Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The midwinter light in Norway has a quality I have missed. The sun hangs at an acute angle in the sky, blindingly bright but somehow lacking the warmth of even the feeblest summer sun. The few precious hours of light available beg to be used to their fullest extent. Ski!

Audun in the sun on lake Jonsvatnet.

Unfortunately, the snow cover around Trondheim and most of Norway has been rather thin. But the cold conditions and dry weather had created good ice skating conditions. In fact, it was the arrival of 5 cm of snow just before I flew back that prevented the conditions from being truly great. Wind packed the snow into patches on lake Jonsvatnet, creating a labyrinth of stiff snow on a surface of smooth ice.

Zoë in the snow labyrinth
We had a couple trips to Jonsvatnet, the first of which provided the most dramatic light and conditions. Minus 10 C and blowing snow keeps you skating fast to keep your core temperature up!
Self-portrait in the ice with blowing snow
Christmas eve and day were filled with skiing and skating by day, and food and family by night. On the 27th me and Audun headed over to his parents a couple hours south. Since then we've been eating more traditional Norwegian Christmas food, and enjoying a fresh but short lived dump of snow.
Skiing near Tingvoll
Tomorrow we're heading to a cabin the mountains near Oppdal for New Year's Eve with some friends, which makes this officially the last post of the first year of this blog.

This year has been excellent: I have skiied powder in Chamonix, spent three weeks touring Japan, run a marathon, mountain biked in Morocco, climbed Norway's third highest peak, biked Tour de Mont Blanc, and conquered legendary Tour de France climbs on my road bike...

Hopefully next year will be every bit as epic as this year; I'm certainly laying plans for it to be so. A big New Year's hug to friends, family and followers around the world - see you next year!

- The Wild Bazilchuk