The snow comes and goes but enough stays around to remind me that soon I will be skiing.
I love skiing, it is the nearest thing I could describe as a passion but maybe that’s because I go so little.
I have planned this holiday since three months ago, thought about it for longer.
I wanted to come back to Norway because of its close proximately to home and the guaranteed snow.
One less thing to get anxious about I thought, once less thing to accept after battling the challenge.
But the trip was supposed to happen in mid-February not January which had unforeseen issues.
Too much snow in the Alps closing resorts down. Can you get too much snow in Norway?
Then I looked at the weather forecast. A week ahead it was predicting minus thirty degrees centigrade, add in wind chill and I don’t think skiing would be wise?
Too much snow. Too cold to ski.
I can feel the anxiety mounting. This are foundational issues to tackle. I could be washed away by this Tsunami.
Instead I tell myself, “Norway knows how to handle snow” and, “if it’s too cold then you don’t ski, you can still enjoy a holiday”.
Acceptance comes grudgingly.
Then the smaller niggles start to assert themselves.
Did you get the names right when you filled in the form? Date of birth?
Did you get the passport details right?
Should you ignore that reminder email? Are you sure the booking is right?
How much money should you take?
Will the credit card work on the mountain? Can you remember the PIN?
Should we take snacks to save some money? How many? What?
Are they gloves we have sufficient for the temperatures? Maybe some new liners?
Are we really okay getting to the airport? How reliable will getting home be?
Will there be too much snow at home to get to the airport?
Will we arrive on time to get the ski equipment sorted?
Where are the passes picked up? Will my daughter be able to get to her lesson ok?
The day before we leave, I drive to the airport to pick my daughter up who is to be my travel companion.
Aside from a very frosted car and a small slide turning off a roundabout, the drive goes smoothly.
With my daughter at my side I have someone whose presence will provide strength and wisdom, someone who understands my anxiety, someone who will step in if needed.
We go snack shopping and buy too much cake and too many bars.
We know it is probably, almost certainly excessive but it provides some security to the physical challenge ahead.
We get our stuff together and lay it out for packing. We err on the side of caution again.
After all when I think about it you really don’t need many clothes to go skiing, one set would be enough if you don’t mind the smell.
I pack my bag: snacks, cake, multi-layered clothing, helmet, googles and boots.
It is finally done, but has taken a tremendous will to overcome the anxieties, to not abandon the task.
The bag is three kilograms too heavy. It turns out the snacks weight nearly five kilos so they are transferred to my daughter.
Just the hand luggage to sort in the morning.
Don’t forget the sandwiches. The ski lesson voucher. The money.
The laptop needs charging. Don’t forget the phone charger, the adapter.
Oh the toothbrush needs charging too. What toothpaste to take?
Don’t forget the pills, the creams. Where did I put my sports glasses?
As far as I can, I lay everything thing out to pack in the morning.
Except the book group book. My wife is still reading that.
Time to switch off.
Everybody else is in bed but I play video games. I play because other people have asked me to help them and I play because I know sleep is unlikely.
The batteries fade in the controller. It is nearly 2a.m. and I need to try sleeping. I send my goodbyes.
I make an effort to end the day properly.
I attend to the dog. I switch off lights and checked locks.
I brush my teeth. Tend to my mouth ulcers and apply psoriasis cream.
I lay my clothes our for travelling and set an alarm.
I am awake again, feeling warm.
I must have slept but looking at the clock it has been only a few hours.
My body may be physically resting, even my mind may be at peace, but the adrenaline makes sure I do not sleep again.
I change position a few times, carefully arranging my legs to avoid hurting my right knee.
Eventually though I get up and play a few more games.
An hour and a half passes before I return to bed.
I am too cold now and cannot seem to get quite warm all over.
Bits are toasty, others are not. I lay still, somehow expecting to warm up all over but it is an uneasy rest.
The alarm goes off and I snooze it. Ten minutes later it goes off again. Another snooze, I cannot bare the thought of getting up in the cold.
We are leaving in forty-five minutes. Time has run out.
I get up and get on with things.
Bags packed and in the hallway. What about the food? Better warm the car up too!
We leave 15 minutes late.
All the fears are proved to be without foundation.
We arrive at the airport in plenty of time.
The flight goes smoothly. Views of snowy Norway are absorbing. Roads are open.
We catch an earlier connection. Really helpful and nice driver.
Arrive at the hotel in plenty of time. No problem getting equipment and lift passes.
Time to relax and snooze before dinner.
The maître d’ knows my name when we arrive,
Freaky but we are the last ones booked for food so no real mystery.
The restaurant is quiet, the lighting subdued.
We have a lovely meal tasting the various delights, taking our time.
We are the last to leave but there are still 15 minutes to go before the restaurant closes.
The frosty tree that somehow captures the snowy coldness of this place, once more focuses our attention. We decide to take a picture of my daughter next to it.
It is minus eleven degrees centigrade and we are not dressed for it. Even I find shorts not a great plan in this weather.
Photo taken we rushed back inside, marvelling how cold we feel after such a short exposure.
We are here. We have accomplished all the tasks necessary so that we can go skiing tomorrow.
Assuming it is not too cold of course.