Monday, 9 February 2009

Run to the hills!

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.


Anonymous said...

Sadly our venture out on Saturday was curtailed by both the frozen roads and other domestic demands! Now after 12hr of solid rain every last trace of a flake has gone, oh well we will just have to wait another 20 odd years!! Good to see you both having fun, any chance of some sound on the videos? and what happened to the quinze?!
Regards 'The old man'

Holdfast said...

The Old Man - funny how things crawl to a standstill in ol'Blighty with a little bit of snow! Sad to hear the snow is all gone, you should come visit, we've got more snow than we know what to do with. Actually I know exactly what to do with it - go outside and play in it! There should be some sound on the videos. orks on my machine. Any one else have problems hearing sound on my videos or is it a case of 'old people and technology'?! ;-) The quinzee building will have to wait for another day with less time constraints.

Chris ( said...

Wow, that look likes fun! National holiday in Japan tomorrow, I think I might be going on a sled buying expedition.

I got sound on the video when I played it - although I was eagerly anticipating the dulcet strains of Motorhead. Which reminds me, I really need to download some of Lemmy's finest onto the iPod..

Anonymous said...

OK ok I found the volume control and possibly a little bit of finger trouble!! But most of the time all I can hear is the wind! what about some neat dialogue, where you are, interesting points what kit your using and its good/bad point etc.
Regards 'The old man'

Holdfast said...

Chris - I think sliding might be the meaning of life! After work on Monday we couldn't get back up the hill quick enough. We hiked to the top of the forest track to get the daily 'exercise' out of the way and then as the snow started falling again we 'battened down the hatches' and had a wild time sliding back down. The track is floodlit and it was a great mix of families, gangs of teenagers and thirty-somethings who should know better taking it turns. Some of those kids have pretty tricked out sleds!

I will be working on the videos some more when I have time. I often think of soundtracks to clips as I'm filming them!

Holdfast said...

'The Old Man' - the reason you can usually only hear roaring wind noise is because that's usually what the weather is doing! I will be adding music to the videos in the near future.

I've thought about adding kit reviews to this blog but there are already plenty of good places to get that kind of information and I'm no expert. I'm happy to answer any questions though or point people in the direction of people who know what they're talking about.

Nielsen Brown said...

I really appreciate the action movie, sadly I will struggle for a steep enough slope here in Denmark for sledding. And for that matter enough snow.