It’s early morning in Damtjern on the Ringerike. Lonely man cycling and indoor riding in Nordmarka. It’s sunny. Feel the heat in the face.
Tom Stensacker, 67, of Oslo traveled more than seven miles from the capital to find the last remnants of snow. Since 1992, he has skied 360 thousand kilometers. This equates to nine times around the Earth.
– I’m a special person, he says in a low voice, knowing that what he’s doing is extreme.
The 67-year-old doesn’t have a single gram of fat in his body. He trained at the highest level with O2 records as the best athlete. Since 1972, he accurately fills out training notes that tell about all the flights.
The areas surrounding Oslo are Tom’s eldorado.
– I like loneliness. I like to be alone with nature. It’s me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like people. Lots of people stop me when I’m walking around Marka. Many contact me for advice. Others picked up the thread and immediately started to like me. Tom says mile after mile of skiing.
Searching for snow
We’ve come to the last snow left in Nordmarka. It’s the end of May, and snow conditions have not been as good this year as before. The shaded area created by the tall trees means there is still some snow on the road. Tom puts his bike aside. Inside the trees he hid his sleds. In his bag he has packed lunch and cola. Eight slices of bread go down easily in one day.
– I have to eat a lot of carbohydrates. Bread with good toppings and cola is ideal. With so many miles each day, the body quickly depletes energy and nutrients, he says.
Then he ties his sled.
Tom uses shared skates. He tested all types – and found his favourites. Both in terms of slip and grip. Early in the morning, after a cold night, the snow is still a bit firm. But over the course of the day, it quickly becomes soggy.
No soul to see. Only this red-clothed creature goes and goes. Back and forth.
The speed is not high but it is stable. Today was TV 2 there, conditions were nice. Tom had a 350-meter snow-covered piece of land to walk on. Back and forth.
But he does not give up even if there is less snow. An impulse of 50 meters of snow is sufficient. Tom has walked for miles at such short distances. It is not considered a ski trip if he has not walked at least five kilometers.
– I often start early in the fall on freezing water with sleet on ice. Then I keep moving forward until the field is empty. I don’t travel in the mountains in the summer. I also don’t go skiing. Tom says I go hiking in the summer. It is also very mountainous.
For 20 years, until I was forty, I climbed almost all the peaks and castles in all of Norway. Even though I am a trained architect, nature has taken me out and taken over my life in some way. I worked for many years as a guide for the glaciers of western Norway. Although I live in Oslo, city life never really caught my eye, he says — and tells me how it all began.
– When I was 16, I got my dog. I let my friends who were standing in the corner smoke and go into the woods. At the same time, I began recording all my travels in books. First in the seventh sense, then practice the diary. I do not use data. Do everything by hand, and write with a pen, he says.
An overview of everything
Today’s trip is over. Tom gets in the car, drives to his house in Oslo and to the house in Tonsenhagen where he lives alone. We will join. Everything is clean and tidy. On the table are all the training diaries.
– My whole life is there. Day of the week. every hour. 50 years old, he says intently, and started flipping through one of them.
One year he had nearly 1,500 miles of skiing and was out for nearly 1,500 hours in six months. By comparison, the most extreme athletes run 1200-1300 hours per year.
This says something about what Tom Steinsacker does.
A few years ago, Tom’s father passed away. Father and son lived together all these years, and it was the father who took care of all practical matters. Tom is the only child. Losing his father was a severe blow.
It may only be the case with children that when the last parent is gone, you feel very lonely. It became too much for me and I had a hard time. At first I had to take care of all the paperwork – then the question arose about the big house. Should I stay or move into an apartment? Today he says I am very happy that I chose to keep the house.
Having a better dinner after a ski trip, sitting in the garden. Although central to Oslo, it is still quiet. Little traffic noise, green and beautiful.
– I thrive here. It’s a good starting point for getting to all the beautiful areas around Oslo, be it Østmarka, Nordmarka or Romeriksåsen. Tom says we don’t understand how lucky we are.
The big plan now is to go so far that he can score ten times the distance on skis around the world, but first and foremost, it’s the fun of skating, as well as the feeling of nature, that drives him.
Now he is struggling on the last snow patches in Nordmarka. And we’re already looking forward to the first snowflakes hovering over the country again this fall.
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