Day 3 of the U18 Nation’s trip, the first full day in Norway, started at 7:30 am with a morning jog through the streets of Orkanger (Orkdal is the municipality). With official sunrise after 9 am, it was hard to see more than the city shops and houses, but the outlines of the hills were taking shape in the pre-dawn glow. A nice buffet breakfast at the hotel greeted the athletes, then it was off to the race venue at Knyken Skisenter. Knyken is up in the hills, and we could see the facility as we left Orkanger, including the snow that is missing at lower elevations. Warm weather has taken a toll on the snow, and while the trails up at the venue are mostly well covered, they were quite icy. Luckily, the ski center staff had met with the coaches before breakfast, and already ground up a 1K loop for the skiers to train by the time we arrived.
The Knyken Skisenter shows the Norwegian dedication to this sport, as it features trails carved all around the facility, including a ski bridge as you enter, as well as multiple ski jumps, housing, and a very nice chalet with a lounge, dining hall, and dressing rooms with showers. And underneath the snow, there is a 4K rollerski track as well.
The team skate skied for roughly an hour, fairly easy (with a little hot dogging, a.k.a dexterity skills on the long downhill run). With temperatures right around freezing, and corn snow, it was fast conditions.
A scenic drive back to the hotel, and then it was lunchtime. The hotel rolled out another custom meal for the team, this one featured pork loin and roasted potatoes, followed by three choices of desserts. Athletes had some free-time in the afternoon, with most of the skiers hiking around town including a trip to the local mall about a block away.
The day wrapped up with a meal at the hotel, and then a team meeting to review plans for Wednesday. Update: Noel Keeffe made the evening flight into Trondheim and joined up with the team in time for supper.
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“NNF Crew: XC skiing in this country would be very lost without you guys…You all rock!!”- Liz Stephen