In the early morning of Sunday, March 30th, 2 student participants, 6 student volunteers and 2 staff members departed from the College to Beitostølen, where the 51st Ridderrennet was to take place. Ridderrennet is an annual event allowing people with different disabilities to compete in winter sports, primarily cross-country skiing, regardless of their age, gender, country of origin, or physical fitness level. Here is a report from one of the students, Ismar Šabanović:
We were all very excited, and after a 6-hour drive, we arrived at our destination. The scenery was just amazing – snow, snow, and even more snow everywhere around us. A true winter wonderland. Our duties in the restaurant were mostly focused on helping anyone in need with getting their food, drinks, or just simply guiding people in and out of the restaurant. At first, it felt quite awkward for a bunch of newcomers to jump into the midst of the well-trained crew who were employed at the restaurant, but we quickly adjusted and found the work really enjoyable. The fun didn’t stop there – although we were quite busy helping out in the restaurant and preparing a small show for everyone, there was also plenty of free time to enjoy the sun and the snow. Cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowboarding – we managed to try it all! During our time out on the snow, we saw many of the people we helped in the restaurant training for their races and it is really difficult to find words to describe how amazed we all were to see what the participants were capable of.
Now, reflecting back on what the competition participants from RCN achieved, I feel more and more proud of the fact that I study at the same place as them. Having been an alpine skier myself for about 10 years, it was just breath-taking seeing Yeison, a Columbian 1st year, trying alpine skiing for the first time and making amazing progress in only 2 days; seeing Jianjun, from China, going from his first time on skis to being a Ridderrennet racer and biathlon race bronze medalist. It was absolutely amazing.
As the organisers say, Ridderrennet makes the impossible possible! It is definitely one of those special weeks that will have a safe place in our UWC RCN memories.