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March 23, 2008

It’s all in your head – having the perfect ski day in the most unexpected situation

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Written by: Janne Niini

Season’s greetings, homeboys!

It’s Easter holiday and we’re stuck in the city. A bad situation – as the Easter season is THE time to go and hit the slopes up north here in Finland.

Well, at least we’re finally having real winter here. Couple of friends went and started the ice climbing season here in southern Finland few days ago! And the forecast shows cold weather for one week ahead at least. Very cool, if you ask me. I also have an upcoming trip to Lapland coming. So the season is still going on strong.

I wrote a few weeks ago how we can’t actually have any decent turns here at all without driving a few hundred kilometers to the north. I was wrong, kind of. After all, the decent, or even perfect, turns seem to really be a mindset, rather than physical thing.

With a few weeks of real hassle at work I was expecting not to ski at all on Easter holiday. However, my recent growing enthusiams for telemarking and the unecpected cold weather and snow fall, got me itching for some.

I remembered that we actually have this little place (note: Finnish only site), an old training hill owned by a ski club, that has some relatively steep vertical pitch (albeit very short). And what is best, it is located in the beautiful Nuuksio National Park – in a very nice environment with great views. And located only about half an hour or so drive  from Helsinki. If you ever happen to be around, check it out, you only need like a half day to get into a nice little hike, bike ride etc. and enjoy untouched nature. One of the good things about being a Finn and living in Helsinki, for sure.

Anyway, the local (one) slope has vert of stunning 75 meters and after the all-time warm winter we’ve had here I wasn’t expecting much. But the sessions turned out to what often happen when your expectations are at zero: a great fun and awesome conditions for southern Finland!

There were four(!) other people skiing, the temperature was around 0 degrees Celsius, the sun started to shine just when I arrived, and the snow was just perfect, PERFECT. Ten to fifteen centimeters of loose frozen corn/granural, like small frozen ball bearings that give you that perfect speed and touch. You can carve, slide, slash, whatever. I felt like I was a real master on teles. The skis seemed to have that magic feeling when you’re really “on” and the transitions of turns were done in the air, after really bouncing from the earlier turn, skis bending into deep arcs on every turn…

I only got like two hours for the skiing, so I didn’t have any breaks, just skied like a maniac and tried to milk every possible thing from that limited vertical. I imagined that doing slashy/surfy tele turns on real pow would be close to heaven if it is this good on perfect spring snow. Damn it, I think I’m really falling in love with those bindings without heel piece…

Those teleing Hippies Stinx…

When I went home, my wife got bored to my stoked ramblings in about an hour (suprise). Time to check the weather forecast for the next day. Oh no, there’s some new snow coming. Start negotiating for another few hours of free time for the next day and calling for friends…”dude, it shouldn’t be this good here. I had the turns of the season. And they promise more snow, next day we’re going to ski powder…blaa blaa blaa” (yes, I was exagerating everything at that time!)

Next morning comes and could you believe I was stoked. I really thought that now we’re going to have some of the best ever southern Finland turns. It has snowed some in the night, just how I wanted it to be. I thought that the previous days corn would be underneath and on top of it some centimeters of light, fluffy stuff. Yeeehaaa, here we come.

A cup of coffee while skiing, with a nice view. Small joys of life.

But the magic had gone away. The awesome corn I had the previous day had frozen…or even worse they might have salted the slope for some late night gate training of the kids. Anyway, it was our normal icy stuff underneath and only like two centimeters of nice fluff on top of it that went to small soft moguls after a few runs.

There was also quite alot of people skiing. Well, the ski day was ok, we had fun time, some fresh air and I got some very good tips for my t-turns from a friend and so on. But it happened what often happens when you expect too much:  the reality comes in and you disappoint. On the previous day, it was just the opposite, I was just going to check out if I could have some turns and fresh air for couple of hours. And the result was some real nice turns, a really unexpected ones, I have to say.

The moral of the story? Well, I don’t know if there’s any. Just that I guess the best turns (and things in life, in general) are probably inbetween our ears, eventually. Maybe that is some point for blogging too. If we can’t have the most luxurious turns all the time, at least we can dream of them!

Enjoy your turns, real or dreamed, and have a nice Easter Holiday!



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About the Author

Janne Niini
I am a former (not-so-competitive) mogul-skier who nowadays enjoy many aspects of snow-gliding: alpine, telemarking and occasional snowboarding too. I have two small daughters and try to ski with them as often as possible.



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