A week ago Friday, early in the morning, I had seen snow machines at the back of the castle, industriously hosing down the hill with snow. There hasn't been much snow since our big storm in November, but why would anyone by making snow at the back of the castle? I figured that they were doing it to take wintery pictures or something, and thought no more about it. That same day, at lunch, the newspaper I was reading had a headline that I thought I must have misinterpreted. "Does this say that they are building a ski run at the back of the castle?" I held up the newspaper to the lunch crowd. "Yes, it looks like it," they said, and rustled through the pages. "Yes, and they will even have a race." "Why on earth are they doing that?" I asked, incredulously. "It's a block long! The winning time will be five seconds!"
This wooded park area of Slottsbacken does have a fairly steep slope; cyclists more often than not simply dismount and walk up, and it was also the site of last May's communist rally (pictures from the May Day post give you an idea of what the area looks like in spring). Still, it's not very big, and... a ski slope? Really?
The competition was held on the day everyone went skating*, so we didn't see that, but the course was left there on Sunday for people to fool around on, so we went in to check it out. Sure enough, they had built a gate at the top, and there was a trail winding down through the trees. Equipment could be rented on-site. The main slope was mostly populated by small children, but there was a fairly large number of teenagers and adults at the free-style area that had been set aside, with the rails being rather crowded.
As stunts go, this one was quite fun and pretty successful, I think, certainly providing the local ski club with some positive publicity. And who wouldn't want to be able to say that they had skied at a castle? Oh, and I did underestimate the winning time of the race—I believe it was 5.91 seconds.
*what did I do while they skated? Why, I found a soccer game, of course! (Yes, in January. Yes, there was snow.)