Sunday, 1 February 2015
When I lived in Lillehammer in 1991 the 400m athletics track a few minutes away the house was made into ice in winter and was a great place to skate. We used to muck around and play ice hockey but using snow-drifts instead of the side walls so it was fun to bump people into them when you tackled. They don't seem to do that anymore so only outdoor option is now down on the big lake - the Mjøsa. Sometimes they have a 1-2k track marked out on the lake but the weather has been a little warm, so only the 400m track is open at the moment. We went down there today so we could tick off 'Ski on a lake' from our to-do list.
I have to admit that I had envisaged something slightly smaller and more intimate, and a little bit more in the middle of a forest or something, but just in case we don't find such a place, this will do for now!
We are lucky to have been able to borrow all our equipment while we are here in Norway. We all have skis and we all have ice skates which is good because there's no such thing as 'hire skate' in Norway. Everyone owns their own pair.
The ice was pretty bumpy as the snow had been cleared from it a number of times by a tractor thing which leaves bumps and divots - but really it wasn't much worse than the Tasmanian skating rink - and of course it was about six billion times the size. We were amongst the first there at about 11.30 but shortly after that there were lots of little kids and older people and even a few on speed skates rocketing around. It wasn't crowded by any means though. We spent a good hour skating around - it was great fun.
After that I got dropped off in town so I could see the main shopping street I used to visit so often and then walk home via my old house. It was really nice. I even snuck into the local Salvos store and bought some very cheap x-country ski-ing jackets for me, Zali & Jett. The problem with regular fleece tops is that if you fall over the snow sticks to them and then melts and is wet - I forgot about that when we packed! Everyone in Norway x-country skis with thinnish windproof outer jackets and thermal layers inside. I like mine, Jett is very happy with his, Zali hasn't tried hers yet, and Jon is very unhappy that I only bought him a bag...
While I walked home the kids continued work on their snow-fort although with the hinderance of the aforementioned dog. And also their own distractions..
Next on our list was to check out the olympic ski-jump, which is just up the road. We got there as the sun was setting (about 4pm) so the views were particularly nice..
This shed below is just near the ski-jump, if you look closely you can see the gate and fence is made of old skis. It looks very cool.
Then we put on our skis from where the car was parked and went for our daily ski. It was no problem that the sun was going down because we were near the lit trails - so we got a good hour of skiing before we decided we'd done enough. Check out the views though..
We skated towards the moon and the last of the blue sky, and when we looked back there was a lovely sunset over the snowcapped trees.
Then it was back into the car for the 10 minute drive home for showers and pizza. I think it is still feasible to get through our list.