I am not going to lie, I have been dreading my class’s first ‘topptur’ trip. Despite everyone agreeing that mountain trips are so much better on skis, I have been hesitant all year. This morning I rolled out of bed, got dressed, and made my make-shift dirty chai latte. When I was sufficiently loaded with caffeine, I loaded the bus with my ski gear: skis, ski boots, ski poles, backpack with: shovel, avalanche probe, helmet, down jacket, skins, and lunch.
The trip was overall great. I can’t say they same for my ski skills though. I really struggled with how to go up the mountain. People seemed confused by it, but I didn’t know how to move gracefully with these long things on my feet. I’m sorry people, I’m only 25% norwegian which means I wasn’t born with skis on my feet. Well, maybe only 25% of skis on my feet, (aka just large feet.) In the few (treeless, bump-less, iceless, bush-less) areas I got the hang of it and really enjoyed it. And then we ran into more trees, bumps, ice, and bushes and I was back to looking like a fish out of water (or should we say, a Virginian on skis.)
Once we made it to the top we ate lunch and began avalanche safety training. Janie Therese knows her avalanche information, which is reassuring. At Nordfjord Folkehøgskule, we set beds on fire during fire drills in order to learn how to put them out. We had (the most realistic looking) fake blood, broken bones, and burns on actors that refused to break character during our first aid training. So naturally, we buried someone 1 meter under the snow in order to learn how to find and save them during our avalanche training. Just kidding, we just buried a backpack. I guess there is such a thing as a line.
Going back down the mountain was a lot more fun for me. Yeah, I fell a couple times, but it was worth it. I even managed to avoid all trees and rocks (sometimes just barely, but that counts.)
So now that I have tried it, I’ll admit: summit trips have some benefits when on skis, but it will take a few more trips to decide if it beats out walking.
P.S. Special thanks to Janie Therese for #1 being patient with my lack of skill, #2 teaching me tips and tricks, and #3 not completely freaking out when I almost plummeted off the side of a bridge. (I promise I’ll try my hardest not to give you a heart attack this ski season.)