Oslo Training

by Jennie



(Above – Norwegian ski team is plastered all over cheese packages and ads )

Norway lesson – list #2:

– They get really cheap/almost free healthcare. But like all social healthcare systems, if you need something done badly, you have to either wait in line, or go pay personally at a private clinic.

– However, they are taxed %25-%40 of their income, ouch.

– Norway has no debt. None. In fact, it has one of the biggest savings for a country.

– Nok (krone) currency is hard to get the hang of. It’s about 6 x the dollar, so on top of things being really expensive in the first place, getting groceries at 200 nok actually are about $33 dollars.

– The eldest kid gets the farm, if they don’t want it it goes to the next kid. Still the current way of doing it. Seems to work.

– Each Norwegian kid gets money from the government until they are 18 years old that gets put away into savings. When they are 18, they can take it out and use it for school, housing, and other important life events.

– General European fact I was reminded of – everyone drives manual, because most of the cars are only manual. If you can’t drive manual, you’re screwed….and lame….

– Brown cheese (popular Norwegian goat cheese that sort of tastes like carmel) is good when sliced very thinly. My initial American way cut off way too much and gave me a nasty taste association. Locals method, thin slices = mmmm so tasty. Lesson learned of take your time, start with a little, and it just may be a better outcome.

(If you have more fun facts to add to what’s above, please feel free to include below.)

Ingrid and I got together with some UAF grads Anna, Harald, Auralia, and Einar, in a big ol country farmhouse for lunch and watched the women’s 30k. It was very nice of them to switch to English for me, but it verified the fact that I feel rude being in a country and not knowing ANY of the language. Luckily it wasn’t too much of a stretch since two of these gals are American and one is German. My new educational goals are to learn Norwegian and Spanish. On the road tutoring anybody?



(Below – We went for a ski near Bjorn Daehlie’s old stomping grounds. The terrain actually reminds me of Northern Michigan!)

IMG_1678(Below – Gal pal ski (: )



I meet up with the US Ski team in Finland on the 25th. Next weekend (March 1 and 2) is a Skate sprint and Skate 10k in Lahti.  Then we head to Drammen for the classic city sprint on wednesday the 5th! If you have not seen those, definitely youtube them.



  1. Elizabeth Griffin
    23 February 14, 9:46am

    I appreciate your remark about being in another country and not knowing the language at all. it is embarrassing; wish we put more emphasis on languages in school here!
    Ha! about the cheese, and it’s caramel, by the way–great observations about cheese and life.
    Best wishes to you; happy training happy racing!

    • Jennie
      05 March 14, 2:58pm

      Thanks liz! (:

  2. Lisa
    23 February 14, 3:44pm

    Thanks for the update. Geitost, my favorite and best when sliced with an Ostehøvel. Try the lefse and nordlandkaker too. Good fuel. There’s a Norwegian language class in Bozeman if you want to try that when you get back. Until then, we’re rootin’ for you. Have fun and ski fast!

    • Jennie
      05 March 14, 2:58pm

      Hey Lisa, yeah I definitely want to get something like Rosetta Stone for a language. With my time away so much, a class might be hard to do.

  3. Kjetil Kjernsmo
    05 March 14, 2:40pm

    Hi Jennie!

    I was going around twitter for the people I cheered for today. Awesome skiing, I enjoyed it very much, and my kids did too!

    Nice post, but it isn’t all quite as simple as it sounds. Not all cars are manual, actually, I have two, and one of them is automatic. There are some people who can only get a license for automatic, another fun fact: You have to do *a lot* of driving lessons to get a license. I had like 30 hours.

    The money that kids get are actually going to the parents, but many parents will invest it so that the kids get them when they turn 18.

    Also, the taxation isn’t as bad is it sounds. Back when I worked in the private sector, I used to pay 29% taxes off of my USD 100 000 salary. My friends in the US who make that kind of money pay like 26%. Since then, I got bored with the industry and shaved 1/3 of it to become a researcher. Happier now. 🙂

    I haven’t had much use for the health system, but I think it works quite well. When we had our first child, we had 7 midwives, nurses and doctors in the room in the final minutes, with another 2 on standby just outside. And I don’t even think we needed it badly. It was just there for us.

    Some years ago, I had a very complicated fracture in my foot. I had jumped down 3 meters from an military obstacle course kinda thingie. It was classified as a sporting injury. In reality, it was my bachelor’s party (they can happen at any point before the wedding here, to maximize the surprise)… It didn’t really hurt, so I only drove down to the emergency room the following day. They did all kinds of x-rays, CT scans etc., then told me “I have never seen this injury before, nor has anybody else here, but it looks like you have severed 4 toes in your left foot in a very complicated fracture, I’m going to send you to your local hospital”. There, they said “I have never seen this before, but I’ll have the attending physician look into here when she gets to work”. She said “I’ve never seen this before, but I believe the diagnosis my subordinate set was correct. Now, as it happens, my former Ph.D. advisor happens to be Norway’s formost expert, I’ll call him up immediately and get his opinion”. When she returned, she said: “We have confirmed the diagnosis. This is more important to do right than do quickly, so we’re going to patch you up the best we can, you can have your wedding and your honeymoon, and then we get the best to do the needed surgery next month”. My employer wasn’t happy though, they wanted me back as quickly as possible, and they had a private insurance. It turned out to be worthless, while they could do the surgery in 3 weeks rather than a month, they couldn’t offer anyone with experience on exactly this type of injury. Turns out, I think, that the best people are simply in high demand. Doesn’t matter who pays them, you’re lucky enough if you get the best. Besides, she was right, I was able to throw the crutches and walk down the aisle (told the priest, who is a friend of mine that she should have been a catholic, she’d be on her way to sainthood 🙂 ) and go swimming on the honeymoon. When they did the surgery, they flew in a guy from Sweden who was the other person in the nordics who had the same kind of injury that year. Snowboarding accident. I was awake during surgery, which was also quite interesting. Afterwards, I got free physiotherapy time to regain muscular strength. I don’t know what I could possibly expect to be better than this, and I’m happy I never even see the bill.

    • Jennie
      05 March 14, 2:57pm

      Hey Kjetill,
      Thats great, thanks for the info! I was hoping someone would post in with more detail, because I was just told some bare bones, of which I decided to put in my blog out of interest. Thanks for cheering today! That is quite a medical story. You never had to pay for flying in a Dr from Sweden?? Wow. I had a herniated disc this spring, and went to the Mayo clinic (a big collection of medical facets in one Minnesotan facility). Definitely saw the bill from that one!
      As long as my back feels a bit better post today, on to the Holmenkollen this weekend!
      – Jennie

  4. Kjetil Kjernsmo
    09 March 14, 2:15pm

    Hi! Thanks for the response! I couldn’t make it to Holmenkollen today, unfortunately. We were selling our apartment further down the hill, in the same street where Therese and Ingvild lives, and where Marit used to live. 🙂 Actually, the doctor was Norwegian, but the other guy who had the same type of injury was from Sweden. 🙂 I suppose there is some collaboration between Norway and Sweden.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: