Friday, October 29, 2021

It's dark, we're wearing sunglasses, and ski season just opened

 

It is pitch dark. Raining heavily. The whole place is closed. But I'm on a mission, so I grab my skis and walk to the bottom of the hill in my boots, as there's a rumour that there's some snow in the hill. And when I get to the bottom, what I find is a group of teenagers with just a couple of flashlights -- skiing, jumping the jumps, riding the pipes and rails. Wonderful!

One of my local ski hills, Hyvinkää's Sveitsi, acquired some new snow guns for this season. Obviously they tested them. They worked remarkably well, with all that snow generated. And I'm not sure we had more than a couple of nights with temperatures around 0 or -1... 

And obviously, I just had to go there to ski. This completes my October skiing, then :-)




This article has also been published at TGR. Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko.


Darkness in the Lapland Hotels Tampere Sauna



We had an opportunity to stay at the Tampere for a night in a hotel. The Lapland Hotels Tampere was a new one for me, I had been to many other hotels there in past years. Pretty nice, great breakfast, and the saunas in the highest floor were different from usual hotel saunas. They were black!

Pretty good for a hotel sauna.

For more sauna and swimming stories, check out planetswimmer.com and saunablogger.cool websites! And of course the Planetcaver, and Planetskier blogs for other stories in Blogspot and TGR! The photos and text (c) 2014 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. I never take photos of other saunagoers or swimmers and visit when there is simply no one else or the facility has been closed or booked only for me.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Storfinnhova sauna inside a natural rock. With a waterfall.

 

Smoke sauna for 45 people, with a small waterfall and a warm pool, all inside. Takes three days to heat up. This is possibly one of the greatest sauna experiences I've had.

Link here.

For more sauna and swimming stories, check out planetswimmer.com and saunablogger.cool websites! And of course the Planetcaver, and Planetskier blogs for other stories in Blogspot and TGR! The photos and text (c) 2014 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. I never take photos of other saunagoers or swimmers and visit when there is simply no one else or the facility has been closed or booked only for me.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Finally, a SUP hobby that I can get excited about. Underground.

 

I had been to Eispalast before. It is an ice cave that tourists can visit, 30 meters under glacier, near the top of the Gefrorene Wand mountain in Hintertux, Austria. But when I saw they had an option for trying SUP boarding on the river or lake in the ice cave, I knew I had to go again.

We did a normal tourist tour of the ice cave first, which was nice because my last visit was several years ago. We also did the rubber boat tour through the water that fills the large crevasse inside the ice.

All nice, but nothing compared to what came next: an option to try to standup paddle boarding and ice swimming. Diving, canoeing, and other activities are also possible. I only did the boarding part, however.

I had my ski gear on in this visit to the mountain, and I was told to not wear the ski boots, so I took them off and went barefoot to the board. No problem, the ice surfaces in the walking path were covered by rubber mats, and the board itself was of course also not ice. And I had initially feared that it would be unnerving to board in icy waters, but the board turned out to be huge, maybe 5 meters long and quite wide. It wouldn't be easy to get it to flip or fall down. Phew.

Wonderful experience! Although may be not as refreshing as the other guy who also decided to try ice swimming :-)

I also wanted to try 3D modelling parts of the cave, but it wasn't easy on a busy tour schedule. I in particular wanted to record the Eiskapellen, an ice chapel dedicated to three lost ski tourers.

The tour and boarding cost 36€. Details: go to the official web page. Much recommended, really a great visit, whether you are in walking, boarding, or swimming mode!

Eiskapellen:


Boarding:



Colors:





Glacier monster:

Entrance:

This article has also been published at TGR. Read more urban exploration stories from theurbanexplorer.net, and other underground stories from planetcaver.net. Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Climbing to the Grafenloch cave

 

Grafenloch -- also called Luegsteinhöhle -- is a cave on a massive cliff face above the villages of Luegstein and Oberaudorf. A smallish cave, maybe 22-25 meters deep. But an interesting small hike of about 40 minutes to get to it. And an interesting last few meters to climb to the cave on the cliff face. Assisted with a rope and metal stairs, but still.

There's also a side cave, Rossstall, similar but slightly smaller. Both caves have a wonderful view onto the underlying valley and far away mountains.

The caves have an interesting history, and human presence in them dating back to 7th century BC. Counts of Falkenstein set up a castle, the Luegstein castle, in the cave in the 11th to 13th century AD, but moved back to the more comfortable dwellings in the valley sometime mid 13th century. A rare occurrence of a cave castle in Bavaria. Today, only parts of the front wall remain from the castle. It was presumed that the castle was a mostly wooden, two storey building inside the cave.

Legends talk about Auer Graf who was hiding in the cave in the fear of lightning strike predicted to be a God's punishment for him for his murders, and that in the end he died when trying to climb to the castle on stairs in a thunderstorm. According to the legends, the Rossstall cave was stables for the castle inhabitants. Although the Rossstall is easier to get to than Grafenloch, it doesn't feel like a suitable space for horses.

Anyway, today both caves are wonderful examples of cliff-face caves, and easily reachable. Although the Grafenloch is not reachable unless you are willing to walk on a narrow ledge and up steep ladder stairs, while already some way up the cliff face.

While up there at these caves, I also recorded 3D models of them, using my iPhone 12 Pro's lidar camera and the Polycam app. Here's a screenshot of the model:

To view the 3D models on your browser screen, click here for Grafenloch and here for Rossstall. The models themselves are downloadable here and here. Both are in GLB/GLTF format.

(Unfortunately, I forgot my selfie stick in the car, which meant that I couldn't have the phone reach too far into the roof parts of the cave. Well, the roof was very high, at some points maybe even 20+ meters high so even the 3-meter selfie stick would have not helped much. The iPhone's lidar sensor has a reach of about 5 meters.)

Here's a video:

The Grafenloch cave is roughly at coordinates N 47.640813 E 12.164877, and the Rossstall cave is some tens of meters to the left on the cliff wall at N 47.640859 E 12.164199. The path leading to the caves is easily found, starting from the back of the small swimming pond, the Lugesteinsee.

You can find more information from aux-den-berg (a good description of the path), chiemsee-alpenland, burgenseite, bergfexalleburgen, wikipedia, and unterwelten.

The Grafenloch cave is actually part of a set of caves in the region, the Inntaler Unterwelten. I had previously visited the Tischofer Höhle from this set. Read more about the Inntaler Unterwelten here.

Grafenloch pictures:




Rossstall pictures:

Path to the cave:

This article has also been published at TGR. Read more urban exploration stories from theurbanexplorer.net, and other underground stories from planetcaver.net. Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Oberstegen saunas

 

Gasthof Oberstegen is in Söll, near the border between Austria and Germany. I chose as a convenient location with a decent drive up to the ski hills but also near some caves I wanted to explore. And not far from the Munich airport! Of course, there's some saunas since we are in an Austrian gasthof...

It seems like there's literally a million gasthofs in Austria. And they all seem to be in perfect order, built with high quality, and are nicely kept. The Gasthof Oberstegen is no exception, the house is nice, in a nice environment, with a very friendly and accommodating staff... and the nice saunas! There is no full spa experience, i.e., no pools, but there are two Finnish saunas and one infrared sauna. An indoor relaxation area and outdoor cooler area. 

There's also a surprise lay-in-bed room. Interesting. Not sure I'd use that, but the rest of the sauna area was spot-on for me. 

I also want to say that the price-quality ratio in Austria is extraordinary. I paid 65€ per night for a very high quality room and breakfast, saunas were free, the restaurant did a very good job with dinners in the evenings, there was local diet coke available, other guests were singing and playing guitar to schlager music ... what more can one expect? It is a bargain. Much recommended!!



For more sauna and swimming stories, check out planetswimmer.com and saunablogger.cool websites! And of course the Planetcaver, and Planetskier blogs for other stories in Blogspot and TGR! The photos and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. I never take photos of other saunagoers or swimmers and try to visit at times where there is simply no one else around or the facility has been booked only for me.

Another country, another drink

 

Can you guess where I am? :-)

Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Instagram vs. reality

 

I've made many trips to the summer cottage this year. It is always wonderful views. And usually great swimming. But now the waters are too cold, and I seem to spending most of my time under the building, trying to block holes that the mice use to come in. Lots of fun, but not really beautiful pictures.

For more sauna and swimming stories, check out planetswimmer.com and saunablogger.cool websites! And of course the Planetcaver, and Planetskier blogs for other stories in Blogspot and TGR! The photos and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Swinghill Season's Opening

 

It is snowing in Swinghill, the lift is running, and I opened the season. Cool. 

Snowing:


Lift:


Views on the slope and to the lake:

This article has also been published at TGR. Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

First publication in a UK caving magazine!



Jarmo and I managed to get a picture of the Högberget cave in the cover of the Cave Radio and Electronics Group (CREG) journal!

You can read the journal here. You'll need a subscription to read, but it is only 4£ per year. You can also subscribe to the more general Cave and Karst Science journal at the same place.

Read more urban exploration stories from theurbanexplorer.net, and other underground stories from planetcaver.net. Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. All rights reserved.

Clutch is fixed, properly!

 

Volvo is now ready to be picked up! The clutch is properly fixed, finally. They had to replace the parts rather than repair them.

Not the only crazy Volvo owner at the office

 


And if you thought I was the only crazy person at the office … pic from after lunch parking.

What a wonderful blue-white moment!

Back to the office!

First day at the office in 18 months. Also booked movie tickets for next month. Enough dangerous living for the rest of the year?

So good to see my friends and colleagues, although only a couple people at the office. And a beautiful day!

New reliability numbers for Volvo

 


.... now I've managed to do 66% of the summer cottage trips with the Volvo. It will just be a small matter of turning those numbers around and I'll have a "two nines" reliability already!


Feeling lucky


For 1000€, the handbrake now works (cable was fine, but the hull around had disappeared) and clutch replaced. Previous fixes were, e.g., welding broken clutch parts. Feeling lucky so I took the car to the cottage, 200 km away. It could be a long tow.


Sunday, August 8, 2021

This is better skiing than last week

 

Last week I skied on my own yard, with snow carried in cardboard boxes. This week I'm skiing in Austria's glaciers. Not too shitty, as we say in Finland!

Weather varied from bright sunshine to impenetrable soup. Snow conditions ranged from a mixture of ice, water and small rocks to, well, fresh soft snow :-) Again, not too shitty!

Hintertux is Austria's only ski resort that is open year around. I think I've been here now for 6 or 7 years in a row. It is easy to get to from Finland, and reasonably priced. Especially when compared to the alternative, Zermatt :-)





Corona practices: Finnish citizens with two vaccinations can enter Germany and Austria with no extra requirements. In addition, while there is some amount of "I ignore the mask rules" -people around, the processes everywhere were pretty strict and sensible. Masks were required in ski lifts. Ski area restaurant required registration for contact tracing and either recent test or double vaccination. And then you get stamped when you show your papers! Same requirements were also applied at the hotels. Some shops had started to require FFP2 masks for entering.

This article has also been published at TGR. Read the full Planetskier series at planetskier.net, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2021 by Jari Arkko.