Skiers mourn their trailblazer

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Skiers and sports officials alike were mourning the loss this week of Svein Gulbrandsen, who worked for Oslo’s large ski association Skiforeningen for more than 35  years and headed efforts to create what cross-country skiers love most: perfectly prepared ski trails.

Gulbrandsen held the literally lofty title of løypebas at Ringkollen, which means he was in charge of ski trail preparation in a wide area of the hills and forests northwest of Oslo called Krokskogen. He was killed last week in an accident involving the heavy equipment he drove to prepare the ski trails.

“He died at his post,” wrote Bente Lier, secretary general, in a memorial to Gulbrandsen in newspaper Aftenposten. She called Gulbrandsen “an icon” far beyond the boundaries of the Oslo forests.

His funeral was set for Thursday in the historic Norderhov Church in Ringerike, at the base of the hills where he worked on behalf of millions of skiers for so many years, with a reception to follow at the Ringkollstua back up near his home base. His obituary in Aftenposten was accompanied by a drawing of a snowflake. staff