The final full day in Norway for the U18 Nation’s Trip, and once again, it was amazing!
The day started at 7:30 am with an informal breakfast of muesli, fruit, milk, bread and nutella. By 8:30, the cars were loaded and the team was off to join to a local team’s morning workout. Well that turned out to be an understatement, for the destination was Granåsen Skisenter. While most of us had never heard of the place, it was easy to see it was a world class Nordic facility. Granåsen has two huge ski jumps complete with a big stadium for spectators designed for handling World Cup events, as well as biathlon range, a large ski trail system, and most importantly today, an amazing snowmaking loop. And saying “snowmaking loop” doesn’t do it justice. First there is a stadium area which is at least the size of a football field, and then there is a network of snowmaking trails that interlace and stack, providing some amazing elevation to climb and descend — and with tunnels and bridges, the amount of variation is staggering. When the team arrived at 9 am, juniors practice time was just beginning. Nearly 100 top area juniors were heading out onto the course, most classical skiing. The trails had been freshly groomed and were perfect — firm and fast. So for a couple hours the team skied with other top juniors, making friends and enjoying some excellent skiing.
As practice wound down, the facility emptied out and the U18 team began the process of packing their skiing gear up for the flight home, including applying travel wax to the skis. A backroad way back into Trondheim provided some beautiful views of the city as we descended back into town.
Lunch was also very informal, finishing up the rest of sandwich supplies at the hotel, before the group headed out for an afternoon exploring Trondheim on foot. The first stop in the afternoon was Nidaros Cathedral, an 11th century Gothic cathedral that you can see in almost every photo of Trondheim. A final team photo was taken and then the kids were off to explore the city. Many eventually joined the coaches to visit Kristiansten Fortress, an old fort located up on a hill overlooking the city. While a bit of an uphill hike to get up to the fortress, the reward was some spectacular views of Trondheim. Most of the team eventually split into smaller groups to explore and shop around the downtown for the remainder of the afternoon.
With the making of friends here in Norway this past week, a number of juniors were invited out to dinner with the Norwegian juniors. So the team split into groups for dinner out on the town, before returning back to the hotel to pack bags and try to catch a little sleep before a very early checkout at the hotel to catch flights.
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“Thank you for all the support for the OPA Cup trip. I am still trying to figure it all out, something I could never do without the NNF.”- Rosie Brennan