My sleep was disturbed by tractors sweeping up the coarse sand of winter, now judged no longer needed and its removal a matter of such urgency that it must be done even at night.
My first adventure of the day was to lock myself out of the hotel. The lobby, breakfast room and a separate therapy gym open onto a common entrance room. I went to breakfast at 6 AM, to have time to get ready to ski. I found the lobby door set to lock, and I couldn’t see the breakfast room from the lobby. I found that by closing the door gently it would rest on its latch and not lock. So I did this and was just peering into the breakfast room when a woman came in from the street. She let herself into the gym and was gone. The draft she made sucked the lobby door shut. Now I was locked in the entry room.
I remembered the desk clerk’s instructions about using a keypad if the door was locked. I looked all over for a keypad; there was none. Maybe she meant the outside door? I opened it and looked around. I saw the keypad on the wall, not very close. It was pretty cold outside; I didn’t want to get trapped out there with no coat.
By stretching, I was able to reach the keypad while holding the door open with my toe. I heard a click. Both doors unlocked! I retreated to my room to await a more propitious breakfast time.
Lance took us to Gronklitt (map) for our first ski of the trip. The drive there made me anxious, because I saw only remnants of snow here and there amid the trees and in the shadows of the red barns. But the ski resort had sufficient snow, with the telltale brown tint of thin snow present only on popular trails with western exposures.
The attendant gave us round metal pins as proof that we’d paid our track fees. Swedes are good folk, but sometimes lack common sense. Our ski clothing is made with Gortex, because we can’t stop skiing just because it rains (Seattle skiers). We didn’t want to poke holes in our Gortex; that would make it leak. I put my pin on my non-Gortex hat.
The snow was icy at first, but became crisply malleable as the sun warmed it. Long, well-groomed trails undulated gently over a forested plateau dotted with still-frozen lakes and ponds. The trail was actually too easy to keep me amused. So I skied into the woods and found my way to some meadows surrounding a lake. Here the sun-warmed snow was better than the groomed trail, with the advantage that I could go in any direction I liked (giving the ice and snow-covered lake a wide berth). Forested islands stood up unattainably from the immaculate plain. A jagged ridge loomed beyond them. This was much better than any trail I’d found.
At 2 PM we gathered at the van, loaded our skis and climbed in. Lance tried to pull out of the mud-and-ice parking lot. The van slid backward down the slight incline each time, bonking into the icy embankment behind it. After several tries, we piled out and pushed; this worked.
We visited an unremarkable compound of red buildings and shops where Mora’s famous knives and wooden horses are made and sold. The workers went on with their tasks, paying no attention to gawking tourists. A woman passing by told me that the factory turns out 100,000 horses a year.
Unwilling to eat hash again, I found my way past the distraction of an intriguing old church to the Best Western hotel on the other side of town. The green-uniformed waiter escorted me to the cloak room to remove my parka. That was a mistake; it was the best thing I had on.
I ordered a plate of linguini and a tomato salad. My bill was discretely delivered inside a hollow book.