Anyone climbing the 860-metre Hornelen mountain in Norway recently might have been puzzled to see a giant inflatable Santa perched at the top. The reason behind the seasonal visitor’s guest appearance was down to a prank between a group of friends, who were challenged to carry him up the mountain by their good friend, Harry Gulestøl.
The story began when the group of friends were teasing Harry over his reluctance to decorate his house sufficiently festively for Christmas. They bought the giant Santa, named Kalvåg Nissen, and surreptitiously inflated it in his garden, to his surprise. Then, to exact revenge on them, he challenged them to carry Santa up the mountain without using a sleigh.
Rising to the challenge, four of the pals hauled Santa to the top of the mountain, which is situated in the Nordfjord region, considered to be Europe’s highest sea cliff. They also carried a motorcycle battery, several air pumps and a Norwegian flag up the slopes. One of the group members, Jan Fredrik Fosse, tells Lonely Planet that while the gang of friends love to have fun together by pranking and challenging each other, there were some practical challenges they had to consider in relation to the task.
“One was how to blow up the Santa on the top of Hornelen, 860 metres above sea level,” he says. “The second was to get up on Europe’s tallest sea cliff in the middle of winter, with loads of snow around. All of us have been to Hornelen before, but only Svenn Petter Kjerpeset has been there during winter. The third was shifting weather, as the weather can rapidly change on Hornelen during this time of year. We spent about nine hours on this trip, because we started about 10am and were back from the mountain at 7pm, about four hours after dark, but we considered the challenge to be fun and interesting.”
Kalvåg Nissen was successfully inflated on top of the mountain, and he has now been returned to Harry and his wife, Ann Irene’s, garden. Rumour has it that Harry has grown quite fond of the festive addition to his home. You’d think they were quits though, but Jan tells us that this may not be the end of the Christmassy tale and more pranks may follow. “My gut tells me that both before New Year and throughout 2018, there will be more fun to come,” he laughs.
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