Letter to the editor: Norway’s heritage an inspiration

Norway’s heritage an inspiration

Received March 1

Recent remarks on Norway’s Olympic achievements focused essentially on social and economic factors.

A more historical aspect for that small Nordic nation’s perennial success has much to do with the reality of its geography and climate, which has nurtured a rugged, independent population that required an early proficiency in the use of skis for survival amidst some of the grandest sculpture of the Ice Age.

A long, narrow, mountainous country, their communities often relatively isolated, as with coastal British Columbia and Alaska. Producing such accomplished explorers as Roald Amundson and Fridtjof Nansen, of South Pole and Greenland fame, respectively. Traditionally, there is little tolerance for failure.

A more recent contribution of that nation’s heritage is the annual Ski for Light competition, sponsored by Sons of Norway and inspired by Norwegian musician turned blind, Bjarne Eikevik in 1952, whereby, blind skiers are paired in separate tracks with sighted guides and directed by voice commands.

My first experience, in the Judith Mountains of north-central Montana, was guiding a middle-aged man from Wyoming over a two-mile,winding, rolling and wooded trail. He never fell once and finished within two minutes of his estimated time.Later, I guided a young woman on Yellowstone’s Rendezvous Trail, who stayed on her feet the whole time. Talk about courage! In the evening, we all gathered for dinner at a local hotel - blind skiers and their guides. Thanks to Norway for sharing a heritage and inspiration for so many.

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