...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March – snow and ice

I might have gotten my wish about winter not ending yet. At the end of February, it looked like would be pretty warm. I had resigned to the idea of winter's end and thought that maybe winter activities were over. Lo and behold! Most people's hopes of a warm start of spring was thwarted by another long, cold period and eventually also more snow (A couple of optimistic people I know ended up with a barbecue grill filled with snow). 

In the second week of March, the melted ice froze back again, and there was new ice in parts of lake Vättern.

We had a fantastic tour that day, since M&M and I hadn't really counted on seeing such great ice, which was clear and transparent as a window pane. It was kind of exotic, almost scary but fun. If I looked closely at the ice edge, I could see that the ice we were on was moving up and down with the small movements of the lake. It's also hard to describe the optical illusions you can get as you “hover over" the beach. When skating, we sometimes tried to avoid big rocks and ski around them, realizing at the same moment that the big rocks were in fact under the water.

The “old ice” in Vättern was skate-able too, but not as enjoyable – there were lots of cracks, uneven surfaces, and walnut-textured surfaces where thin layers of snow froze over old ice. When it started to snow heaps last week, that probably marked the end of skating season for many people, at least for those who aren't prepared to drive long distances to snow-free ice.

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Snow-covered ice, however, also means an opportunity to ski on the lakes. I wasn't entirely sure how the lakes up in Kolmården looked like with the weather we've been having, but Anna reported that she saw some people skiing in the woods around lake Lillsjön and we guessed that maybe it was still possible to ski on the lakes too, as it has been cold all week and the snow and ice probably haven't melted yet. We took a drive and find some ski-able ice, and were surprised to find a full parking lot at Nedre Glottern – and a whole bunch of people skiing or taking their children or dogs for a walk in the ice. Yahoo! On with the skis! 

I can't explain how rewarding it was to be just out – with the sun on my face and everything – moving my body with something other than running for a change. I just felt unbelievably free. I've been walking around Glottern in the past in summer and autumn seasons, but I've also never been on it before. Seeing the trails and piers I've been on  but from the water's surface – was literally rediscovering the area from another perspective. The fact is, I've never been out skiing on a lake before, so that bit was new as well. Like with skating, you could go between and around the islands and discover little nooks and crannies. The ski tracks were of pretty good quality too, and finally I think I gave my new skis some justice. On the other hand, being on a lake, the tracks were all flat so it still remains to be seen how I ski on terrain on good tracks on these skis.

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And now, for the overly optimistic part. I found out this week through Friluftsfrämjandet (an outdoors society) that there was also snow in Yxbacken, which is a ski slope 20 minutes away from here by car. They sent out an ad looking for female ski-enthusiasts who wanted to train as instructors over Easter break. So, the ad definitely wasn't for me, but a light bulb nevertheless lit inside my head: (1) There must still be good enough snow in Yxbacken these days  granted, they might be using snow cannons, and (2) If there were ski instructors, at least some of them might need students. 

Until then, I was thinking that this downhill-skiing project might have to wait until next season. But if I had the chance, it would be pretty nice not to start from zero then and have to rush with everyone else looking for start-of-season courses. Besides, what's also frustrating about downhill ski courses I've been seeing so far is that they're mostly being offered to small children or adults who just want to get better. So, just because it would be such a pity to pass the chance, I answered the ad back with a row of questions. I asked if lessons or classes were still possible in general this season, and I described my levels of physical activity, ambition and previous knowledge...

I got a reply. If this cold weather still holds, which I hope it does, I'm looking at two mornings on the first week of April at Yxbacken. Super!

I know I'm kind of living all my projects intensively right now, but sometimes, the projects just seem to generate themselves. So far, it's all liberating rather than stressful. I can choose to do what I want and when, without feeling that I'm taking time from something else. By investing time and money on myself, I also feel that I can secure chances of enjoying more activities with more people in the future, and there's also enjoyment in that anticipation. It feels like a luxury to have the time and the means to be, in a way, egoistic. But I'm also providing myself with the means to be out with others, on the ice, and on the snow.


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