• Going Happy Places – Upgrade My Winter 2017-2018

    Tiina Kivelä

    While daydreaming in the middle of this November darkness, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a bit more about the dreams I’m planning to make reality this winter season. The dreams for which I’ve joined the #skierssquatchallenge (thanks for the inspiration Sandra), and for which I find the motivation to explore running the icy remote small town roads in pouring rain like Rocky.

    For this winter, I’m already past the first first half of the preparation project. Because these dreams really need  preparation and work to turn to reality. I’ve done the squats, gone running and nordic skiing, and lowered the spending and alcohol intake (after the wine fair that is). Unfortunately, I can’t have the long high altitude weekend hikes from last year. Those were the secret for surviving last winter and spring and even the marathon, and they were just so fun. But I do hope the other activities and even a bit more structured plan (I even have kind of a bullet journal now) will do good as well.

    This winter and the year coming, I want to really improve my mountain skills, both when it comes to skiing, running, skitouring and mountaineering. I wanna do some more “things I wanna do before I turn 30” things like the marathon already finished, and concentrate on my wellbeing, for common good (hello future employers and cooperators, I’m thinking of you too in here).

    Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.


    Tiina Kivelä


    Talking of the dreams I have for this winter, one of the biggest is to spent more time in my happy places. First, in December I’m going to Switzerland to get my stuff, meet lovely people, and hopefully enjoy some December Swiss pow.  Then I’ll continue to Austria to catch up with some awesome mountain babes, and enjoy as much glühwein and raclette as possible, as it’s the Weihnachtsmarkt -season.

    After the reunion with my dear Alps, I’ll hopefully hop on plane back north for Christmas or at least New Years. Hopefully, because no tickets bought yet. As the sad story goes, Germania doesn’t offer the direct flights from Zürich to Rovaniemi this winter. Therefore, I have to consider more carefully when I have time and money to fly, with the expensive Finnair transfer flights. Especially during the extremely busy Christmas season, when charters are filling every airport in Lapland and Christmas tourists the regular flights.

    I haven’t been up here for the holiday season in two years, and I’ll have a brand new apartment then, so I kind of would like to be here for the holidays. But again, it might become too expensive and also, working for Santa for 4 months now I’ve had enough of this Christmas by now. The sun and cheap wine of south wouldn’t be a bad option either…

    After the holidays and turning to 2018, wherever that will be, I’ll get down to the Alps again in January, to go skiing in La Grave. Booked the camp through Boundless Betty again (not paid ad, just a honest recommendation) and I really hope this will improve my skiing and mountain skills a lot. Of course I’m going there also for the raclette, and to hang out with amazing women again, because why not. Alps are always a good idea.

    Then, depending on the work situation, I get back north north or stay south the rest of the winter, doing as many weekend adventures as possible before the spring ski mountaineering season comes into play. This will include a longer hochtour/hauteroute tour, and some cross-country skiing I hope. Plans and funding aren’t clear about these last ones yet, but fingers crossed (and work to do) there’s gonna be good trips like these later in the winter and spring too.

    Finally, and since my birthday is waiting in May, I also hope to squeeze in (and find the money for) a longer trip this winter (fyi: spring in south means winter in Lapland). Number one destination would be Colombia, for catching up with friends there, learning Spanish and experiencing the Colombian multisport scene. And more than anything else, to enjoy the sun, lack of which I’ve suffered hard this autumn. My friend also said, when inviting me there, that I should show with my experience how Colombia is a destination for a adventurous woman solo traveler. Ready for the challenge, but again let’s see if there’s enough funds and holidays for that.

    Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and you built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter built to make it possible.


    2017 Tiina Kivelä


    This winter my plan is to write more, about my training and plans and projects, in here. I’m not sure how many is interested really, but still. To tell you, whoever is interested, what it takes to get to the final stage, to do those long climbs ahead, and stay alive those great glacier runs.

    First of all, even if you don’t do freeskiing or the other kind of adventures like I do, I think you could get good tips from my basic endurance and strength training, just to make your everyday challenges like work more bearable, and your body to handle all that more conveniently. Second, for the fellow mountain people, I hope the avalanche stuff and insights on how I view and manage all the risks help you to get forward in the mountains as well. Finally, I hope my insights on how I generally balance my life with my full-time job, all this travel, exercise and relationships, could be of help for someone else. Even if just letting you know that you’re not alone.

    Like already said, last winter didn’t go so well in the end, so I hope this time I know how to do this better. This winter I’m really going to upgrade. Be it doing like the Swiss Tourism tells me to do in the video below – to upgrade my winter in the Swiss mountains (check! – booked and the skis are waiting me there already) or just doing everything better this winter, wherever I am.

    Tiina Kivelä

    I do have few extra challenges this winter though, like the non-existent direct flights and still unknown future since my current work project ends soon. But I hope that knowing I need to keep better eye on these things, I manage to beat those challenges and travel to the highest mountains and unknown territories more than once.


    the fun of skiing was to get up into the highest mountain country where there was no one else and where the snow was untracked and then travel from one high Alpine Club hut to another over the top passes and glaciers of the Alps. You must not have a binding that could break your leg if you fell. The ski should come off before it broke your leg. What he really loved was unroped glacier skiing, but for that we had to wait until spring when the crevasses were sufficiently covered.


    Tiina Kivelä

    Let’s hope those springy glacier runs will be good and if interested, follow my journey here, in Instagram or Facebook.

    Let’s do our best to upgrade everything this winter.

    Where: Berner Oberland, Switzerland

    Quotes: Ernest Hemingway

  • BLOG

    Tiina Kivelä

    About a year ago in Switzerland I hiked for the first time up to Kleine Scheidegg from Lauterbrunnen, and got greeted with these views. It was a really beautiful day (those views, just look at them!) and even though I’ve got to experience the same few times more, the big dream which started to grow that day haven’t realized itself yet. But soon – the most beautiful marathon of the world.

    I’ve been thinking of running a marathon some time now – I guess it’s quite a natural development phase for an kind of an endurance athlete like me. Nevertheless, I hadn’t really heard about this one before last year, when I moved to Interlaken (of which I hadn’t really l heard before either, strange enough). In there, I learned about the Jungfrau Marathon, labeled as the most beautiful marathon of the world, and one of the toughest too – 42.195 km and 1829m altitude difference. And soon, after the first hike and winter skiing around there, I started to dream of running the marathon myself.

    The race track starts in Interlaken, my swiss “hometown”, from where it continues to Lauterbrunnen and Wengen before ending at Kleine Scheidegg, below the famous Eiger North Face. Yes, like the famous names suggest, the region is legendary, and the label is deserved. Nevertheless, you don’t need to run the marathon to enjoy the same views and lovely atmosphere in this region. It’s open for everyone. But, there’s people like me too. Who always look for new challenges. And so I found myself thinking why not try running the marathon myself this year, since I was already going to be in the region around that time, and in quite of a good shape, if I may say. Luckily enough, my friend was selling his number (next year Bryan, next  year – maybe Le Marathon Du Medoc would be better for you this year, and next year for me) and so I got my number even though missing the initial registration, just three weeks before the race. Better late than never, they say.

    Though I wouldn’t recommend this same procedure for anyone else. I’ve done the half marathon and the Lidingöloppet 30k couple of times already. But, I haven’t had any structured training plan, not to mention the training itself, this year. Nevertheless, I do wanna try how having a generally active lifestyle (and well, over 15 years of active endurance training in the past) helps me to finish a marathon (or maybe not – I promise to try but not to be too harsh on myself). Shouldn’t be impossible, though challenging for sure.

    Of course, the views motivate me a lot too, giving the extra push – this is also my happy place, which became so dear while I lived in Interlaken. It’s where I fell in love, where I’ve experienced one of the biggest challenges of my life, and it will feel home to run there. And I’m sure other people have as good personal reasons to take part or enjoy the event some other way. So see you in Interlaken, along Die Schönste Marathonstrecke Der Welt, on September 9th 2017.

    I have to say, I’m a bit nervous, even scared, and not sure how the week of surfing and yoga in Morocco (oh have I told you I’m going for a Girls Surf and Yoga Week – well now I’ve done it) next week will prepare me for this marathon… Ok, let me admit that I’m very scared and wondering why the h*ll I’m paying 100CHF for this. But like always, in the end I’ll just feel the fear and do it anyway.

    Wish me luck! I’ll tell you later how it went.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Interlaken – Kleine Scheidegg (pics from August 2017)

    FI: Hieman optimistisia urheilu-uutisia näin yleisemmin synkkien uutisaikojen keskellä: menin sitten eilen ostamaan ystävältä lähtönumeron maailman kauneimmalle maratonille eli Jungfraun vuorimaratonille. En ainakaan vielä voi suositella samaa taktiikkaa kenellekään – vajaan kolmen viikon päästä koittavalle maratonille (42.195 km ja 1829 nousuerometriä) minulla ei ole suuren unelman lisäksi ollut mitään strukturoitua harjoittelusuunnitelmaa, puhumattakaan itse harjoittelusta.

    Olen toki elänyt normaalia elämääni, eli aktiivista ja Sveitsissä jopa super-aktiivista elämää korkeanpaikan retkineen. Lisäksi entisenä kilpasuunnistajana takana on lähes 20 vuoden enemmän tai vähemmän aktiivinen kestävyysharjoitteluputki, sekä muutama läpijuostu puolimaraton ja Lidingöloppetin 30km maastojuoksukisa. Eli tavallaan menen ihan omalla parhaaksi kokemallani tyylillä – turhia stressaamatta ja luottamalla siihen että kyllä tässä iässä ja tällä kokemuksella tietää mitä ja miten tehdä. Jollekin toiselle tämä tapa ei sopisi alkuunkaan, mutta minulle tämä on taas yksi ihana uusi haaste normiarjen keskellä. Haaste, joka pistää veren virtaamaan vauhdikkaammin, ja antaa hyvän oppitunnin omista taidoista ja ruumiin ja mielen mahdollisista rajoista.

    Mielessäni ei ole oikeastaan mitään tavoiteväliaikoja tai tavoiteaikaa – tai no jos sinne alle kuuden tunnin, parhaimmillaan 5h 30min pintaan jos pääsisi, niin olisin extraonnellinen. Kuulemma ystävät, joista osa asuukin sopivasti matkan varrella, ovat äärettömän ylpeitä jos ylipäätään pääsen maaliin asti… Ja koska tämä Jungfraun alue, jolla reitti kulkee, on ns. happy placeni, alue jolla olen kokenut sekä elämäni onnellisimmat että haastavimmat hetket, oma tärkein tavoitteeni on vain nauttia. Sekä haasteeseen vastaamisesta että siitä maailman kauneimmasta maratonreitistä, koko rahan edestä. Lisäksi jo nyt hymyilyttää, että matkan saa aloittaa Sveitsin kotikaupungistani ja toivottavasti päättää Eigerin legendaarisen pohjoisseinän juurelle. Siinä tulee olemaan paljon tunnetta mukana, hyvää tunnetta. Kotiinkin kun on aina ihana palata.

    Aion myös olla itselleni armollinen – jos ei kulje ja sattuu liikaa, niin sitten keskeytän. Maratonin suorittaminenkaan kun ei ole riittävän hyvä syy terveyden riskeeraamiseen. Vaikka se olisikin kiva saada tämäkin unelma raksitettua listalta ennen kolmikymppisiä, on yksi nykyisen elämäni tärkeimmistä tavoitteista niiden “suoritusten” sijaa pitää huolta omasta kehosta ja mielestä parhaani mukaan. Siihen kuuluu että ilmoitan itseni vaikkapa maratonille ja juoksen jänniä matkoja, mutta myös se että ymmärrän ja uskallan lopettaa ajoissa, jos jokin ei tunnu oikealta.

    Ennen juoksua on vielä edessä sanoisinko hyvin mielenkiintoinen viimeistelyjakso, johon sisältyy mm. vielä muutama päivä Lappia, sitten hetki Sveitsiä, viikko Marokossa surffaten ja joogaten ja taas etätöitä Sveitsissä. Tämä matkasokkelo, ja ystävien vierashuoneet mahdollistivat osallistumiseni ylipäätään (ei olisi varaa mennä paikan päälle pakettimatkalla vain jouksua varten), vaikka eivät tietystikään ole se mikään ideaalein valmistautumistapa. Mutta girl gotta do what girl gotta do, ennen kuin sponsorit tulvivat ovista ja ikkunoista (krhm emailini on muuten: tiinaetc@gmail.com).

    Toivottakaa onnea ja pysykää aktiivisina. Tarkempaa juttua maratonista tulossa sitten kisan jälkeen.

  • BLOG

    Tiina Kivelä

    Last week, on a crispy morning when the nearby mountaintops shined brightly with the season’s first layer of virgin snow, I picked up Skiexpo tickets from my mailbox and noticed how the everyday going got bit lighter again. North Country Finland, and especially Lapland, your girl is coming home! And to a which place; third best country to visit in 2017. So if you like, I may test some places for your 2017 visit, as I’m going there already in 2016, more precisely next week.

    Like a real tourist, I am going to experience stopover* in Helsinki and visit birefly Skiexpo, for which I guess I should make a list on what kind of gear and resort news I’m especially interested in, as I will use this one as a rehearsal for the big plan: my first ISPO visit in 2017 (that’s one of my “best in 2017”). There I’ll also meet fellow swissfinnish and Austrian freeskier friends, funnily enough,  and drink one or two drinks in Bronda in good non-skier company. I’ll also test the newest Airport Hotel in town (gone are the days when I slept in airports – for good, hopefully) before catching the connecting flight to the original home the next morning.

    [ Edit. Check out the Slush Guide for Helsinki here. It kind of lists all my favorites in town. ]


    Beloved Lapland, I’ll always miss you (and carry part of you with me, wherever I go). Luckily it’s not long anymore till we meet again. This time I’ll come to you to do compulsory “emigrant” activities as renew my passport, which hopefully works out, no matter how hard in 2016 it seems for Finland to offer easy passport renewal process, especially for us emigrants, pfff.  Moreover I’ll pack more stuff to bring carry to Switzerland (skis!), and test finally the Arctic Light Hotel, and enjoy sauna, silence and hygge. Maybe one day I go back for good. Not yet, but maybe someday. And until that and after my stopover trip, I think I’ll have to try the direct flights from abroad to Lapland, and vice versa (check Norwegian and Germania, if you too are interested).

    Because no matter how cool and must see place Finland is in 2017, Lapland is still the best. Just look at these Absinthe coloured Northern Lights. No wonder the absinthe shop next door here in Switzerland makes me feel so home…

    *We (emigrant) Lappish’ must have been Finnair’s most loyal stopover customers long before Asians and I wonder why they haven’t thought about creating tempting packages for us too…


    Hei Lappi, olen tulossa hetkeksi kotiin! Ja mikä luksusmatka ja ennakkotutustuminen turistina vuoden 2017 kolmanneksi parhaaseen matkakohteeseen Suomeen siitä tuleekaan, näillä lentohinnoilla ja rajoitetulla aikataululla.

    Luvassa kunnon turistina stopover Helsingissä, Bronda ja Skiexpo (ajattelin ottaa tämän pikaisen vierailun harjoituksena ensi vuotta ja elämäni ensimmäistä ISPO -vierailua varten) ja etelän tutut, kylän uusimman airport hotellin testaus (toivottavasti ei koskaan enää erityisen villistä nuoruudesta tuttua lentokentällä nukkumista). Pääkaupungin jälkeen Rovaniemi, Arctic Light Hotel, koti® ja tietysti sauna joka ilta. Pakollisiin menoihin kuuluu myös passin uusiminen ja muuttokuorman täydennys (suksilla), ja mahdollisimman monen rakkaan halaaminen. Ja kaikki tämä vain muutamassa päivässä, sisältäen junat Geneveen ja takaisin sekä lennot Genevestä ja takaisin. Kuten eräänä iltana toisen kahden maan välissä asuvan kanssa juttelimme, useimmiten ne kotimatkat ovat aikamoisia työmatkoja. Mukavia, mutta tavallaan todella raskaita.

    Ei sillä että nykyarki olisi paljon kevyempää. 9h työpäivät, vähenevä valo ja hieman asia kuin asia on saanut olon aika väsyneeksi viime aikoina. Mutta kuten sanonta menee, Siperia opettaa ja kaiken raskauden keskellä olen onnellinen että selviän kuitenkin kaikesta hengissä, ja onhan tämä kaikki hyvin opettavaista ja kasvattavaa. Ja tämä paikka, nämä vuoret ja nämä ihmiset! Ne auttavat muistamaan kaiken keskellä kuinka hyvä on olla ihan vain elossa ja näissä maisemissa. Ja niin, kohta pääsee myös sinne pohjoiseenkin hengittämään vähän kevyempää ilmaa (ei se kyllä kovin raskasta ole täällä vuorillakaan).

    Pidemmittä puheitta, tulkaa tervehtimään jos satutte samoille expoille tai Lapin kuppiloihin. Jakelen parhaita sveitsivinkkejäni ilmaiseksi, kun vain kauniisti pyydetään. Ja miksei Lappikin.