The past few mouths have been really busy after getting back from the south pole with Lewis its been non-stop with expedition training work, one team getting ready for Greenland in the 2015 season and 2 teams getting ready for the South Pole expeditions sometime in the future!!
Have had read of the blog posted below:
Getting intimate with snow and ice
So we have been in the lovely Haugastol 6 days now, which might I add has a population of five. After an initial rest day to catch up on some sleep, which eluded us during our flights, we were full swing into training. The days are commonly broken up into a lecture session (although a lot better than a Monday morning uni lecture) in the morning followed by lunch and then a practical session in the afternoon. The day is concluded at 7pm with dinner – easily the best part of the day. The food here is honestly the best I have ever tasted. By no means are we expert food connoisseurs, but this is the place you want to come if you want to stick on 10 kgs … in a week. The food is simply incredible, but I’m starting to have a wee stress about just how much bread I’m eating, things are flowing as well as they could be.
Anyway, before coming across to Norway the extent of our skiing ability was running down frost covered hills at primary school with the aim of standing up for the longest. However, just to be prepared I hit up Wikipedia and Ask.com for some valuable advice in learning to skiing. I was pretty much an expert after half an hour of reading.
Now we have snowboarded before. I myself liked snowboarding because you only had one board to think about. Enter skis, two long sticks that seem to have a mind of their own.
So the first day concentrated on getting us onto skis (cross country skis) and letting us loose. Tentatively, while trying to look as pro as possible, we started to walk. Now my previous understanding of cross country skiing is essentially dragging your feet, as if you were too lazy to step properly (Ask.com told me that). It could not be more far from the truth. Slowly walking was getting easier (with some concentration that would make my primary school teachers proud), then we met Obstacle 1.
It was an expansive, high angled, iced, 15 cm high bump. No problem we thought, we will just bowl straight on over – like a boss. The skis had a different idea, they thought it would be cool if they crossed over, slipped and sat us on our backsides. After some careful maneuvering and elegant (arms flailing and a few pelvic thrusts) we conquered that beast. Five mins later enter Obstacle 2 This time it was a sphincter tightening 10 m hill downwards onto a nice run out. The advice given – skis straight and full noise. Yep, it was a massacre, skis pointing at weird angles, brows and mouth full of snow, with our instructor grinning and Josh laughing hysterically. The laughter soon stopped when it was his turn.
Gradually over the coming days we got increasingly proficient skiing on the flat, though still was struggling with the Wikipedia approach to downhills.
In the coming days we increased the mileage of skiing in the afternoon, with only a few obscenities under our breath at the skis. We were also getting well informed on all the aspects of polar living and travel that one might expect to need in a polar environment. Our instructor was thorough in all aspects of the lectures, with enough time for us to make idiots of ourselves on skis in the afternoon.
So fast forward to this afternoon, we now have progressed to the use of the pulk sleds or while skiing. Now we have dragged tires at home, so we thought we had some idea what to expect.
Grabbing a bag and a snow shovel we spooned in large amounts of snow into our waiting bags. Now if you were clever you would go for the light powdered snow, it occupies the same volume as it heavier counterpart, but weighed significantly less. Regardless, we filled up no more than 40 kg of snow and set off. Now if I thought skis had a mind of their own, well pulks are far worse. Despite pulling you in a straight line, old Mr Pulk decides to go on a nice curvey trajectory, first left, then right, more right then back left again.
Carl, our instructor then informs us to navigate though a grove of small shrubs. It was pretty clear to me that Mr Pulk in his 40 kg frame would be no match for these pitiful shrubs. I was wrong yet again.
Cruising along, left foot, right foot, left foot, bum. Looking back, the front of my sled was locked in a loving embrace with a not-so-pitiful-looking shrub. Desperate to flee the scene so my sled did not strike up a serious relationship with the tree, I yanked and pulled until I flattened the culprit tree. Feeling pretty smug, we ran into Obstacle 2 again. Having barely escaped with my life without a 40 kg bulldozer attached to me, I was apprehensive. Again the advice – skis straight and full noise. It worked better than I thought, until, BUM again. Mr Pulk decided to take grievance with a track marker, aim for it, snapped it and then trip over me.
This love hate relationship Continued through the day with Mr Pulk seemingly aimed for every obstacle within a 1 km radius. Rock, check. Drop off, check. Tree, check. River …. wait, check. Wrestling with Mr Pulk is tiresome, more so than I imagined.
AtAt the end of the afternoons skiing, Obstacle 2 yet again was between me and a nice slab of a multi-tiered cake. I’m not ashamed to say, help was given on the upwards pull by Carl, my legs were like jelly and refused two do what my mind rold them.
There will be a lot of this, and a lot more severe in Antarctica, Carl iterates. I barely register, all I’m thinking about is that damned cake.
Thanks for Josh and Zac for a great 3 weeks and stay tune for more of there blogs:
Find out more about there plans here: http://komstar06.wix.com/twinlyons