Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland

Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #1 by RennyBASkiing in Norway is our national sport and the most striking feature of winter outdoor activities. We start learning at an early age. I remember as a child, winter never stopped us from playing outside; hat hair, wet behinds from slipping in the snow, rosy red noses, shivering cold hands and snow in my jacket were all just a part of the season. I am really thankful to my parents who encouraged us to take part in outdoor winter activities and become interested in natural conservation and understand its importance. At that time I just thought of it as fun, but now I understand it also helps to improve our physical and mental health – even a moderate level of activity has a positive effect.
In that way, I had a quality time with my oldest son last week and I gladly take you along. Talking about starting at an early age: Let me first show you what caught my eye – and really took me down memory lane – when we started our ski trip from the local clubhouse:
Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #3 by RennyBA
If not born with skies on, Norwegians learn to ski at an early age :- )
Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #4 Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #2 by RennyBA
This scene brought back childhood memories and since I now struggle a bit with my Parkinson’s disease, I was so happy to experience that I had learn the basics from when I was a child too!

Fighting Parkinson’s on skies:
I would like to start the story of our ski trip with the most important result: The recreational part – to improve my physical and mental health. On a beautiful sunny day with fresh, crisp air, it was great to take a break at a lake after some kilometers up hill. With a snack I had in my pocket (an orange and two chocolate bars), we sat down for a rest and a nice chat. The view was breathtaking and I am glad I can share it with you as my Nokia Mobile phone is capable of capturing it all in panoramic mode:
Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #8 by RennyBA
Around 11AM and the sun is low on the horizon since it’s winter time – the darkest time of the year (6 hours duration in Oslo, Norway). If this isn’t wonderful scenery and an atmosphere to charge your batteries – then I don’t know what is!

Like I said: I was glad I still had the basic ski skills from childhood. It’s two years since I was last on skis when I got the diagnoses Parkinson’s – in addition to that I had a knee replacement about four months ago – so I have to admit my form has been better : -) But you can compensate quite a bit for being in shape if you have good technique, both on flat areas, up hills and especially down hills in (almost *LoL*) full speed:
Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #7 by RennyBA
Skiing: The most wonderful outdoors recreation I can think of : -)
Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #5 by RennyBA Skiing for all ages in Norway Winter Wonderland #6 by RennyBA

The impact of Parkinson’s however feels like driving with the parking brakes on: Picture yourself driving like that and the wire from the parking brake is your body muscles – and they are stiff and tight as guitar strings. The effect of your engine, even on full speed, is relatively small and you have to use quite a lot of fuel to get going.
Let me add; it was my physiotherapist, who trains me 3 times a week, who came up with the idea. He is very supportive and focuses on my mental training as well. We often talk about getting me out of the role of patient and believe me: it worked on this ski trip!

Anyhow; it was a wonderful trip, and an outdoor adventure and I wouldn’t be without for anything in the world. Despite the struggle, I proved to myself that even if I have an uninvited “guest” (Mr. Parkinson) in my body; I am in charge and capable of doing the things that I like. I can still enjoy outdoor life, nature and improve my physical and mental health – and even better: to share these adventures and magic moments with my son!

Roald Amundsen Norway first to reach the South Pole

Bust of Roald AmundsenThe Polar Explorer, Discoverer, Researcher and Pioneer Amundsen from Norway became the first person to reach the South Pole on Dec. 14, 1911. Hosting a blog about Norway; our history, culture, traditions and habits, it would have been a disgrace not to mention it today – 100 years later. This year actually call for double celebration significance for Norway coincides: its 150 years since the birth of Fridtjof Nansen too! These two men played important roles as nation-builders and polar heroes and of course equally important were their contributions to science and literature, as well as Nansen’s humanitarian endeavours and his role as a diplomat and politician.

Planning for the North – going to the South Pole:
Amundsen started preparing for an expedition to the North Pole, but when both Frederick A. Cook and Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached the Pole, in 1908 and 1909, respectively, Amundsen secretly changed his plans. In Madeira he revealed that the expedition to the North Pole would go by way of the South Pole. The race was on with Robert F. Scott to see which of them would be the first man on the southernmost point on earth. Five weeks before Scott, who died on the return journey, Amundsen reached the South Pole 14 December 1911:
Roald Amundsen from Norway first to reach the South Pole
Norwegian flag planted on the South Pole (Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute)

The first to sail through the Northwest Passage:
In the summer of 1903 Amundsen sailed from Oslo with the ship Gjøa. The aim of the expedition was to find the Northwest Passage, for which the English had been searching for 400 years. Amundsen had a scientific goal: he wanted to measure the earth’s magnetic field and determine its exact location.
Winter Olympics Inukshuk from Canada in Norway #7
The ship Gjøa in front of Fram Museum

The expedition had a 23-month stopover in Gjøa Haven on King William Island. While there, Amundsen studied how the Inuit lived and gathered a prodigious amount of ethnographic material. In the spring of 1905, Gjøa sailed onward and emerged at the other end of the Northwest Passage in August 1906.

Norway marks Amundsen’s south pole feat 100 years on:
Today dozens of scientists and explorers joined the Norwegian prime minister to mark 100 years since Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to the South Pole. At the pole, PM Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute to “one of the most outstanding achievements of mankind” and highlighted the importance of this cold continent in our efforts to understand the warming of the globe! He also said Amundsen’s polar expeditions “helped to form our new national identity”. You see, Amundsen’s arrival at the pole on 14 December 1911 came only six years after Norway had declared independence after a long union with Sweden. So there is a lot of reasons to celebrate this year and especially today you know : -)

Petter Northug and Marit Bjorgen in Oslo2011 WSC

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 (WSC) in Oslo was a success for the hundreds of thousands spectators, the participants as well as the Norwegian hosts, not to mention their athletes. Norway won 20 (8 Gold, 6 Silver and 6 Bronze) out of 63 medals and when our King Harald V who attended every day was asked if that was a bit “greedy”, he answered: Who could blame them, this is what they have been training for years to do: -) The second most successful country was Austria with 10 and Sweden with 5 medals.
Norway’s national arena comprising of the Holmenkollen and Midtstuen hill or ski jump as well as the Cross-Country Stadium is a compact venue in the true sense of the word. The three competition venues all lay in close proximity to each other:
Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #1
Cross-Country tracks main tribune with start and finish line.
.Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #2 Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #9

Left: Holmenkollen Ski Jump – Right: Midtstuen Ski Jump

The championship lasts for 10 days, and includes 21 competitions within Cross-Country, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined (jumping first, then cross country by the same athlete). My wife and I had a one day sponsored experience, with three events included:

Nordic Combined team relay:
Norway won bronze, Austria gold and Germany silver in this event. Norway got off to a slow start, as number four following the ski jumping, but ended in third place, 40.6 seconds behind the winner:
Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #8 Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #12
Left: Ski Jump in Midtstuen – Right: Cross-Country relay

King Petter & Queen Marit:
The King and Queen of this championship are Peter Northug and Marit Bjørgen – in a class of their own. The incredible Marit Bjørgen won 4 gold medals and one silver this time and she is also the most successful sprinter in Cross-Country World Cup history, with twenty-three victories. She is ranked second (after Yelena Välbe) in the ladies all-time Cross-Country World Cup rankings, with forty-four individual victories. One of her most notable achievements was becoming the most successful athlete at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, by winning five medals, including three gold medals and the Championship relay gold for Norway’s women. On the day we where there, she won 10 KM:
.Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #3
Above: Marit in red – Photos from Women’s 10 KM – we were standing close by : )
Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #5 Nordic World Ski Championships Oslo2011 #6

Petter Northug won 4 gold and 2 silver medals in this championship including Sunday’s event: Men’s 50 km Mass Start Free, defeating Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin – Tord Asle Gjerdalen from Norway came third. Norwegian star Petter Northug powered Norway to gold in the men’s 4x10km relay last Friday as well, following teammates Martin Johnsrud, Eldar Roenning and Tord Asle Gjerdalen to clinch victory in the final leg of the relay after grabbing the lead with one kilometre to go. Northug was quite a successful athlete at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics too: Two Gold, one Silver and one Bronze medal!

How about you: Did you notice in the news or watched some of this winter sport event? Whatever; it would have been nice if you could share your thoughts in comment:

Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 World Ski Championships

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 in Oslo, Norway’s national arena comprising both the Holmenkollen and Midtstuen hill or ski jump as well as the Cross-Country stadium is a compact venue in the true sense of the word. The three competition venues all lie in close proximity to each other, surrounded by the Cross-Country tracks which provide many scenic views towards the city, the fjord and of course the venue:
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #3
Having been rebuilt or reconstructed 18 times throughout history, the new and spectacular Holmenkollen arena is just being finalised for this Oslo2011 (click pic to bigify & enjoy).
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #1 Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #2
The Ski World Championship 2010 in Norway Winder Wonderland.

A cultural event:
I was there with some friends and my wife on Monday 28th (sponsored by the food company Stabburet, which used my photo in an advertisement – read details in the post here) and gladly invite you along. I promise it’ll be fun, even if sport isn’t your cup of tea! You see, Holmenkollen is not merely a sports venue; it is also a tourist magnet of note with over a million visitors every year and this event is a celebration for all with a variety a cultural events as well. Let me give you some examples of what we met on our way from one venue to another:
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #4 Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #7
Lively characters, even Trolls from Norwegian fairy tails, as well as storybook bakers from popular children’s stories.
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #6 Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #6

Combine sports mania & outdoor recreation:
Every day there are thousands of spectators at Holmenkollen, 20 minutes by Metro from Oslo City Center – they expect around 100 to 150 thousand on Sunday – fully equipped for a one day outdoor folk festival:
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #12Most have a backpack, some have skies and of course they have flags too!

You see, if you are dressed right and have sufficient supplies, like coffee, toddy, an extra hip bottle and pack a good lunch, a day like this can be a blast:
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #9 Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #10
Enjoying sports event is for everyone the Norwegian way : -)
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #11 Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #13

If you are in for more luxury, there are of course tribunes too – very often occupied by invited guest from all over the world:
Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #15 Cultural celebration at Oslo2011 WSC #14

So as you can see this event is something for everyone to enjoy, both young and old, Norwegian or visitor there is something fun and exciting for everyone. Of course there have also been some very good sporting events hehehe, and I will be telling you more about it in my next post. In the mean time stay tuned and follows along with the news in Nordic Skiing, because there is still more fun to come!

World Ski Championships Oslo2011 at Holmenkollen in Norway

Oslo Holmenkollen Ski Jump preparing for OSL2011 #1 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 started today in Oslo and will include 21 competitions within Cross-Country, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined as well as a variety of cultural events. It’ll take place at The Holmenkollen Ski Jumping Hill – the third best known sporting arena in the world, after Wimbledon and Wembley.
Since the first event in 1892, Holmenkollen ski jump has been re-developed on no less than 18 occasions. Even in its second year, work commenced on developing and improving the ski jump. In 1914, the first tower was erected, ‘Tower of Babel’. For the Olympic Games in Oslo in 1952, permanent grandstands and a judge’s tower were built and during the Championships of 1966 and 1982 the facility was further extended. Following these changes, only small alterations have been made before the current major re-development for the Oslo2011. I was there for the trial WSC in 2010 and took plenty of photos (click all pics to enlarge & enjoy) – here some spectators:
Oslo Holmenkollen Ski Jump preparing for OSL2011 #8 Oslo Holmenkollen Ski Jump preparing for OSL2011 #9
The arena has previously hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics and the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in 1930, 1966, 1982 and now 2011 as well as annual Biathlon World Cup races.

Advantage of Social Media sharing:
My regular readers knows I’m above average in Social Media activities. As a network evangelist, I love to share and be inspired of others – like I often say: It’s a Givers Gain! It occurs in many ways and in this case, two of the pics I took in Holmenkollen last year (posted about and shared on Flickr) has become “famous” in Norway:
New Holmenkollen Ski Jump Oslo2010 - Repost #1 New Holmenkollen Ski Jump Oslo2010 - Repost #2

Sausages: Kollen Grill & Wiener:
One of Norwegian food companies, Gilde, who make sausages or hotdogs, wanted to use one of the photos for their Holmenkollen sausage collection and the result:
RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #1 RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #2
Left: Boil Hotdog (or wieners) – Right: Grill Hotdog – the word “Kollen” in the name is of course a direct reference to Holmenkollen. As locals call the ski jump Kollen for short.

The picture is now to be seen all over Norway; at gas stations, local groceries, in newspapers e.g.:
RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #9 RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #10
RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #3
RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #12 RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #7

Nora homemade Jam:
Another food company; Stabburet, who makes jam (made from old, traditional Norwegian recipe) asked for permission to use the other and they promote their Holmenkollen collection in newspapers:
RennyBA's photos in Oslo2011 #6

Follow RennyBA & DianeCA on Oslo2011:
The companies above have of course paid for the use of my photos. This has not made me a millionaire but of course I am very proud to see them all over the country! The best payment I received was in addition 4 VIP tickets to the World Championship in Nordic Ski events. So we will be reporting from the atmosphere and activities in the coming days. There will be a lot happening here in Oslo winter sport capital so stay tuned!
Oslo Holmenkollen Ski Jump preparing for OSL2011 #13
Holmenkollen spirit: Kollen is especially known for its sportsmansly atmosphere and its famous “Kollen roar”.