Next stop Norway.
Day 0: Flight.
|View from Train|
Day 1: Travel.
We woke up at 0830h hopped the bus and headed back to the airport. It doubles as the train station. Grabbed a croissant and a coffee and hopped on the train to Lillehammer. The scenery on the 2 hour train ride was amazing. The tracks pace this long lake, on either side are tall hills covered in evergreens that are caked with snow. Small outcroppings of houses dot the horizon. For the most part the lake is frozen over, undisturbed but for tracks in snow (animal, ski, fishing). One place had what looked like a race track cleared out, more research needs to be done about this...snow racing anyone?
After settling in, we headed down the hill (at a running pace). Off to find the grocery store. This took us ironically far past the hotel office we were at before. Groceries done, we headed to the Hafjell Alpinesenter to see about rentals. With the light failing already (at 1530h) and finding out that rentals and lift tickets for the remainder of the day weren't worth it, we headed back to the apartment. Liz had a nap, Matt had a couple beers, made dinner and relaxed. Our first night at the hill was finished up with a sauna and some handball. On the telly.
So we're a lazy bunch, and got up at about 0900h. That's ok as the hill doesn't open until 0930h. We grabbed our lift tickets, which were cheaper than the equivalent tickets in Canada regardless of resort. Then went into the sport store because finally Matt realized that he needed long johns. Also got his helmet a goggle holder for cheap. After, we headed across the road to the cheaper ski rental and got two sets of snowboard/boots. Basically, we spent less on our flight, rental, tix and accommodations here than we would have for Canada or the Alps. And we get to go to an Olympic venue in Norway.
So now we've got our RFID tickets (very cool) and we're in line for the gondola. Up we go. Stupidly (or smartly) we got out of the gondola at the halfway point and took a smooth route down. Matt is improving greatly. Even his first run after away for a year was good. A few spills and a lot of swearing got him to the bottom of the hill. The next run we took the gondola to it's end, which wasnt even the top of the mountain. Down we went, and then we skied into homebase. Had a lunch of tomato soup and coffee. Cleared our goggles from the fog, and our helmets of the snow and damp. Headed back out for another couple runs. Matty sat on his butt a bit hard, and on ice, so he was sent in at 1445h. Liz took one more run before the lift closed (1515h). We chilled: watching extremely fit people ski and shoot (and puke). Matt is complaining about his bottom.
My arse hurts.
Day 3: Intermediate.
The following day was much of the same. The weather was cloudy (at the top), foggy (at the bottom) and snowing (pretty much everywhere). This was great, as the slopes became covered in fresh, clean powder snow. Many of the runs had "Closed" signs - which the previous skiers/riders had dutifully ignored. Matt got his first taste of calf burn from trying to surf over the powder. Unfortunately, he has now been spoiled for Ontario.
Day 4: Advanced.
This day was glorious. Liz switched up the snowboard for skis. This meant that both of us were at the same skill level. Matt was now making it down the hill without falling at all. We made it to the top of the last chair, and were greeted with a beautiful view of the interior mountains of Norway, as the weather had finally cleared. The wonderful thing was that the last night's snow was untouched. The day was filled with both of us happily falling into layers of powder: up to 3 feet deep on the edges, deeperin the wooded sections....Liz face planted a few times, or "yard sale" as she called it. She blames the too large boots. Matt made a few snow clouds too. He blames inattention.
|Way up high|
Who were we kidding, 4 days straight of snow activities. Owie. The day started like all the others: strap into snow device on feet, slide down from the cottage to chair lift, go up chair lift. After the first full-length run, we were pooched. We made it 2 hours, falling all over the place, and decided to take a break for lunch. Lunch turned into 1500h, we raced back to chairlift. Luckily we caught the last lifts to the top and started our way down. We decided to try some wooded runs.... Matt was not exactly ready for it, he faceplanted and spent a bunch of time on his arse. Liz tried turning in the powder, instead of using speed, and fell on her butt. With the runs getting busier by the minute (it was open past 1515h that day) we made our way down to the bottom of the hill. Liz ran back to the cottage to get our boots and we went to return out gear....it was closed. So exhausted and feet killing, we made the hike all the way back up the hill to the cottage.
Read Day 1 and 0 and reverse. Walked to hotel to check out. We hopped on a bus to Lillehammer, walked through the town for a while. Made our way back to the bus satiation and caught the train. We arrived at the airport 5 hours early for our flight. Hungry and irritated we ordered a deep dish pizza. 2 hours later we breezed through customs... Matt later remarked that nobody had asked to see a boarding pass or passport. Went on a "small" duty free spree (dirty flea). Flew home. Ate bad food. Slept.
More on Hafjell:
Hafjell was the site of the 1994 Lillehammer Alpine events. It now hosts World Cup events in both skiing, snowboarding and downhill cycling. The resort has 4 types of runs: green, blue, red, black. There are variety of slopes: groomed, moguled, wooded, park, etc. The usual ski school, rental facilities, spa, store and crap food abound.
|Ski Patrol Hut after My Heart.|