Monday, March 5, 2012

Hemsedal Skiing (March 2nd, 3rd and 4th)

This weekend I went skiing with my fellow co-workers.  We left Friday night from Lysaker right after work.  A company organised bus picked us up next to the main office building at work, but not before it was being loaded with booze, food and other drinks.  The trip to Hemsedal ski center takes 4 hours, midway the bus stopped once for a toilet break, and of course half the bus went off to buy more booze (spot a trend here?).  The drinking started early on the bus.

Oh there's Internet access on the bus, so guess what I did for much of the 4 hours!!

The night of the 2nd...

We got the keys to our apartments at 8:30pm.  Each apartment was supposed to be allocated 6 pizzas, unfortunately we were only allocated 3 pizzas for ours.  On the other hand we had 12 cartons of milk instead of 6 cartons.  Since we didn't have enough pizzas, we went to the steakhouse for dinner instead.  There were 7 of us in the apartment, and all of us were in the same team (Total accommodation was spread over 7 apartments in order to accommodate 48 of us in total).  I ordered the surf and turf, which was 150 g of steak with 2(!!) prawns, green beans, fried potatoes and it cost 271 nok (45 Australian dollars).  The rest of the guys ordered all forms of steak, and the only girl in our team ordered chicken fillet.  Surprisingly I didn't know this, but everyone in the team is in their 30s except for one guy.  Even the junior guy who joined us last year as a fresh graduate is over 30.

After dinner I went to pick up my skis for the next day.  It cost 250 nok for 2 days (41 Australian dollars).  And after that, a few of us dropped into another apartment to say hi, then I headed back to the apartment at 11:15pm while the others stayed.  Eventually I didn't get to sleep till 1:30 or so.  The other guys got back at some point, I could hear them through the door, which was one reason I could not sleep but the other reason being the small and way too soft bed.  My room mate Carlo on the other hand, slept like a baby.

The morning of the 3rd...

The next morning we find out that another housemate Christian has been snoring all night so two of my other collegues who were in the same room as him couldn't sleep, unfortunate.  We had an early start.  Breakfast was eggs, bacon, ham, cheese, butter, and bread.  At 8:50 I left with the girl and we walked to the Alpine lodge where we had an instructor (Sonja? was her name) waiting for us to teach us cross country skiing.  Hemsedal ski center has lots of slopes, so you must be wondering why I didn't do downhill skiing instead, and the answer is because I've never cross country skied before so why not?  But anyway she has been working there since December, so she's quite new and today (the 3rd March that is) was her first lesson in teaching cross country skiing.

It was a cold day, -10 C.  No snow and a lot of ice, so it was challenging for me as a beginner.  Well I always thought cross country skiing was easier, actually no it's not it's harder, because you have to work other parts of your body, and the shoes you wear are almost like normal shoes and nowhere as thick as downhill skiing shoes.  We had an hour lesson (cost? 662 nok for 2 persons in total which is 110 Australian dollars) and I tried to remember the different methods, there's the ploughing, skiing with your toes, and something like ploughing and skiing with just one leg at the same time.  I fell down several times, and Lord knows how many times during the next several hours after the lesson was over, but I have bruises on my bum, several on both knees and scratches here and there. :)

We arrived back in the apartment at 2pm or so.  One guy was in the apartment but went shopping and he let us in after he got back since we didn't have the key.  I had some lunch which was bread as usual, and rested a bit after that.  After the remaining gang got back around 5 or so, we went to the cafe which housed the infamous afterski party.  Where do I even begin?  The place was packed like sardines to begin with.  Everyone had a drink, except me of course.  The place was not big at all, it's a cafe.  But there was a deejay, extremely loud music, and a hell lot of Norwegians.  Who were all dancing on the tables, there were two large tables.  Okay so me and some guys stood on the benches and moved along with the crowd for a while before coming off and walking to a spot next to another table.  So I was standing with them when out of the blue some random Norwegian guy pulls me on to the table and made me dance with him and his friends.  Norwegians love to party, have I mentioned this before?  They also took random photos of me with them, me pulling silly faces, wearing silly starry eyed flashy electronic glasses, no doubt these will show on someone's facebook photos, and at some point I was grinding against the girl who was in front of me.  Not my proudest moment.  Anyway from my limited hearing, the guy who pulled me up lives in Oslo, works in a shoe business, and his name starts with an S. :)  It was impossible to hear, and right now I'm still half deaf!  Someone also passed me their beer and made me take a sip.  At some point I was also made to take a shot of some awful tasting drink.  After 45 minutes of me sweating like a pig (I was still wearing my ski jacket!) I looked around and my team had disappeared so I thought it would be a good idea to leave.  As I walked out the doors you could see this line up of people trying to get in, and I knew there was no way I'm getting back in.

But anyway I went back to the apartment, and Wouter was there because he had a headache and couldn't pee because the toilet line up was 50 people long so he left.  During that time Carlo couldn't find us and had wandered back into the apartment as well.  He tried to look for us for 2 hours apparently. :)  The girl also met up with Wouter, so at that point there were 4 of us in the apartment.  Another guy got back, Magnus, and so we decided to go for dinner at the tex mex which supposedly served mexican food but turned out that's now a sports bar and served only pizza so we thought maybe steak would be better but that was fully booked.  Alas alack we went back to the apartment to have our 3 frozen pizzas which by this time had to be split between 5 persons.  The last two was split between 7.  I was still hungry after that, but helped myself to all that milk.  I went with JF who wanted to get a pizza at the sports bar, and I wanted to get a salad since I've been having pizza for the last 3 days at work, but there was none.  So he ordered and during the wait we went back to the apartment the day before because JF wanted to hang out there with another work colleague who is a girl, let's call her H.  Anyway H was having a discussion with another girl in the bathroom for goodness knows how long and who knows about what.  I ended up talking to Andreas, who is a hardware engineer and probably too talkative because of what he was drinking.  He has a Norwegian dad and a Danish mum, graduated last year and lives with 2 friends.  I learnt that in 15 minutes. :)  JF and I went back to the bar since it was time to pick up his pizza then we went back to the apartment.  It was the kitchen special, or something, which I thought was good, yes I tried a slice. :P  But the rest of the night was mainly spent talking, or in the case of me just listening.  I didn't sleep till 2am again, not because I didn't want to sleep but I could not sleep.  Carlo on the other the other hand, slept like a snoring baby.

Here's photos that I took, there was no snow and it was sunny.  These were taken using my phone camera.  No after ski party photos unfortunately.

Cross country trail tracks

Camera lens had become foggy :)

These ones are taken with my SLR, after I got back.

Our kitchen

My bed bottom right, shared with a fellow colleague

View outside our balcony, it was sunny

The morning of the 4th, last morning...

This morning we had to check out at 11am so everyone got up close to 8am, had breakfast which was eggs, remaining bacon, ham, cheese, bread and miscellaneous.  There was still a lot of juice left which unfortunately had to be thrown away because we couldn't carry all of it.  I was skiing alone this morning because the girl who had the lesson with me, she wanted to do downhill today which was fine with me.  Probably even better.  Today was great.  It was snowing, and there was absolutely nobody on the tracks!  I made the tracks literally.  I still fell down at some parts but I was way better than the day before.  It was fun and I took some photos with my SLR camera which has GPS so you can see the route that I've skied, from bottom right to top left and back.  This is the pretty much same route that I did the day before.  It was about 10 kilometres in all.

At 1:30pm I met up with the rest of the troops, returned my skis and boarded the bus at 2:15pm.  The bus had internet access too, amazingly.  My lunch was chocolate, given to me as a generous donation by the girl who cross country skied with me the day before, and water.  Arrived home at 7pm and tired. :)

Photos taken today with the SLR.

It was snowing lightly at this point, you can see the ski slopes in the distance

The same mountain from the day before when it was sunny

Bridge leading to town of Tuv, this is where the first set of tracks end

On the left of the bridge, big contrast from the day before (scroll up to see!)

On the right of the bridge

Time for a photo!

On to the next set of tracks

You have to walk a bit then cross the road to get to the next track, this is part of the walking bit

Drunk Norwegian lampost

The track begins in about 50 metres

Again, contrast with the day before

Up ahead is a bending slope which I climbed today but could not yesterday, it was quite a challenge.. I didn't come down charging the slope when I went back the other way :)

Here's what's at the top of the slope

Trees posing with my skis and poles :)

There's pretty much no track that I could see after this so I turned back, also there was the time factor

Total cost spent over the weekend.

Accomodation for 2 nights and misc food 1500 nok
Steakhouse dinner 271 nok
Ski rental for 2 days 250 nok
Ski lesson for 1 person an hour 331 nok
Total 2352 nok (393 Australian dollars)

Most people would've spent a lot more, because you need to get a ski pass if you go on the slopes, plus all the drinking and extra food if you need it, it can probably cost over 3000 nok.

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