Mike Hall’s Engadin Ski Marathon – March 2019

Winter 2018-19
I have been dabbling with cross country skiing for some years now and have had a go at most of our free heel skiing disciplines.  More recently I have been contemplating a Nordic ski race.  My former employer (Architect- Sir Norman Foster) takes part in the Engedin marathon most years.  I am nearly thirty years his junior and, if he can do it, so can I!  I signed up with Totally Nordic, run by Alan Eason, for the short race week culminating in the main 42km event on the Sunday, the biggest race in Europe.  Despite upping my roller-skiing in preparation, my first day on snow was pretty shabby.  I couldn’t believe how bad my technique seemed and I was wasting so much energy.  Alan Eason somehow disassembled my skiing technique and reassembled it in 3 days - No mean feat!   Come the race day itself…
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Tyneside Loipers hut touring in the Jotunheim – March 2019

Winter 2018-19
Eight intrepid Loipers went directly from Dalseter to the Jotunheim for 9 days of hut touring. We arrived at the lovely Spiterstulen Fjellstue after a few hours on the bus and an expensive taxi journey. The snow in the Spiterstulen valley was thinner than we would have liked. We followed the winter route first to the unstaffed hut at Olavsbu and then on to the staffed hut at Fondsbu (still run by Solberg, a wonderful lady who some of us remember from 2004). Olavsbu was very cold (-12 degC) - clearly nobody had been there for a few days. We spent the whole evening wearing all our layers. The route to Fondsbu had been newly marked with birch twigs and it was mostly sunny and an easier day except for…
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Tyneside Loipers at Dalseter, Norway, March 2019

Winter 2018-19
No less than 26 Loipers (and 15 or so cross-country skiers from elsewhere in the UK) joined John Mordue and his team of leaders for a week of track skiing and off-track touring at Dalseter, 2nd to 9th March. A number of us had stayed here in March 2016 and it was a pleasure to be back at the Dalseter hotel run by the ever helpful Grethe. A few of our group were new to cross-country skiing. They made good use of the coaching available from John's team of SSE-qualified leaders. Several new members of the Loipers skied mostly on prepared tracks, with excellent coaching from Dagmar Junghanns, Pam Curwen and Rosie Blades. Others (including some of our first time Nordic skiers) joined Stefan and his wife Lisa for some…
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Scotland Weekend, February 2019

Winter 2018-19
We were hoping to find some good snow in the hills around Braemar but unfortunately the weather was against us. However our joint Tyneside Loipers and Tyne Valley Mountaineers meeting was enjoyed and well attended (14 people) staying at the Braemar SYHA for the weekend. Mark O’Keeffe chose to do some cycling on Mountain bikes around the locality with Patrick and Julie Hazelhurst (TVM) while Neil Waters, Paramjeet Bhogal and Carl Brown had a very windy walk on the White Mounth and Carn an t-Sagairt in the Lochnagar hills. Peter and Alison Aldred had been staying in the area the week before and had also managed to increase their Munro tally. It was a shame that we couldn’t get out on skis as a few non skiing members of the…
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Ski touring in the Queryas

Winter 2018-19
Loiper club members, Tim, Penny, Robert and Alan, plus a friend Philip from Dorset, had a great week of ski touring (telemark and alpine) in the Queryas area, southern French Alps, arranged by Pyrenees Odyssey. We stayed in a small friendly hotel, Maison de Gaudissard which was very French - we were the only Brits! Richard, our guide, was very good indeed. We started the week with appalling snow conditions - it was the end of January and, although very cold, it hadn't snowed since mid December. But it got gradually better after the second day and we had a huge dump of snow at the end of the week (24 hours continual snowfall from mid-afternoon Thursday). So with poor visibility (and too much snow!) we spent our last day…
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Dec 2018 – Telemark skiing in Val d’Isere

Winter 2018-19
Val d'Isere in December - great snow, lovely scenery, six telemarkers Six keen telemark skiers went to Val d'Isere in mid December and had a fantastic week of freeheel skiing with Ben Langridge from Telemark Tracks. Loipers (Tim and Penny, Steve and Alan) were joined by friends Ros and Mark plus a friendly Scot who we met in the resort. The coaching from Ben was excellent - 'The best I have had' (Alan). We were all skiing much better by the end of the week (style, confidence, etc) but maybe a bit more practice is needed for skiing off-piste. The major breakthrough which we all made was to start the turn before the lead change. Easier said than done, but it can hugely improve your skiing. Tim Owen telemarking on…
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