Here is  report written by one of the participating students on this years Neil Davis Friluftsliv PBL.  Each year the family of deceased RCN alumnus Neil Davis offer funds towards supporting this event appreciating the memory of Neil’s enjoyment of his friluftsliv experiences at RCN.

I was really shocked and surprised in the best way possible when I found out that I had been accepted into the snow caving PBL, and until we had the first two meetings about equipment and the theory behind snow caving and food and other stuff I didn’t quite realise that it was actually real. I guess I didn’t even realise that it was real before I sat on the bus, backpack packed, wearing outdoor clothes and with skis next to the seat! And so, the PBL started. After a 90-minute drive up and into the Gaularfjell, and a short ski trip of 45 minutes, we found a place that looked good to build a snow cave – where snow had collected and with no possibility for avalanche. When we checked with the snow probe, it didn’t hit any ground, there was so much snow! It took us about three hours of hard shovelling to build the cave, and it felt like an eternity, but the result turned out surprisingly cosy and warm. It was really difficult to get a smooth roof and an even floor, something we felt in the night when we slept on bumps and water dripped, but it was still cool to see what one can build out of only snow! After all the digging, we were exhausted, so we made some dinner and went to sleep early.

The next morning, we woke up at around nine, and it was great to get that much sleep for the first time in weeks. We got more than twelve hours of sleep every night, and it was amazing how happy and energised that made us! After porridge and hot chocolate for breakfast, we went on a ski trip to explore the local area: some skiing, some falling as we got used to the telemark skis. Then we had some lunch, and split up as people wanted to do different things. Some continued to ski, trying various techniques (jumps; face-plants; etc) and enjoying the sun; two built a wall out of blocks sawn out of snow in front of the cave to shelter us from wind, and one artist carved some beautiful faces into the hard snow. Then dinner, tomato soup as the day before, with noodles for some and couscous for others, to varying degrees of satisfaction, and much debate on preferences. As it got darker, some went into the cave to sleep while others skied a bit more and enjoyed the stars. Some were even better at skiing in the dark, maybe because they didn’t see the trees?!

Waking up the next morning, it felt kind of weird to realise that it was already the last day, and we all tried to make the most of it, even as it was very cold – minus 8 degrees C? After breakfast of porridge and hot chocolate, we went on another ski trip, and it was really cool to see how much everyone had improved. After lunch we packed our bags and skied back, filled with incredible memories and ready to continue the busy life on campus.

Florina Hugenschmidt (UWC RCN ’16 – ’18)