“It’s a complete craze,” says Stella Hjaltadóttir, a cross-country trainer in Ísafjörður, the West Fjords, when describing the nation’s new pastime, RÚV reports. It’s nothing new for the residents of Ísafjörður to be wild about cross-country skiing. What’s different now is that this time, they seem to have infected the whole nation. A 50-kilometer (31-mile) cross country race planned in Ísafjörður at the end of April, the so-called Fossavatnsganga,is fully booked with 500 participants and 60 people wait-listed.
“What makes it interesting now is that we’re getting all kinds of people, both those who have practiced this for a long time and also people from other sports. And people who are simply looking for a good workout, says Kristbjörn Sigurjónsson, CEO of Craftsport and organizer of the Fossavatnsganga. He moved to Ísafjörður last summer and says living there requires taking up cross-country skiing.
The cross-country craze is demonstrated by a substantial increase in sales of cross country skis in December. Kristbjörn claims his sales have gone up by 30 percent compared with a year ago. A salesman in Reykjavik, contacted by RÚV, stated his sales in December surpassed those of the two previous years combined.