21. Fossavatnsgangan – that’s easy for you to say!
by Jon K Amundson –
We arrived in Iceland with only the minimal website information on this first week of May Ski Marathon in 2014. It is the oldest and largest cross-country ski race in Iceland, dating from 1935 and continuous since 1956. All we knew was that it was 50/25 kilometers in distance, just below the Arctic Circle with a base of 200 centimeters and on one of Iceland’s most insolated fjords – the Skutulsfjörðuronon the west fjord’s peninsula. We drove from Reykijavik, and it’s one long fjord after another in incredibly remote and sparsely populated country. There were four of us-all Canadians -and it turned out in 2014, the few North Americans there!
The venue is set at about 300 meters above the sea level town site on an alpine ski hill. And, we were told the conditions can vary from howling wind and “clouded in” through what we got, crystal clear blue skies, and (literally) race in short sleeves conditions. Also, they said it was likely to be a klister race cause the temperature at race time is generally close to zero; a few degrees below at start time; a few above by the end. Yikes! klister!
So, we spend the days before the race testing and retesting wax and running a busy wax room, and the Scandinavians bemused by these North Americans acting like they know something about this whole business of X-C racing. Nice to us, but sort of pitying in their sideways glances.
OK race day! The picture above captures it: beautiful conditions and great wax! Oh, and by the way, I won my age category, my wife, Kat, hers and the third podium was Mary Young who won the whole race!!! This endeared us to the Scandinavians who welcomed us into the clan so to speak and we didn’t have to buy a beer the rest of time in town.
On a final note, this was my wife’s last real race-that is her above- as she had been diagnosed with ALS a few months before this long-planned trip. And though the disease hadn’t progressed much by Iceland, it did what it does over the next couple years. She is gone today but the memory of this race will never die!< Back