Kicking it! This winter sport is crazy, even for Norwegians
With frisk strides, tight turns and some very weird outfits, the kicksled world championship sets off in snowy Hurdal.
“We´re taking this a bit on the fly this year”, Jo Inge Westengen says. On a red and partly homemade kicksled, he and his partner Øyvind Buraas are ready to kick off onto the four-kilometer course. They are "Team head start", a team that, according to themselves, is always up and about.
We may not have trained that much ahead this year, but we know the turns and bumps of the course, the kicksled veteran says. “Besides, Øyvind has put on some extra kilos on the thighs” so we´ll be sliding very fast downhill, the sitting passenger of the kicksled says laughing.
The small village Hurdal east in Norway is turned upside down when the kicksled competition showtimes Saturday. Extra snow has been laid down in the roads, and local enthusiasts have knitted over 100 seating pads to warm up cold bottoms.
For those unfamiliar with the Norwegian kicksled, here´s a heads up: The kicksled, or spark, is a small sled consisting of a chair mounted on a pair of flexible metal runners. The sled is propelled by kicking (which is called "sparke" in Norwegian ) in the ground with your foot.
The World Championship of Kicksled is held for the fourth year in a row, and is attracting more and more people, the Major of Hurdal, Runar Bålsrud, explains. “We have over 800 participants, and expect thousands of enthusiastic spectators . It´s most definitely a very festive party”, Bålsrud says.
The Mayor kan happily report of perfect conditions, and breathes a sigh of relief: They finally have cold temperatures, which is more than important for a festival which depends on snow.
“This year we have participants from over 10 nations. Although the kicksled championship is mostly just for fun for most people, we also have those who take the competition very seriously, and who really are “in it to win it”, he says.
En video publisert av Nicholas Fraser Ødegård (@nichodegard)
In addition to crowning the best “kicker”, there will also be awarded prizes for the finest kicksled, and last but not least: best costume. “ Oh yes, you´ll see a lot of funny characters out in the course”, Bålsrud says laughing.
For those of you who would like to join the kicks of the kicksled, the Mayor has some beginners tips:
– To achieve a good glide, it´s important for the metal runners not to rust. They should be grinder and polished, he says.
Wintertime is fun time! Although the days are shorter, you can go skiing or try many other fun outdoor activities. In the Arctic, whales and northern lights are waiting for you. “The Viking season” also gives you an opportunity to experience the fjords without the crowds.
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