I’ve been cold in my life. I lived in the midst of the Wasatch Mountains in Provo, Utah, I spent a winter in the suburbs of Chicago braving the blistering gusts off Lake Michigan, and I spent six months of my life on the shores of the Straits of Magellan south of Patagonia. But I have never been as cold as I was on the day I stood in freezing blast of wind that pelted into me on the mountain top of Dalsnibba.
The weather conditions took us all by surprise. Lindsey knew she was doing a video shoot on a mountain peak for a game called “Dragon Age”. But she hadn’t been forewarned of this. None of us were. However, our guide and protector, Havard had been here before. Part of the Norwegian expedition which reconquered Antarctica in 2012, Havard was well prepared for harsh climate with a full store of winter gloves, hats and parkas in the back of his SUV, and plenty of survival skills which were to be life savers.
Diane and I perfectly acclimated to the mild weather of Norway.
Lindsey, of course, carried on like a trooper. After the initial shock, (and an opportunity to thaw briefly in the motor home which accompanied the crew), Lindsey accepted the inevitable and submitted without complaint.
By the time she had finished with makeup and costuming, the film crew was ready. And I should point out that while everyone else on the location were wrapped snugly in parkas, ski caps and face masks. Lindsey, by contrast, wore leggings and a light shirt, without any protection for her hands or face — running along the mountain cliffs and playing her violin while bracing herself against the icy winds which constantly threatened to blow her into the valley below.
It was only the efforts or Havard that kept Lindsey from freezing to death – and from tumbling off the mountain. He and another big Norwegian, Shel, (who played the part of the Inquisitor) became her protectors. In a certain sense Havard became the decision maker in the shoot. Eventually, no one did much without Havard’s approval. Leadership can be a random element. It so often simple falls on the shoulders of he who is prepared to bear it.
After every shot, Havard was there with a parka and a set of gloves for Lindsey, as well as a survival bag to protect her from the elements. (It was actually quite toasty inside. I tried it.) When her hands got too exposed to the cold he zipped down his jacket, and while I held the violin and bow, Lindsey thrust her hands into his armpits. Wow! (She tried it on me first. It was a jolt to the nervous system, but certainly warmed up her fingers to play again.) Havard became the indispensable man on the shoot. He was the key to our sub-zero, wind-chill survival.
Though the shoot began in the morning, the sun hung in the sky at the level of late afternoon throughout the day, until it grew weary and dipped below the horizon. We had filmed several set ups at three locations and were exhausted as we wound our way down the mountain to the the hotel in tiny Geiranger.
The next morning we were back on location, filming the establishing shots with Lindsey from the frozen crags just above the Geirangerfjord, Once again, it was incredibly early, and incredibly cold, but everyone did their part until the director said, “That’s a wrap.” They really were an extremely efficient crew and the material they shot was awesome.
The moment the film was declared “in the can”, Lindsey, Diane and I hurried to the waiting motor home and made our hurried way the several hundred miles to Oslo. We were already running late. Twisting our way southeast, we passed through some of the most beautiful farmland I have ever seen, marked by sod-roofed homes and lush green sheep fields, clinging to the verdant hills of central Norway. Gradually, the lush countryside gave way to signs of denser civilization as we neared the nerve-center of the nation.
Six and a half hours after our departure we arrived in Oslo, just in time for Lindsey’s media interviews, a sound check, and her waiting guests at meet and greet. The concert at the Sentrum was crowded and warm. Diane and I sat alone in the balcony and enjoyed the show from another angle. It was fascinating for me to ponder where we had been in the past two days. Visiting Norway had been one of the great adventures of my life.