Tiina Kivelä

    New town, new rivers, same old restless feet. On Friday I said goodbye to Interlaken, for a while at least. The period between summer of ’16 and summer of ’17th was definitely one the best periods of my life, which taught me a lot and left me with many great experiences and memories.  But nothing lasts forever, and so I packed my stuff again on Friday. Parted it into storage (thanks friends for your help again) and into my loyal duffel bags, which I then carried in train to Zürich, for my July residence. Many times, people wonder why I need so many bags for different purposes. But again it proved good to have a climbing back for my mountaineering gear, a trekking bag for my trekking gear, ski bag and ski back bag for ski and avalanche security gear.  And the city handbag for urban exploration, of course. Though high heels I seem to have dropped off my wardrobe altogether. No need for them in here.

    It was an incredible, humbling and intensive year in Interlaken. I met amazing people, got an interesting start-up experience and learned that wild things should be free, always. Switzerland is a good country for me, and the Alps especially.  I fell in love, with the mountains and quality of life (cheese, you’ll not be forgotten either). There are things I would do differently now though – I’d start learning the language right away, and I’d let go easier when there’d be no good reason to hold on anymore. But I don’t regret a thing. It’s incredible what other cultures and foreign countries can teach you, but even more, it’s been the mountains and nature in general, which has impressed me the most. Teaching the best lessons and making me want to learn so much more (serious mountaineering, I’m ready).

    And yes you see right, the legs are bruised. And I have tanned skin and sun-bleached hair which hasn’t seen hairdresser in one and a half year. I have also more muscles and more strength, both mentally and physically. And again, I have my stuff all over the place, in storage in here and in Finland, in bags and friends’ place, waiting for the moment I again find a base camp to settle in, with everything I can’t let go of. It’s all messy but that’s alright. Perfect is boring.


    Even after a year in here, every time I board a train and travel somewhere in Switzerland, I’m amazed by the experience. The travel infrastructure, SBB & PostAuto, I love you for bringing me and my stuff, my skis and my bike, to the greatest adventures ever, and especially making sure the tired me makes it back home safely in the end of the day. And then there are the high mountains with their snowy peaks and glaciers and green meadows with their cows and goats. The highlands and lowlands, lush fields and the colours after rain and sky just before a storm. The gloomy foggy days, when the clouds are hugging the mountains tightly; when it seems like the fog is the way for mountains to breathe. The villages with their church towers aiming high, but never even close as high as the mountains. And the towns and cities, organised, clean and international. It’s the life in between which fascinates me most, the journey to find out what’s on the other side, and after a good amount of mountains, it’s time to try the life in destination called Zürich.

    Never lived here before, and in a matter of fact never been here longer than few hours at a time, so when the opportunity came (in a form of saved money and holiday season – no Mr. investment banker on sight still, unfortunately) I decided to try this quality of life too. In July I’ll also start working with some interesting new projects which will eventually bring be back to Lapland even (then the song, from which the name for this site comes from, will become even more accurate, heh).  Moving on, but also moving back.

    Zürich tips will follow, as well as the stories from Andalusia and Alps waiting for editing. Maybe something more about the work, in the past and in the future, and about how to keep up with this lifestyle and with as many adventures and outdoor hours without sponsors deals. Keep tuned, take care and please, be as brave as I’ve been. It’s scary to jump into something new and unfamiliar,  but after I’ve done that close to million times myself I’d say that embracing the change and freedom has been the best I’ve ever done. And there’s never anything wrong with new perspectives.

    Everything I was writing was actually a way of trying to reconnect with other human beings when you’re always in transit.

    Thom Yorke, Rolling Stone

    Tiina Kivelä

    I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

    FI:  Uusi kaupunki, uusi joki, vanhat levottomat jalat. Perjantaina pakkasin tavarani kasoihin, jotka jaoin edelleen ystävien asunnon, varaston ja omissa käsissäni kantaneiden duffelbagien varaan, ja otin junan Zürichiin. Oli aika hyvästellä yksi aikakausi ja suunnata kohti heinäkuuta Zürichissä. Kesän 2016 ja 2017 välinen aika Interlakenissa oli yksi parhaista ja opettavaisimmista elämässäni; intensiivinen, haastava mutta niin ihana. Päivääkään en vaihtaisi pois, vaikkakin ehkä muutaman asian tekisin toisin (lapset, menkää sille kielikurssille heti eikä sitten joskus, ja etsikää se siisti asunto ennen kuin on liian myöhäistä).

    En ole koskaan aiemmin asunut Zürichissä, ja vieraillutkin kaupungissa vain muutaman kerran muutaman tunnin kerrallaan. Mutta olen haaveillut siitä useammin kuin kerran, ja kun tilanne säästöjen, lomakauden ja työpaikan muutoksen johdosta tuli mahdolliseksi (ei ole sitä investointipankkiirimiestä vielä näkynyt, valitettavasti tai onneksi), päätin kokeilla tätäkin maailman parhaaksi kehuttua elämänlaatua. Pikkuhiljaa sormet naputtelevat myös uusien työprojektien parissa ja yrityksenä on kokeilla todellista diginomadin elämää muutama kuukausi. Mutta ennen sitä kuukausi Zürichiä ja satunnaisia vierailuja vuorille. En ole hetkeen asunut suuressa kaupungissa ja tavoitteena on myös kokeilla miten tämä taas onnistuu; hieman aiempaa pidemmät siirtymät lenkkipoluille ja maastopyöräreiteille, puhumattakaan niistä alppien huiputuksista. Mutta sitten toisaalta, saan vuorten tilalle kahvilat, museot, kaupat ja toiset ihmiset. Uuden joen, uudet järvet ja uimapaikat, sekä asunnon ilman sotkuisia kämppiksiä.

    Tulossa on Zürich vinkkejä (kartan kokoaminen alkoi jo alla) ja editoidut jutut espanjan ja alppien kesäseikkailuista. Ehkä myös hieman enemmän juttua työkuvioista, menneistä ja nykyisistä. Siitä millaista on työskennellä kansainvälisessä startupissa Sveitsissä ja miten maksimoida aika vuorilla ja ulkona ja matkoilla ilman sponsoreita. Pysykää linjoilla siis jos nämä kiinnostavat, ja kertokaa toki jos haluatte minun kirjoittavan jostakin aiheesta tarkemmin. Kesälomia pukkaa, joten aikaa lukemiselle on varmaankin enemmän, kuten minulla kirjoittamiselle.

  • BLOG

    This is how I spent a weekend of my dreams. Up in the mountains, learning new things and smiling a lot. This time, a few weeks back, we went to Valais region and in there Cabane des Dix, after friend’s suggestion; hiking over one a bit scary ridge and one very scary glacier (my first ever glacier crossing) and spending the night in a Swiss Alpine Club’s cabin, or hut (hütte) as they call them in here. May, in general, isn’t the best month for mountaineering, and this trip also proved to be challenging, with unstable snow and rock and mud slides, and typical glacier with its crevasses. But nothing worth having comes easy and this experience, if something, was worth to get.

    It’s hard to describe the feeling when you are standing on a glacier, on the whitest of snow with a hint of glacial turquoise. When you move ahead slowly, tied to each other by a rope, and trusting each other. And end the day in the primitive cabin with only the essentials for survival; fireplace, some cups and mugs and blankets and each others company.

    Tiina Kivelä


    On Saturday midday we started our hike above Airolo, reaching the Cabane Des Dix by the evening, not extremely happy with the snow conditions on our way (would have been better with skis), but luckily only the next day we learned how it could have been even worse already in the beginning. The sun and I guess climate change too, does its job very well this time of the year, and when the temperatures don’t descend low enough at nights, the soft and wet snow doesn’t make your mountaineering efforts easy. Nevertheless, we reached our destination that day and my first ever night at SAC hut’s winter room was more that pleasant. There was wood for fire and tea and dinner, and there were the funny and smart people to share the stories and the experience (and bottle of wine) with. It wasn’t a five-star hotel, but it was a five-star experience.

    Later on, I learned that the hut belongs to a variation of the Haute Route and now I just wonder on which winter I’ll finally make that dream come true… Some winter surely, as this little taste of it proved to be one if the best trips I’ve done. There are no words to describe the beauty of the mountains like Mont Blanc de Cheilon with its turquoise glaciers and majestic faces. Not to mention the peace and the huge landscape which makes one so aware of one’s real place in the world. And the primitive, yet cosy hut, which once again taught a lesson of how little one needs to be happy.

    Cabane Des Dix Tiina Kivelä

    Mont Blanc De Cheilon Tiina Kivelä


    During this trip, I also said I’ve never been that scared in my life, climbing tumbling my way up and down the unstable rocky slopes, while loose stones were falling nearby and big avalanches raced down the steeper slopes. Nevertheless, I remember being ok (kind of, the feeling isn’t so easy to describe) with the fear, using it as a stepping stone and way to keep my mind organised. I managed to be concentrated on the most important tasks and more than else trusted myself and the others, rather than letting the fear to paralyse me, or setting myself on panic mode, when something unexpected happened.

    On this trip, I also learned that I do hold some important knowledge of the snow and especially how it behaves, how it sounds and what the various sounds mean. While my friend might be more experienced and trained in climbing and rope techniques and how to save himself from a crevasse, I now know that I happen to know more of what some of the sounds of the snow mean. In Switzerland, yhe mountains have finally taught me to be grateful for the lessons childhood in the north have taught me, most of them while doing something I fondly enjoy doing.

    You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

    © René Daumal

    Cabane Des Dix Tiina Kivelä


    Interested in a trip like this but not quite sure how to do it? Let me give you an introduction in here and if needed, just drop me a comment or mail and I’ll follow-up with more detailed guiding.

    Finding a hut

    : Simply, you just have to put one foot on the front of the other. Repeat enough many times and you’re there. No, but really, there are various ways to do a trip like this. First of all, you may do like I do did, and go with friends who have more experience and know their huts; adding some more extra by looking at maps and googling the interesting looking SAC huts around the country. Then you just back your pack(s) and start walking/skiing/biking/whatever style you prefer for moving forward.

    Second, you can always contact local tourism office in your main destination (or home region) or company offering mountaineering trips, courses and guiding services, or similar. This’s an especially good option if and when you have not enough previous knowledge of mountains. And even if you do, local knowledge is always recommended. This time we were with my friend who has done an alpinism course in the area and stayed in the hut previously, so he was kind of our pro bono guide this weekend. Thank you, M!

    That said, I would always recommend the second option first. The services are more than worth the money and more than else it’s important to do all the necessary things to return home safe in the evening, or the next day. And smile, oh boy, remember to smile! We live on an amazing planet and when you get to a place like this, you just have to smile. And most of the time, luckily, it comes naturally, in a place like this and when you know what you are (capable of) doing


     Most, if not all, of the huts are officially open during the summer season and most of them even at winter for ski touring. Nevertheless, it’s always good to check what are the seasons and opening hours, and you should also either call them or make an online reservation, if possible, for a spot. Most of the huts have so-called winter rooms for adventurers looking for (a safe) place to sleep in, even in the off-season, but extra attention should be given to the firewood – some have, but most doesn’t, wood for warming up the hut during the off-season.

    Eat and drink

     During the official seasons, mostly summer and spring ski touring, most of the huts offers food, breakfast, lunch and dinner for reasonable prices. In the winter rooms, you may also cook your own meals, but again check first what kind of utilities and utensils there is available (most of this can be found on the internet these days) and bring your own, if and when needed.


     Most of the huts require some physical work  exercise to be reached; multi-hour hike, skiing or climbing. You don’t need to be a superwoman or superman, but being physically “fit” does make everything more enjoyable. In Switzerland, I’ve been thinking all the hours spent running and cross-country skiing, swimming and biking, as a teenager. I don’t know if I knew already then where I’d enjoy the results and the well-built endurance base best (few times the motivation was really hard to find), but I do know I enjoy my trips way better because of those hours back in the days. I can go further, I can go higher and I don’t get tired so easily; I can also stand some degree of additional pain and take the extra step because my body knows what it is capable of doing, and what not.

    So yes, it’s not the toughest sport this hut touring, but it’s not super easy either. It does require some physical preconditions which you aren’t gaining on your sofa watching Netflix. Though that’s more than recommended after the hut tour; add some beer and popcorn and chilly lake or river for tired muscles (or even better: sauna) and you recover like champion Tiina.

    PS. Only later I realised I was so close to Verbier, where I did another kind of cabing trip. Mountains with their neverending possibilities and various realities simply are the best.

    Cabin: Cabane Des Dix

    SAC: Swiss Alpine Club

    Other cabins in Switzerland: Alpine Huts in Switzerland


    FI: Olipa kerran mökkiviikonloppu Alpeilla eli retki Sveitsin alppiklubin, tuttavallisemmin SAC, “hüttelle”. Ehkä parasta vastinetta rahoille ja kaikille niille (usein puuduttaville) juoksukilometreille nuoruudessa.

    Kohteena oli muutama viikko takaperin Cabane Des Dix, jonne matka Airolon kylästä kulkee yli jäätikön ja “hieman” kuumottavan vuoren olkapään. Itse en amatööritaitoineni lähtisi vielä tällaista matkaa johtamaan, mutta onneksi on ystävä, joka on suorittanut aiemmin seuduilla alppinismikurssin ja tietää hieman enemmän siitä miten jäätikkö ylitetään mahdollisimman turvallisesti. Onneksi hän myös osaa jakaa tietojaan, ja näin kaiken huvin ohessa myös opettaa kanssamatkalaisia. Olenkin jo aika monta illallista velkaa hänelle…


    Mikäli samankaltainen reissu kiinnostaa, niin suosittelen ensisjaisesti olemaan yhteydessä joko pääkohteen matkailuinfoon tai suoraan opaspalveluita tarjoavaan yritykseen; lähes jokaisesta vuoristokylästä Sveitsissä löytyy firma tai pari, jotka tarjoavat ammattitaitoista, lisensoitua opastusta vuorille ja alppiklubin mökeille. Mikäli omat taidot (ja tutut, kuten minulla) mahdollistavat, on mökeille myös mahdollisuus mennä googlen, kartan ja niiden jo olemassa olevien taitojen varassa, talvella suksin tai kesällä vaeltaen ja kiipeillen. Mutta suosittelen kuitenkin aina ensimmäistä vaihtoehtoa  – parhaan paikallistuntemuksen omaava ammattitaitoinen opas on kaiken rahan arvoinen.

    Mökit tarjoavat sekä erinomaisen kohteen sinänsä, että hyvän majapaikan päiväreissuille ylhäällä vuorilla, ilman monen päivän yöpymistarpeita. Useimmat niistä tarjoavat myös rahaa vastaan ruokaa ja juomaa, pääsesonkien aikana, ja sesonkien ulkopuolella tarjolla on yleensä ns. talvihuone suojaa ja omatoimista kokkailua varten ja näin muistuttavat kovasti Lapin autiotupia. Suosittelen silti kaikissa tapauksissa tarkistamaan ennen reissua netistä kaikki mahdolliset tiedot mökistä, mitä tarpeita se sisältää ja erityisesti minne soittaa jos hätä tulee. Ja niin, siltä varalta ettei itse pysty, on tällaisilla reissuilla aina hyvä kertoa kotiin jääville tuttaville minne on menossa ja milloin on tulossa takaisin, ja milloin pitää huolestua ja soittaa lisäapua, jos matkalaisista ei kuulu sovittuna aikana.

    Reissuun tarvittava fyysinen kunto ja vaellus/kiipeily/hiihtokokemus vaihtelee kohteen mukaan, mutta voisin suositella vaihtamaan Netflixin juoksulenkkiin ainakin muutaman kerran ennen suunniteltua matkaan. Reissun jälkeen Netflix, olut ja raclette sen sijaan ovat mitä suositeltavin palautusmuoto, parhaimassa tapauksessa yhdistettynä pulahdukseen viileään alppijokeen tai järveen. Puhumattakaan saunasta.


    Minulle tällaiset retket ovat yksi parhaista tavoista viettää viikonloppu ja opin jokaisella reissulla aina vain lisää, sekä tarpeellisia taitoja että totuuksia itsestäni. Kuntokin kohenee huomaamatta, enkä vaihtaisi näitä nousuja ylös liukkaita, pelottavia kivikkorinteitä, kuntosalin stepperiin tms. mistään hinnasta enää. Eikä tietysti näissä maisemissa ja siinä hiljaisuudessa (ja valkoisuudessa) mikä yli 3000m korkeudessa jäätiköllä tervehtii, ole todellakaan mitään moittimista.

    Taapertaminen pehmeässä lumessa ja jyrkässä epästabiilissa kivikossa (toukokuu ei muuten ole mikään paras aika tällaisille retkille; mökit ovat syystäkin useimmiten suljettu juuri näinä aikoina) ei ole helppoa ja tälläkin reissulla taisin moneen kertaan todeta kuinka kyseessä oli vaativin ja pelottavin reissu ikinä, mutta se mikä ylhäällä odottaa on kaiken sen vaivan arvoista. Useimmiten matkalla myöskin tapaa uusia mielenkiintoisia ihmisiä, tai ainakin lähentyy sopivasti matkakumppaneiden kanssa. Joten pikemminkin kuin miettiä että miksi lähteä, kannattaa miettiä että miksi ei. Veikkaan, että jos on edes hieman samankaltaiset mieltymykset kuin minulla, niin jälkimmäiseen ei paljon syitä löydy. Edes krooninen rahapula tai paikkallisen kielitaidon puute ei nimittäin estä edes tätä tyttöä.

    Photos of me (edit by me): © Maarten Camerlynck

  • BLOG

    Tiina Kivelä

    There are these places which just have to be visited; places like Verbier. For me, it all started years ago, when getting really into freeskiing and learning of these legendary places like Chamonix, Verbier, St. Anton etc. Where mountains are big, where extreme is the real extreme, and where the after ski is really deserved.

    I still haven’t done any proper ski bum season in the Alps, as I planned some years ago, and for which I tried to learn French and German without much luck (but someday, baby, someday). There came other dreams and other plans, but still, the places were always there, especially in my dreams. And then I moved to Switzerland. Not for bumming really, but at some point I ended up bumming in Verbier, for a while at least.

    It was, or well should have been, the FWT finals on that weekend in the end of March; Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2017. Unfortunately, for the lack of snow and for the strong winds, they could only run the junior race during that weekend, and we had only the weekend free to stay there. Nevertheless, it was a good trip. Drinking very good wine, eating very good burgers, and meeting the legends, the world champions and other weekend warriors, and dancing the night away. It was lovely and krhm. very Scandinavian, as Verbier is, and I sure need to get back there for some more of the good vibes.

    Below you may see Bec Des Rosses, which you should know if you know anything about the hardcore freeskiing. I don’t think I’ll never ski it myself, but en place it really impresses, and scares, even the mere spectator, giving that funny feeling in the stomach, just by watching it from distance… And I can only imagine how it feels to really ski it down; huge respect for the ones who can do it. Nevertheless, the other slopes and off piste areas of Verbier offer nice moderate challenges for us who are more for the comfortable kind of skiing.

    Verbier is about high-level extreme, but it’s also about high-level life quality. So if you are like me, or even less interested in the skiing, the wine and food and party scene are also more than nice to keep you entertained. Just remember to save some money first.

    Eat & Drink Verbier:

    Le Shed, Rue de Medran 5

    Pub Mont Fort, Chemin de la Tinte 10

    Offshore Café, 27 Rue de Medran,

    Sleep & Relax:

    W Verbier

    Wine: Renaissance

     FI: Muutama päivä Verbierissä maaliskuun lopulla. Hyvää viiniä ja ruokaa, legendoja ja skandimeininkiä. Menisin uudelleenkin.