Friluftsliv, a 160 year-old word that translates literally to “free air life” in Norwegian, embodies the cultural ties of Norway’s population to the natural world around them. Norway consistently ranks at the top of the United Nation’s World Happiness Report, and it seems fitting then that for a country that finds fulfillment in exploring and connecting with nature, a word exists for the purpose of properly capturing this aspect of the Norwegian people.
- “It’s a real thing,” says Andrea Solberg, who will be representing Norway at the 2020 Games, “many Norwegians love and take pride in spending time outdoors, in the mountains, sleeping in the mountains, and if the weather allows it, doing so without a tent.”
The individuals and teams at the Norwegian CrossFit Championship got a full taste of friluftsliv, as they braved the cold and the snow to traverse up a ski slope, and through the countryside of the Storefjell Resort in event one today.
With a starting time temperature of -6℃/21℉, the roughly three and a half kilometer run began with a steep climb up the snowy hillside. Athletes were bracketed on either side by ski lifts still actively spinning, and after reaching the top the of the climb, they were treated to panoramic views of the Storefjell countryside.
- “Once you get to the top, it’s just you and the mountains out there, it’s a perfect little piece of Norway,” proclaimed national champion Kristin Holte.
The next two kilometers were spent weaving alongside snowmobile tracks and terrain usually reserved for cross-country skiers, as the added wind dropped temperatures to -12℃/10℉.
The cold sting of each breath paled in comparison to the visuals of the landscape, and as athletes sprinted full bore during a downhill stretch to the finish, the pain of the event gave way to smiles.
- “It was a pretty amazing experience, not like anything I’ve done before in competition,” said Hayley Murillo, who traveled from California for the event, “Thankfully I googled what to wear before I came here.”
In an exemplary display of friluftsliv, the Norwegian contingent of athletes left their mark at the top of the leaderboard for the event.
- Runa Egeland and the CrossFit Oslo Warriors took home the win in the elite women and teams divisions, while Norwegian national champion Nicolay Billaudel finished second overall for the men.
After the finish, athletes and fans hustled back inside the Storefjell Resort hotel to thaw out and prepare for the rest of the day’s events, and regardless of result or finish, everyone walked away with a proper piece of Norwegian culture and an opening event experience unlike anything seen before in Sanctionals history.
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