Skaters in the News:

Norwegian Completes Skate Across United States

Adventurer Says Minnesotans Are More Norwegian Than 'We Are'

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

Helge Hjelland has an adventurer's outlook on life.

"Most people," he says, "don't live out their dreams because they are too afraid of the uncertainty. But I like the excitement. I love not knowing what's around the next corner."

The Norwegian school teacher completed his latest adventure on Tuesday: a transcontinental skate tour of the United States.

He started in Seattle on June 19th and arrived in Long Island on Tuesday. The trip took five months and covered an estimated 3293 miles.

Hjelland skated alone, without a support team, propelling himself along with the help of ski poles and carrying a sleeping bag and tent on his back.

He went through four sets of wheels.

He said the hardest part of the trip was the summer heat, which occasionally exceeded 104 degrees (F).

Along the way, he stopped in Minnesota, which is home to many Norwegian immigrants.

"In Minnesota, they're more Norwegian than we are," he told a reporter in Pennsylvania.

"We don't really care about it back home, but they all have their flags flying," he recalled with a laugh.

Hjelland's previous adventures include crossing the North Sea (both ways) in a rubber dinghy and circling the globe (at least the dry portion) on bicycle.

So has he had his fill of adventure yet?

Apparently not.

Next, he plans to sail the length of the Niger River in Africa, a trip of about 2600 miles.

(Posted on Nov. 23, 2005)

Related reading

Derrick newspaper story about Hjelland

• More Skaters in the News


Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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