February half-term sees the CW family packing every item of fleece that we own and heading to Norway for a week of cross country skiing. Like migrating birds, we head to the Venabu Fjellhotel each year, this year will be our sixth visit. Excitement builds as we start looking at the blog, the webcam and the weather forecast in the days leading up to our departure.
On arrival there is always a flurry of greeting staff and other returning guests followed by the ritual of being fitted with our boots and skis. Not the iron clad monsters that you need for downhill but super comfortable walking boot type shoes that only connect the toe to the ski. This year our first morning was perfect bright sunshine and very cold (-18°C) as we headed out. My aim is to stay upright at all times, the Junior CW’s however, take great delight in using snack breaks as an occasion to recline in the snow. If I did the same when we are off-trail it would take me an age to get back up. Rather dispiritingly for all the adults present, the Juniors just leap up like gazelles.
Skiing at night is not something I have ever tried before. Not on floodlit tracks you understand. Our guide, Ingrid, led a small group around the flatter terrain near the hotel. Unfortunately, the clear skies of the day had been replaced with low cloud and so we were cheated of a vast starry sky. Even without the stars it was an amazing experience as the deep silence was broken only by the swish of our skies. An avenue of flaming torches broke the darkness leading to a wooden teepee-like structure, inside a glass of hot Gløgg awaited us. An amazing experience and definitely one that I would repeat given half a chance.
What draws us back every year is a combination of things. Scenery, food and people. Most of all the people. Venabu is a family run hotel and you are made to feel part of that family. The guides who take us out in the mornings have seen our boys grow into better skiers than we will ever be. Robert, Wenche, Ingrid and Richard will doubtless be the lures that bring us back again next year.
We booked our holiday with Headwater Holidays.
DISCLOSURE: When we booked this holiday and others with Headwater, we did so because we felt that they were the best on offer for our family, since then I have become an affiliate with Headwater and will receive a small payment for any holiday booked as a result of referral from this post.