Walking on Snow | Posted: 23 September 2015
Winter holidays in the snow in Norway
Winter holidays in the snow in Norway
Winter holidays in the snow in Norway

Ski instructor Keith Richardson has been working with Inntravel for several years now, and we thought it was time we had a chat...

As a British ski instructor working in and around Sjusjøen in central Norway, Keith Richardson consistently earns high praise from Inntravel guests for his expertise, patience and intimate knowledge of the local fjells and trails.

He fell in love with skiing at an early age and went on to become a highly qualified instructor, honing his craft in New Zealand, the French Alps, Norway and Scotland. After moving to Norway in 1997 with his wife and a young son, he set up his ski school in Lillehammer and hasn’t looked back. We thought we’d find out a little more about his passion for his craft and for his surroundings….

Q: WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO CROSS-COUNTRY SKI?
The British Army had taken me on as a downhill instructor when they held courses at Sjusjøen in 1999. These courses required cross-country as well as downhill teachers, so I was dispatched with a military instructor and a pair of flimsy boards to master the sport in time for my first group of unsuspecting squaddies the next day.

Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN AN INSTRUCTOR AT SJUSJØEN?
After two seasons with the military, I began as a freelance cross-country teacher, quite happy to don the comfortable shoes instead of those monstrous Alpine boots. That was 16 years ago now – goodness me!

Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR AN 'AVERAGE' NOVICE TO GRASP THE BASICS AND HEAD OUT ON THEIR OWN?
The first lesson is by far the most important and for many it is the only lesson they ever need. After two hours, I expect an average novice to handle tracks over easy terrain with confidence.

Related Holidays

Enjoy the silence

Let Keith show you the basics of cross-country skiing on a week at the Rustad Hotel in Sjusjøen, or how to improve your technique if you're more experienced.

More about our winter holidays in
the snow in Norway >

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE OR TIP YOU WOULD GIVE TO A NOVICE CROSS-COUNTRY SKIER?
Hire me, or at least read my book! Over the years I have developed a teaching system which is crafted to produce solid results as quickly as possible. A novice needs to have a grasp of the fundamental principles from the very start. One's confidence can be badly shaken by just 'having a go'.

Q: WHAT MAKES SJUSJØEN SO SPECIAL IN WINTER?
You can experience ‘old Norway’ up here. One's awareness of time and space alters. Interestingly, Brits can find it a bit disconcerting at first. If you pause when out on a trail, it is possible the only sound you will hear is your own heartbeat.

Q: WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE 'NOT-TO-BE-MISSED' TRAIL AT SJUSJØEN?
Around the lake, or crossing it when conditions allow. The views from any of the tops around the village are also worth the effort of the climb.

Q: DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY IN THE SNOW…
Minus 8 degrees, a periwinkle blue sky, no wind, good company – and a thin layer of new powder snow on a firm base allowing the chance to escape from prepared tracks and experience the pristine wilderness.

Q: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO END A DAY ON THE TRAILS?
Collapse by the fire with a gløgg (hot toddy or vin chaud) before getting ready for my well-earned dinner.

Q: AND, FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE SNOW HAS GONE?
Clear up the garden under orders from ‘er indoors, dust off the golf clubs – and hope for a nice warm summer.



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