Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Augustina's Sense of Snow

It's a classic love story: Norwegian boy meets West African girl; they fall in love and merge their lives.  The Norwegian boy introduces the West African girl to his big passion: cross country ski racing ... outside ... in the winter.  Wait, in the COLD?  Augustina shows us what happens next ...

Wait, I hope that I don’t have to be a skier to submit a race report. Well, no matter, here’s my report anyway! 
I was going to begin my report by saying that ‘there’s just not enough vodka’...but that would make me sound like a lush.  
The cross country ski world is so incredibly admirable to me. First, it’s a sport that takes place in the cold__or as Rune would put it, ‘fresh conditions’; secondly, athletes balance on these very skinny sticks; and thirdly those athletes on skinny sticks intentionally go and work out in said fresh (ice cold) conditions. 
My preparations for the season began months ago and were well planned. 
My training went a little like this: 
February 2017: I began to investigate and do some comparison shopping about snow boots. My search engine had a lot of sentences like ‘how to prevent frostbite’, ‘what is the best way to keep your toes from freezing off’ ‘how much heat does one lose through the feet’ and the like.  
April 2017: I was looking at coats and trying to determine how I could be covered from head to toe while still being able to maneuver AND see my way around cheering sections. I had to nix any thoughts about using a sub-zero rated fluffy down filled sleeping bag for my cold weather comfort, while watching ski races. 
July 2017: It was time to get way up in the northern hemisphere, so that my body could acclimatize and forget any ideas about the equator or warm weather. We took a trip to Norway, and spent (summer) time in Bergen that pretty much wiped out any memories I had had about warm weather. 
October 2017: I made myself run in the rain, I hiked Tiger Mountain in the snow, and I grudgingly did circuit training in the garage—in balmy -3 Celsius temperatures.
I was getting there. 
December 2017: I trained myself to do some imagery and learned how to talk myself off the ledge when my fingers almost froze off , just from walking 100 meters in the elements.  
But, really, the preparations were going very well. 
Finally, I was ready for Minneapolis and the 2018 circuit.  
January 2018: Minneapolis! World Masters! Yeah! I got to cheer on Rune, Debbie, Suzanne, Kent, Per, Paul, and Pat. 
The first two days of competition were so exciting. Racers were skiing so quickly! The energy at the ski venue was electric! The snow was so beautiful! By the third and fourth days, my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of ‘why is the air so damn cold?’
Through it all, I discovered that one of my absolute favourite pastimes was listening to skiers discuss (yes, I’ll call it discuss ­čśâ) all the reasons that got in the way of their preparations, how they ‘hardly’ trained, how they just did not deserve to be at the race, and mostly how the speed of fruit flies, the axis of Mother Earth and the ocean currents in the South Pacific were going to affect their ski race results negatively­čśé. Skiers—they are such lovable creatures! 
As a former warm weather athlete...not to be confused with the artist formerly known as Prince (may he Rest In Peace), I can expressly state that this skiing thing has grown on me. I love being out there and cheering on all the athletes. I love the fantastic athletic displays and grit, and training, and the lingo. It’s all quite fabulous, really. 
This season, so far, has been such a delight and the whole experience has been breathtaking. As stated by my pal, Kent Murdoch, ‘the only possible way that skiing could be better, is if it were a warm weather sport’. That’s not going to happen, though...since global warming is a hoax and I’ll stick with my blanket coat, fuzzy boots, taking a sip or two of the lovely stuff, and enjoy the ride. 
You are all delightful! 
Cheers, everyone


  1. The best commentary in the world! Thank you!

    Spider Burbank

  2. Having grown up in Ghana and later fallen in love with Nordic skiing, I can attest to the often humorous sagacity of Ghanians, all of which is clearly evident in Augustina's hilarious accounting of her growing love affair for our sport. I will be laughing for a long time! David Evans