In April Dave and I skied the Fossavatn 50k race in Iceland. Minnesota Trails Magazine asked us to write articles and submit photos for the winter edition featuring the Skinny Ski Series. We dutifully sent in our stuff but since the Series is not happening this year they didn’t get published. Dave’s article focused on the race and the editor asked me to focus more on the experience around the race so here’s my article. I would highly recommend this race experience to all ski adventurers out there. Check out this video of the race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWVIci3PdRE
If you arrive in Ísafjörður by noon on Thursday
On Friday a bus takes visitors to the venue to preview the course. I was struck by the unique beauty of this sparse land. There is no vegetation but plenty of hills and mountain plateaus. Imagine the moon with snow. From a single vantage point we could see much of the 50k course.Despite being literally a few miles
Towards the end of the first half is the first of two long climbs in the race. Checking my heart rate monitor altimeter after wards I learned that it was 45 minutes of continuous up. About 20K later is the second big climb. This one is shorter but steeper and unlike the first climb there is a reward at the top: a 7K downhill run to the finish line! So even though my thighs and triceps were protesting with spasms, I enthusiastically ‘ran’ up the hill and thoroughly enjoyed the ride down to the finish line.
After crossing the line each skier is given the traditional post-race treat: A little blue bag with a bun and a hunk of chocolate. We lingered a bit to pose for pictures and talk to fellow skiers but we needed to hustle down mountain because there were celebrations waiting in Ísafjörður.
The cake feed and awards ceremony at the high school gym is amazing. I think nearly every family and bakery in town brings a Scandinavian treat. Hungary skiers and their friends and family load up plates with more pastries than I could count, most of which I’d never tried before! I took small portions because the servers kept replacing empty trays with something brand new and I wanted to make sure I left room for seconds………OK, thirds.
The Fossavatn marked the end of a long but fun ski season that included the Skinny Ski Series, Birkie and Masters World Cup. Now, on April 30 I completed my last and longest race of the year and I could not think of any better way to mark the occasion than to celebrate with friends in a beautiful, remote, vibrant village in Iceland.