Tuesday, 6 April 2010


I was sitting on a chairlift high in the sky as it propelled me through the freezing air towards the top of the steepest piste on the hill. I sat there huddling against the cold, my feet locked onto my skis, clutching my poles at a suitable angle. I was perpetually fiddling with the various gaps between clothing that were threatening to reveal even the tiniest slither of flesh to the elements. The temperature, considering the wind-chill factor, was a straight minus 28 C, so I wasn’t putting up with any draughts.

Having adjusted as much as I could without losing a glove (always a hazard on a chairlift, a dropped glove meaning loss of fingers due to frost-bite, or a hasty retreat from the hill for the day – take your pick), I sat back to enjoy the view through my goggles. Despite the desperate temperature, it was a charming ride up an almost vertical slope and through a gap in the vast pine trees as they bent against the wind.

But lo, a decorated tree. I could just make out a huge tree ahead, some 80 feet tall at least, and strangely adorned with pieces of coloured cloth. As we drew nearer, the chairlift conveniently stopped for me to carry out a closer inspection. As I swung in the air, I realised that every adornment on this tree was of a very specific type. Each one was a bra. A woman’s bra.

It was a most engaging sight. There were many different varieties, colours and shapes so, lacking a pencil I took a few mental notes. There was a magenta lace number, several frothy white ones, a red satin trimmed with black ribbon, a Prussian blue balcony, a yellow cross-over affair, a green see-through design, a substantial sports bra with blue and white ‘go-faster’ stripes, a couple of dainty florals, a pink polka-dot, and a remarkably skimpy little design in black silk, which as far as I could see, would be no earthly use for skiing.

This was a Norwegian custom that was quite new to me, and one the guide books had failed to mention. It was also an admirable achievement. I marvelled at the skill involved in the whole effort, and thought how fortunate it was that I was not obliged to partake myself. I tried to imagine how such a carefully decorated tree could have come about. Presumably this was the work of the youthful skiers on the mountain, those of whom I spoke yesterday. I imagine there was an element of competition between the various teams, so between the bouts of bacchanalian revelry that was taking place while on the ground, mid-air clearly offered a new way of whiling away the time.

I envisaged the scene. As he sat down on the chairlift at the start of the ride, Olaf would ensure he was sitting next to Bente, the delightful and extremely game ‘Hot Tottie’ towards whom his lust had most recently been directed. After the chair had left the loading station and was piling through the air, the game was on and it was his job to remove Bente’s upper under garments and deftly hang them between the needles of the correct tree using the tip of his ski pole. Whether his success was to be regarded as a trophy of his manhood or a testament to Bente’s taste in underwear has yet to be recorded. But there is no denying the skill required for such an endeavour. Considering any sensible female will be wearing at least five layers of clothing on such occasions, to remove the innermost without loss of any of the others while on a chairlift is quite a feat....she must be both an escapologist and a contortionist, while he must be a regular solver of the most fiendish of Chinese puzzles, as well as charmingly persuasive.

I was all agog as I dismounted the chairlift at the top of the piste. I looked about feverishly to see if any of the girls were looking particularly cold. Perhaps they would let me in on their secret....you just never know when you might need that particular trick up your anorak sleeve.

To my lasting regret, everyone was looking quite normal and suitably dressed for a snowy mountain-top. And why oh why did I not have the camera wiht me on these occasions? You’ll just have to believe me.


  1. Now, that's a Norwegian attraction I have not heard of before..... I do learn a lot about my own country being a regular reader (and a huge fan) of your blog. You must inform NRK about this particular tree, and Linda Eide will surely put on her red "grilldress" for you, and include it in the next season of "Norsk attraksjon".

  2. and at which ski resort was this exactly? Purely for research purposes only in regard to health and safety reasons you understand....

  3. Tor and Hartley...I'm interested you're so interested. All I can say is, the tree is question is very high up the mountain above Trysil.

  4. Last year I witnessed the same kind of bra display perched on electrical wires on Oslo peer and as I had not seen any crazy drunk youth around I decided to ask what that was supposed to mean. Someone very kindly informed me that it was a breast cancer awareness campaign. Shall we suggest the mountain experience for next year?

    A neighbour

  5. Having taken eighth graders to Trysil for 10 years now, I am surprised - not to say shocked - I have only found out about this tree through your blog, rather than through the stories of scores of eighth graders we have taken up and down that mountain...