We have started with the craziest of trips. Skiing the Lower Nord Coast of Canada. Three months of skiing in arctic conditions. Nights of 30º below zero and days when temperatures don’t rise above -15º. We basically locked ourselves in a "fridge" with a tent, a cooking stove and some damn good sleeping bags. Over the past months we have been collecting everything that is necessary to do a winter expedition on human power. After 3,5 years of traveling on "human powered muscle force" we think that we have found the tricks and the rhythm, but for this trip we feel barefeet. We have never skied before and we have zero experience in winter camping or survival.
Not to forget, most of our equipment we have carried around so far, suddenly seems useless. It needs to be better, bigger and heavier. We were lucky. Lucky to be in a place where we got to learn about skis, winter equipment, gear and mostly about the ridged temperatures. Lucky to be among people who had closets full of unused clothes that they where happy to give us. Lucky to learn from all the people we meet around us and want to share their experiences with us. And now, we are the lucky two who are clicking their feet into the skis, tie a harness around their hips that is connected to a 40 kg heavy sled and wrap our gloves around our ski poles.
In front of us lies a slightly hilly terrain that gradually inclines. We might not have the experience but we do feel comfortable. When we take off, by sliding our skies one by one forward, we don’t even realise we just left on the craziest of trips. It just feels normal, comfortable. We know where we go, what to do and we have the right gear. We move and move and move. Our thoughts are in the same rhythm as the skis ‘sjoeff’, ‘sjoeff’. No words, just smiles.
At 3 o’clock it is time to set up the camp. It will be dark soon. We find a spot where we can pack the snow. The skiis lay stable on top of the fresh snow, but with our boots we sink in half a meter. Which means it is very uncomfortable to walk.
The terrein we pack is where we "live". So we built ourselves a good size tent platform, a toilet area and a kitchen area. It takes us about 15 minutes to pack the area and then we have to wait another 10 minutes to let it freeze in its new shapes. We can set up the tent, roll out mattresses, and cook our meal. Meanwhile we are accompanied by a partridge that found some good snacks in the tree next to our camp. The bird wasn’t afraid of us at all and seemed to check if we were doing okay. He must have been thinking " ‘darn, those two are slow! Look how long they need to set up camp". By the time we finished, three hours had passed. Zoë told the bird that next day we would be faster. Little mistakes, we now have learned froma and we will not make tomorrow. Day one of our ski trip is finished. By the time we make it to New Foundland, our destination, we are experienced skiers.
Remember, you don’t need to be experienced to start something new. You need to be dedicated and open to learning, the rest you will learn along the way.