This holiday was absolutely outstanding: one of the three or four best in my life. In terms of cross-country skiing holidays, it ranks for sheer enjoyment with the first cross-country skiing holiday I had twenty years ago, spent with Exodus's predecessor Waymark. Like that holiday, snow conditions were not as good as experienced on other vacations in between. As sometimes happens shared difficulties leads to greater challenge, improvisation, hilarity and group spirit, as my fellow holiday makers and I slithered and stopped, crashed, fell over got up again, and got better against worsening conditions as the week went on, the sun shone, and the track went from polished ice in the mornings to slush punctuated by dung, soil from mole hills, tree branches and fir cones in the afternoon. I have to say that team spirit always seems to improve faster in grade 1 beginners, for whom the novelty of this unnatural form of personal transport known as langlaufing has not worn off. The excitement of mastering a bike for the first time is similar. Grade 2's can be slightly blasé about it. Above grade 2, possibly that focus on distance travelled, and personal bests, would make me feel uncomfortable amongst other participants, just as when I ran two half marathons for fun, health and charity, and found myself sharing changing facilities with skinny, intense, (and frequently bald), men talking obsessively about 'PBs'.