Adventures in Oslo: danger, excitement, acrophobia

It’s not skiing season. Even if it were, Holmenkollen, the Oslo Olympic ski jump is not the place I’d pick to be skiing at. Ski jumping is a horribly frightening business. You have to wonder who the hell was the first person to send themselves hurtling down a ski jump and then into the air on the off chance they may land on their skis again headed in the right direction rather than the more obvious outcome, a mess of broken bones and scrambled organs impaled on 2 primitive skiing implements. (I mean, let’s face it, whatever they were skiing on back when this was invented wasn’t a pair of Rossignols with quick-release bindings).

The thing looms over Oslo, you can see this ski jump from the city it’s so huge. And while I am basically interested in doing it, I’m not going to ski jump any time soon. But they have a zip line from which you can vaguely have the same experience. Fine, I’ll do that! I was totally up for it.

I have zip lined before, in the rain forest in Costa Rica with my nephew Charlie. I don’t recall the sense of height or nervous fear I that I experienced getting to the top of this thing, and it took a long time during which I was thinking, well, I can just walk down if I need to. As we made our way up, first walking and then on an elevator/tram thing, my feet started to get a panicky tingle in my toes. But by the time I was standing in the line with other people there was no going back and from there it was out onto the platform and hurling myself into space, I was a little apprehensive. The Royal Indian Mounted Food Control Police refused to join me in this adventure citing fear but he had no problem waltzing out onto the open windy platform to record me plunging to my death (see below). I could hear everyone saying “oh he died doing what he loved.” Grocery shopping? I don’t think so.

The thing is, once you are strapped safely in, you are about 4 feet over the ski jump. There is no possibility of tumbling to your death. You’re high up, but not really. I was disappointed. It was fun, but zip lining in Costa Rica (which lasted more than these 22 seconds) high above the trees was way scarier. And there, barely strapped in, with no brakes, no helmets, and a glove to use to stop oneself by grabbing the cable just before smashing in the tree at the end of the line, I was truly in danger. That was scary. So were the spiders.

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