Woot! Maerose here. Winter in Norway is soon over! *cross fingers* Don’t get me wrong. I love winter — the thick, fluffy snow and the cozy ambiance and all! But I’m still a summer person, thanks to my beloved Philippines. ❤ So, before I put all my winter clothes in the cabinet and start taking out my flipflops and sun shades and shorts, let me write about one of my most unforgettable experiences so far!
They say Norwegians are born with skis. That is almost true for all Norwegians. I was witness to 3 year olds skiing down big slopes in the Norwegian mountains! My host family is not an exception. They thoughtfully took me with them to Valdres, a beautiful, beautiful region in the Oppland county in Norway last December, during the week before New Year. I was super thrilled to experience skiing for the first time ever! I have lived in Scandinavia but had never experienced skiing due to several factors, namely: 1.) Denmark was flat, and 2.) my previous host families, all three of them, never invited me to ski. In fairness to my first host family, they invited me to enjoy summer with them in Cyprus. But due to relationship conflicts, Cyprus remains in my bucket list to this day. My second host family went skiing during winter of 2014, but the baby and I stayed at home (because the baby was only a few months old and cannot go rolling down the snowy mountains?). And my third hosts went to their cabin by the beach in southern Denmark during the winter that I spent with them (2015).
Anyway, there’s a perfect time for everything! 😉 Luckily, my Norwegian hosts often consider tagging me along during their trips. That’s a great way for me to experience the country and to learn more of their culture.
Driving from Bærum to Valdres takes about 3-4 hours. We left very early in the morning, and there wasn’t much to see on the way except for the white wilderness so I just rested myself and waited for the engine to come into complete halt. At around noon time, we reached the grandparents’ big cabin located not very far from Valdres Alpinski Senter. I couldn’t help but be amazed by the scenery outside the window! At first, I thought there was a huge lake in the distant. But later on, the sea of clouds cleared up and voila! A valley!
Here are two more views from the porch, taken the day after:
I was literally in winter wonderland! 😀 We didn’t waste time. We jumped into our skiing suits — mine was borrowed from grandma and hostmom, so they’re a little big for me. But they’re definitely warm! The ski center is one of the region’s biggest alpine center, and boasts 4 lifts and 11 slopes with different levels of difficulty.
Guhhh… If you think standing on skis is a piece of cake, then, you’re in for a wild ride! I fell countless times, and it wasn’t easy to get back on your feet. 😛 The most embarrassing “slipping moment” would be when you were standing on the moving belt and you fell. You would have to get to the end of the belt before you can ask somebody for help. hahaha
There are different types of skiing, and the best for beginners would be cross-country skiing. It took me quite a while to differentiate them because they all seem similar to me — skiing, duh. But cross-country is when you go on milder terrains, with slimmer skis and with help from a pair of sticks.
After many heartaches a.k.a. kisses on the ground, I realized one of the best techniques on ice or snow: YOU GOTTA KEEP MOVING! 😉 It was a really tough first time experience, so I just stayed in the children’s playground. It would have been nice to have a beginner companion, tbh. 😉
If you get tired, you won’t feel an inch of guilt if you indulge in hot coco and waffle! I’m 101% sure you’d burn enough calories just by trying to stand on your skis.
Aside from waffles, I also got to taste one of Norway’s worst food: the rakfisk. It tasted okay, but the smell is comparable to a dozen old-aged fart. hehe Rakfisk is fermented fish in salt and water, preserved for many months or even a year. This is what the Vikings ate in ancient times. Exotic food like this is now a rarity in Norway, and interestingly, they’re costly. 😉 There was also dried whale, smoked lamb, and ox’s tongue on the table. Help yourself!
That’s it, pansit! A Pinay on skis! Couldn’t be any luckier. I didn’t just experience snow.. I stood on skis. *achievement unlocked* Will I do it again? Probably. It takes being born in these cold climate to really get used to the winter, if I may say.
For more information about the ski center, such as opening hours, fees, renting ski gears, and all, visit: http://www.valdresalpin.com/ Carpe diem! ❤