Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frost Is Enough

Holiday season decorations at family Arkko

First and Last and Always is not just an album from Sisters of Mercy, but also my approach to skiing on the local hill. In May, I was the last person to ski there. Now I am about to be the first one to ski it this winter. The plan was great: we walked through the slope on the previous evening, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful. An inch of snow on the ground, all plants covered by frost, bright artificial lights lighting up the scene. All I need is grass and some frost. The slope should be skiable

Except that the as we arrived to the hill the next day, the frost was gone. The snow was also disappearing fast, given the rain and the warm temperature. Oh well, the slope would probably still be skiable, even if it was not as pretty as it had been on the previous day.


Janne and I started climbing. Janne, 9 years, wants to lead, and wants to be the first one to ski the hill down this winter. Who does he get those crazy ideas from?

A view of the ski hill in Kauniainen
As we reach the top, it turns that the skiing is not easy. There is too little snow. Hidden in the grass there are recently cut stumps of small trees and bushes. Not to mention rocks, abandoned flower pots, and water lines for snow making. Turning is not easy. And where there is enough snow from the snow cannons, it has formed crusty shapes that are not easy to ski either.

Skiing the grass and everything it hides

We do make it down, however, and return to the top a couple of times.

My friend Jarmo also shows up, not with his skis but to take a few of the pictures in this blog. (He is acting like any responsible ski owner. No sane person would take his own skis to this slope.)

My traditional Christmas skiing session is complete. And my skis are still relatively unscathed. All is well, I'm ready for Christmas and there is still couple of hours left of December 23rd to do all that Christmas shopping.

The lesson? When the conditions are perfect, drop everything else and go skiing. The next day rain or some other reason may make it impossible.

Climbing up

There was more snow near the snow cannons

Photo credits (c) 2011 by Jari Arkko, Jarmo Ruuth, Janne Arkko, and Olli Arkko


  1. I'm surprised they let you ski on that. I guess they figured if you're willing to ski on that, the edges of your skis are probably dull enough that they won't cut a water line...

    Andrea and I went up to our nearby local ski area ( for the first time today. I can't ski yet because my collarbone hasn't had enough healing time, but Andrea did a few runs. We have a bit more cover than your ski area has, but it's still pretty barren. Hopefully we'll get more snow and less rain as the winter progresses... :)

  2. It is not that they let me ski, but rather that there is no one to stop me. There's usually no one around, unless some snow cannon work is going on. This is a very small, city-owned ski area. Hey, I could claim to be a 1/8000th owner of this ski hill :-)

    How is your collarbone coming along? Do they let you do everything soon?

  3. It's doing really well. I'm able to do construction work on the house without too many limitations. My range of motion is still somewhat limited, but I'm able to move around a lot more than I was when I was in Taipei. The main reason for me to sit out the ski day today is that if I fall, I'm not necessarily strong enough to catch myself. I'm a pretty conservative skier, so this isn't likely, but it's not worth the risk. But maybe in a month I'll be strong enough—I see the doctor toward the end of January... :)

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