A constant 36 hours of snow midweek followed by daily sub-zero temperatures and crisp, clear weather ensured that this weekend would be busy in the hills around Bergen. Even at the car park, next to the recycling bins, people were getting skis, sleds, snow shoes, etc, out of their cars and heading upwards. At the top of the forest track we stashed our plastic bum sleds under some bushes. We would retrieve these later as our 'getaway' vehicles off the hills.
It had been really cold last night (-10C) and the morning air was very 'fresh'. Coming down from the first trig point we saw that people had cleared a skating rink on the lake near the ski trail. Some people were just skating across the lake, ankle deep in powder. All across the hillsides the tiny figures of people were moving, like ants on a giant snowy ant hill. Mostly on skis it seemed (AT, Tele and x-country). We really must get our act together and learn.
Upwards. We turned north after the reservoir and headed up towards the Turnerhytten. After an hour of huffing and puffing and slipping and sliding we made it up onto the Storfjellet plateau and stopped in the lee of the first hut for coffee and sandwiches. It was good to get out of the bitter wind that blew across the plateau. We sat for a while and gazed out across the endless white mountains east of the city. M has reports to write for school so instead of heading to the summit we had to head towards home. We struck out back towards the Turnerhytten and then traversed back down the different ridges; Storfjellet, Ulriken and Nattlandsfjellet, each time losing height and slowly turning towards the sun.
Back at the top of the forest track that snakes steeply in a series of 'steps' down through the woods and out into the hilly suburbs we recovered our bum sleds from the bushes. After ensuring our packs were secure and gloves sealed we took it in turn to whizz down the track. M was much better at steering her sled (christened 'Little Johnny Frostbite') than me, something she puts down to plenty of experience in the playground with the kids and their sleds at lunchtimes. With Motorhead's Ace of Spades ringing in her iPod she repeatedly ran back up each section of the track and whizzed down again and watched, laughing, as I careered down each straight then plowed into the powder-filled drainage ditch at each corner. It was a fun way to end another excellent day in the hills.
We will be back up the forest track during the week. It's a good 40 minute steep hike to the top and we often walk up there in the evening (it's floodlit!) just for a bit of exercise. This week there will be added incentive! I will learn how to steer my sled ('Black Bess') and M will learn how to take decent photies ;-)
Oh, and it's started snowing. Again.