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Peeps at Many Lands: Norway
written by "Jungman, Nico"
...gians who have leisure to enjoy themselves turn their attentions to the real pleasures of winter—sleighing, [85]ski-ing, tobogganing, and skating. The boys and girls are thoroughly happy. Directly school is over away they go, with their skates, snowshoes, or toboggans, to have a right good time in their different playgrounds. The hill on which the palace stands is given up to these little revellers, and in the evenings dozens of them of all ages may be seen descending the slopes face downwards on their kjælker, or racing through the trees with their long ski on their feet. The public gardens also are flooded to form a rink for the sole use of the infant skaters, and, judging by their rosy cheeks, the outdoor exercise in the cold, dry air makes them as healthy as any children in the world. But grown-up people consider skating feeble sport in comparison with ski-ing, which may be called the national sport of Norway. Not so many years ago it was restricted to that country; but now the sport has become a favourite one in Sweden, Switzerland, and in other parts of Europe where the snow lies deep. Yet, to see perfection in the art, one must go to Norway—the real home of the great long wooden snowshoe. From earliest youth the Norwegians of both sexes are accustomed to go about the country in the long winter months on these strange contrivances, for without them it would be absolutely impossible to move off the roads. Children are taught in the schools to use them; soldiers wear them at winter drill and manoeuvres; farmers, milkmaids, cowboys, all may be seen daily in the country parts going from place to place on them, and so keen are the young rustic lads on becoming proficient ski-runners that all over Norway are to be found ski clubs, formed for the purpose of encouraging snowshoeing as [86]a pastime, and for sending competitors to the great annual meeting at Christiania. These snowshoe competitions are most interesting and exci...

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