weather wasn’t great, but at least it wasn’t as cold as it has been of late. It was about -7 C, but with precipitation that made my hair freeze into a ball, and kind of gave you a mustache of ice. The surroundings were beautiful, and there were many different tracks/courses to choose from, varying in distance and difficulty. My favourite one was the 5 km track in the spruce forest, around a frozen lake, but I very much enjoyed the 11 km track that led me and my colleague Sara, up to a fäbod [hut] on a mountainside – through the forest! I almost felt like a Norwegian skiing up there 😉 (Norwegians of course always being ultra hearty and sporty).

I had such a great time, and the excercise is actually fun (this is a new feeling for me), soooo…(and I’m sure I’ll have reason to regret saying this many times)…I’m going to seriously consider Tjejvasan sometime in the future. It’s a 30 km race for women only, and there are some 7 500 skiers participating. How about that?!

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