19 NOVEMBER 2008

When it comes to cross-country skiing, Norway's national passion, there's nothing like learning young. So taking advantage of the unusually early start to the ski season this year, Princess Mette-Marit and her husband Haakon and have already begun giving their younger children, four-year-old Ingrid and Sverre, two, some starter lessons to build their confidence.

Like any hands-on dad, the crown prince had prepared for any eventuality during their hiking expedition, carrying a backpack and a waterproof mat for making stops if needed.

He kept his hands free to guide their little boy along the snowy plain near the two hytte or cabins the royals bought last year in Uvdal, a picturesque ski resort three hours drive from their Oslo home.

The area, at the foot of Hardangervidda mountain range, is known for its blue skies, copious snowfall and a network of trails that criss-crosses the entire valley.

Photo: ©
With all resorts in northern Europe opening earlier than usual because of record snow, many keen skiers - among them the Norwegian royals - are taking advantage. Haakon and Mette-Marit have been sharing their enthusiasm with Ingrid and her little brother Sverre this week Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
Their cross-country ski session took place in the picturesque mountain region of Uvdal, where the royals bought two cabins last year Photo: © Rex
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