Sunday, 10 April 2011
The thing on todays photo is what we call a "spark" in Norway, a means of transportation used during the winter. The name is not pronounced like the english word and it obviously does not mean the same thing. In norwegian "ett spark" can be translated into "a kick" which is kind of what you have to do to get this weird sledge-looking thing to move forward. This is how you do it: You stand with one foot on one of the long iron things (in norwegian it's called "en meie"), supporting yourself on the handles and kick with your other foot down and backwards to make the spark move forward. (If this does not make any sense, check out this video). The spark is usually used in Norway, Sweden and Finland, but it is not a very common means of transportation. To be able to ride a spark the snow has to be hard-packed, and with perfect conditions one can reach speed up to 20 km/h, even more downhill. The first description of a spark dates back to 1872 in northern Sweden, and they became popular in Norway after 1900. It's said they were particulary popular amongst the youth. Since then they have been more or less used only by those who were the youth in the 1930's and 1940's, but this year, championships in downhill spark took place in Norway, a sign that the spark is increasing its popularity amongst the youth once again!