Cross-Country Skiers

Sognsvann Lake, Norway | C.1700

Photo Credit: Chris Dovletoglou

The Norwegian relationship to skiing runs deep: the first rock carving of a skier was created 4,500 years ago in Rødøy, Norway. Centuries later, Norwegians invented cross-country skiing as a means to gå på ski (“walk on skis”) across heavy snow. They were also the first to transform it from a mode of trans- port to a recreational activity, or langrenn (“long competition”).

Oslo alone is host to 2,600 miles of cross-country ski trails twisting through its forests. In the winter, locals can clamber onto the Metro with their skis and soon find themselves breathing in the crisp air at snowy Sognsvann Lake alongside fellow day-trippers trading an urban landscape for pristine nature. Some clad in layers of gear, others wear nothing but shorts and ski goggles as they push and wind their way through the conifer-lined trails.

Skiers often take a break at one of several public cabins dotted along the trails, where they’re offered hot drinks, vafler (heart-shaped waffles topped with local jams), and brunost, a caramelized goat cheese that refuels the body before venturing back out to gå på ski along the restorative, snow-laden trails.

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