Skiing 1000 km in Thailand for charity
Three “crazy pensioners” – Karl Fred (Kalle) Kristensen and Kjell Isak Sunde from Norway and Peter from Sweden – started on 15 October 2012 on a ski run in Chiang Rai in the far north of Thailand that over the next 18 days took them down through the northern and central provinces of Thailand, through the capital Bangkok and further down to the seaside city of Pattaya. A total of 1000 kilometers.
On Friday 2 November, the tough Scandinavian skiers were greeted by over a hundred Norwegians as they rolled into Pattaya with Thai police escort on the last leg of their legendary trip.
It is safe to say without any research that their feat is for sure the longest ski-trip ever in Thailand, possible also the only one ever undertaken in all of South East Asia. At least regarding the two Norwegians, who were using roller skis – while the third runner was skating on rollerblades.
“The boys have been going faster than planned and the equipment worked out as well,” says Rediar who was in charge of the equipment.
The equipment held up pretty well all the way, and only Peter had to replace a wheel once. The team also avoided accidents, – barring one close encounter with some elephants!
Kjell, who hadn’t seen Kalle for almost 10 years, found out about the “madness” and had travelled to Thailand to be part of it.
So, what was the reason for this madness?
Kalle is a 67-year-old “young at heart” who has been roller-skiing in Thailand for the past eight years. Some may have seen him roller-skiing around in his former home-town, Jomtien, where pedestrians and cars alike would stop and stare at this strange “skiing man”.
Ever since moving from Pattaya to Chiang Mai four years ago, Kalle Kristensen has nurtured his idea of roller-skiing from Chiang Rai back to Pattaya. At the same time, he could give back a little to the Thai society.
The charity aim of the trip was to support education and specifically to support a local school in the small village of Mai Siwalai in Chiang Rai, which is in dire need of upgrading and fixes.
Mai Siwalai is the small school that Kalle’s wife and most of her family members attended when they were children. The school is located near their home and also close to his heart.
More desks and chairs, as well as a computer and perhaps a small library are some of the things the children at Mai Siwalai would greatly benefit from. Kalle is in no doubt that the best way of offering children the chance of a brighter future is through education.
The three Scandinavians said it had been an exhausting trip, but at the same time a fantastic experience. In each and every district they were given a Thai police escort which ensured a safe and smooth passage through traffic. A lot of Thais also provided support by cheering them on, although they were puzzled as this was something they had never seen before and probably something to talk about for years to come.