This year winter break (miraculously) coincided with the Nordic World Ski Championships. Given that Norway is a star competitor, you can bet that most of those remote snowy cabins had cable (ours did at least).
We left Oslo on Thursday for a ski region near Lillehammer. That is, indeed, the same Lillehammer that hosted the winter Olympics in 1994 (which is how the Netflix-original series Lilyhammer came to be named). Winter was looking worn-out in Oslo with warmer temperatures and rain giving a firm adieu to winters reluctant departure.
I was wondering if there would be enough snow for skiing as we drove past patches of white and bare forest. But our ascent into the mountains magically transformed the landscape into a wintry white snowscape within minutes. The road became so thickly coated with ice and snow that as we slowed to follow a tractor uphill we lost traction completely; this was solved by cautiously backing up to level ground and gunning it up the hill again.
Our 215-square foot cabin had all the necessities for a cozy weekend retreat – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and dining table that converted to an extra bed (oh, and the TV mounted in the corner). Groomed ski trails started right across the road and a grocery store was a short walk away.
Unfortunately snow flurries and thick fog limited our long-distance skiing opportunities. Although one afternoon the sun shone through the gray and glinted like burnished gold along the mountainous horizon. I wished fervently that I had the endurance to ski all the way to the horizon, just for a few moments in its dazzling golden rays. But alas, I’m still an amateur cross-country skier. You could say it is somewhat apparent that I wasn’t born with my skis on like Norwegians (and my body always reminds me of that the day after).
Short ski runs and meals were punctuated with the Nordic Ski World Championship events. We cheered as the Norwegian women AND men teams won the cross-country skiing relays (among other victories). In the evenings we played cards or read quietly as whirling gusts unfurled snow around the cabin, piling up in windswept dunes about us.
On Sunday it felt like we pushed rewind on our arrival as we quickly packed, cleaned and hauled luggage up to the car. The snowy wilderness disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. But this time slushy snow pelted the windshield on the way back to Oslo, as if winter break wasn’t quite ready to let us go.
We arrived just in time (have you noticed how men become scrupulous planners when sports events are involved?) to catch the final Nordic event, the men's 50-kilometer cross-country ski competition. This means over a two-hour race, which sounded dreadfully long to me, but it passed surprisingly quickly. We sat on the edge of our seats in the final lap of the race. With seconds to go Norway’s premier skier, Petter Northug, squeezed between the two skiers ahead of him and sprinted easily across the finish line in a breath-taking first place triumph. The Nordic Ski World Championships were over and with it our winter break was too.
To view a few photos from our trip, click here.