written by Mikkel Soya
There’s a saying that Norwegians are born with skis on their legs. Before you start to wonder about the hip width of Norwegian women, I better tell you that it’s just a saying. A myth. That’s not to say that Norwegians doesn’t take cross country skiing seriously. They do. Like it’s religion. And the worst kind of sacrilege you can commit is, you guessed it, to mess with their ski tracks. With clockwork regularity, each winter, you will find newspaper articles about despairing track preparers or cross country skiers who are on the edge of a breakdown because of people walking in the tracks or dogs relieving themselves on the freshly groomed corduroy. The war continues in the comment section on online articles. It’s not pretty. The last couple of years, a new destructor of ski tracks has revealed itself. A bike monstrosity with huge tires. The fatbike. Stories fuelled by aspiring light headed fatbikers with too much pressure in their tires for the soft, newly prepared ski tracks has overshadowed the usual suspects of pedestrians and dogs in the media.
With that backdrop, I was both excited and worried when I met up with Joe to embark on our close to 150 km ride along Hallindalsløypa’s mountain ski tracks. With four days of riding ahead of us, we hoped for a low level of conflict and a high level of fun.
If our first day of riding was telling, we were in for both: After a few kilometres of blissful riding on hardly packed tracks with the occasional section of snowdrift, we ran into a huge snow groomer. Even though we did our best to smile and wave our hellos to the driver, he looked far from pleased, pointing first at the ski track, then at us, before finishing off his performance with a rather grumpy head shake. The fact that we hardly made a visible dent in the track seemed completely lost on him. We rode on with a feeling of being unwanted misfits.
We didn’t need to worry.