AS YOU LOIPE IT
Norway: in summer, a lush mountain arena bedecked in tiny wild flowers. But once the skies expel millions of frozen flakes, this landscape is a shrine to pristine winter white, like the Christmases you dreamed of as a child.
Gliding through this landscape on skis, as the locals do, is nothing short of a privilege. Picture yourself in the great Norwegian outdoors: the rhythmic waltz of your skis as you pass a solitary, twisted birch shivering in the brisk air; to your left, a windswept summit sugar-coated in snowy icing, and to your right a graceful drop to a peaceful wooded valley traced with hare tracks. The silence is magnanimous; the nature is majestic.
Norwegians are addicted to this feeling. Cross-country skiing is a way of life; once essential to leaving the house, now purely pleasure. It’s the great Scandinavian secret.
Loipe tracks form a delicate lattice across Norway, from the outskirts of Oslo up into the Arctic Circle. Competitions are held in celebration of the ecstasy that comes from skiing through the most primal of elements, and great athletes are exported from Norwegian shores to compete at an international level. Even British hopeful Andrew Musgrave has made Norway his chosen training ground, learning from the best.
Kvitavatn exists in homage to the ski gods. A network of groomed trails criss-cross the encircling area, before tapering off into the more remote edges of the Hardangervidda National Park – perfect for more experienced off track skiers. If you’re unsure, there’s the opportunity to take each day at a different pace – and in case you’re a little over-ambitious there are stretching sessions each evening to help relax your muscles.
Rondablikk borders the Rondane, Norway’s oldest national park. Hone your skills until they are tauter than a ski lift into nearby mountain range the Kvamsfjell, your new neighbour for the week. Folk hero Peer Gynt once romped here, obedient to the whims of author Henry Ibsen who was living amongst these epic surroundings as he penned this surreal tale of love and loss. Of course the true love story of the play is the one Ibsen is writing to the mountains that inspired it.
Norway never fails to inspire, whether you end up writing a world renowned story or not. From folkloric fantasies to factual reality, it is impossible to be this close to nature and not feel more alive.