• BLOG
  • 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

    WINTER SEASON 17-18 PLANS – GOING HAPPY PLACES

    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

    PREPARATIONS & ADVENTURE LOG 17-18

    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

  • LIFE
  • Honestly, I’m A Finn And I Need My Solitude

    Tiina Kivelä

    November is really November these days. Monday too. With rain and around 6h daylight – basically, it’s just a loooong and dark night followed with 50 shades of grey before another looooong and dark night. And over again. Calls for a badass attitude and not just in Helsinki.

    For a while it was nice. There was snow and I could go skiing even, the Nordic style – 1,5 year break made me feel a bit like Bambi on ice though. But I’m getting there – and whatever the style, it’s one of the best and most effective training methods ever, let me tell you. Watch out skimo and skitouring season, this year I’m really training for you…

    And then there were these extremely beautiful and cold days fairytale-like days with frost and all the muted shades of care bears. No wonder Frozen is my favorite Disney film – the one I can really relate to. There was well needed light, sunny (although cold) days and beautiful hikes.

    Tiina Kivelä

    And it’s been so quiet and empty. No wonder solitude has been another thing in my mind and agenda these weeks. It has felt a bit that I’ve been paying the bills from last winter still, the bills from when I for a while forgot what I need to keep it all together. In the end, I survived, and it was the best winter I’ve ever had. But honestly, I was too close to exhaustion with all the work, long mountain days in the weekends, shared flat, etc. There were good things, but there was something important missing. And things didn’t really go as I hoped them to go. Luckily though, life is a journey in which I don’t need to repeat the same mistakes all over again. And when stepping into another ski season, I do make sure I do things better this time and after.

    Last winter, solitude was missing, while some other shitty things were taking it’s place, like the pitfalls of bad management. I still do love most of the firm and it has been the best learning experience I’ve ever had. But it had it’s flaws, like any organization. On my freetime, I did some solo hikes, and took my time alone, but not enough. And now, it’s not just my freetime into which I try to squeeze better practices and the solitude. It’s also the work part of my life for which I try to invent better practices. And in which I hope to be able to focus on the really important things and do them better.

    Now when I read and hear how good solitude does, I’ve understood that it’s clearly one of the secrets for my success too. The thing I can do to ease the pain. In the best case, it also makes me a better team member. At work and at home.

    So, to not repeat the same mistakes again, it’s been sauna almost every day now. The real Finnish one – alone, quiet, naked, veeery hot one. I guess it works like bath for Emma Watson. And then there’s these moments in the nature, almost like Thoreau. And all this skiing and running and reading, and knitting, etc. Yeah I know, I sound like a grandma. But please, just let me take my time and see you in (Verbier) afterski with all the energy gained these months. Darling, it will be wild, I promise.

    And for the work I have new calendar and scheduling practices, as well as new confidence to do things my way, the way I know works best for me and for the goals of whatever project I’m on.

    If you want to read more about why solitude is good, you may start from this. Or this. Or maybe this. One of them tells you that solitude is even a competitive advantage! Who knew – it’s not just for us introverts to curl up in our comfort zone.

    Oh and if you want to come up here too, I may tell that my Lapland guide is almost finished (working on this site and menus this month). And to give a tip from here already, I may recommend the place offering that risotto (Restaurant Roka, Rovaniemi, Lapland Finland) which I enjoyed in solitude – comfort food, alone or made with love and enjoyed in good company, it’s an excellent self care ritual too. Especially after exercising out in the cold, which makes a girl hungry. Veeery hungy.

    With these words and pics, let’s survive now (and hopefully enjoy too) November.  See you later!

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

  • BLOG
  • FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY

    Tiina Kivelä

    This Swiss life. It’s soon been almost a year already. And still going strong.

    Spring has arrived, but as sometimes it snows in April, the cold winds and snow came back during Easter, and this weekend warrior doesn’t put the skis away yet. Or maybe I did last weekend, after a sunny day skiing down Schilthorn with the best people. Nevertheless, the running shoes and bike are already out for the spring, and evenings are spent running along rivers and to the lakes, and biking to nearby villages like Lauterbrunnen (have I already said how awesome it’s that this fairy village is less than an hour bike ride away?).

    At this point, it’quite pointless to point out (not many posts the past months…) that the official winter season (it’s called spring skiing now) was an intensive rollercoaster of feelings and work and weekend adventures. Eat, drink, sleep, work, ski, repeat. Days, weeks and months passed, and mostly it was the simple survival mode which kept me going. And even though many stories were born, only a few of them were written down, and some never realised; because I always thought (wrongly) that I’d have time later on…

    DREAM TOUR OF THE SEASON

    I’ve even forgotten to publish these pics from an awesome trip in February; from a tour which I thought was just the beginning. But then the life and incredibly warm spring happened and this might have been the last big tour of the season. Nevertheless, it was awesome and something to tell to the future grandchildren (disclaimer: these winter trips weren’t “how I met your father”, but quite close still...)

    That day, we stayed up until the lifts closed, and boot packed the extra meters to get the best seats for sunset. After some tea and chocolate and hesitation, we skied down in the dark, only light coming from our headlamps and stars. Then down in the valley, we were the last customers at Busstop, and had the most chilled after ski ever, just two skiers, a beer, a silhouette of the magnificent Eiger, a fire and the stars above. A dream tour, definitely.

    And yes I know how romantic this sounds. I don’t normally do cute, but oh boy Switzerland, mountains and some people have made me quite a romantic this past year.

    Tiina Kivelä

    LIFE IS LIKE A ROLLERCOASTER

    After that weekend, weeks went like a roller coaster ride though. But finally the storm has calmed and there’s even time for free writing and reflecting on what has really happened and what have I learned. In an example, I’ve realised that it’s better to feel the fear and do it anyway, rather than settle on something which does not feel good enough.

    The days like this have felt good. I’ve been scared. My heart has been beating. But I’ve felt good, especially afterwards. It’s like with travelling and running; you think you can’t make it until you make it, and many times you even realise that you can go even further. Maybe one day I climb that Eiger even. Or Mönch. Or at least Jungfrau, which I see from my window (lucky girl). After all, I’ve also been to Verbier (about which and other trips some other time).

    You may fall, but you may also fly. As you never know what would have really happened, if you’d chosen differently.

    2017 Tiina Kivelä

    * Where: semi-secret spot above the Oberjoch lift, Skigebiet Grindelwald-First 


     FI:

    SANANEN SIIRTYMÄKAUDESTA

    Sveitsin talvi. Lyhyt mutta vähäluminen. Kuin Lapin kesä siis.

    Viime viikonloppuna saattoi olla viimeinen laskettelupäivä tälle kaudelle. Sen kunniaksi ja 50+ suojakertoimesta huolimatta poltin kasvoilleni aika huvittavat pandarajat ja join illalla yhden Sambuca – shotin liikaa. Mutta niin, se talvi, se oli sen shotin arvoinen. Ja hyvin lyhyt näin lappilaisiin talviin tottuneelle; nyt elämme jo aikaa jolloin eteisessä huomiosta taistelevat sukset, juoksukengät ja maastopyörä. Kotilaaksokin näyttää taas viidakolta, joka sijaitsee vain muutaman tunnin ajomatkan päässä välimereltä.

    Talven aikana olen valitettavasti unohtanut, enkä oikeastaan edes ehtinyt, kertoa monta tarinaa. Mutta nyt onneksi aikaa on taas enemmän ja voisin kertoa vaikkapa tästä illasta kuvissa; eräs ilta helmikuulta Grindelwalding yläpuolelta. Kun odotimme hissien sulkeutumista ja haikkasimme ylimääräiset metrit ylös parhaille auringonlaskun katselupaikoille. Aurinko laski, seuralainen uskalsi haikata hieman korkeammalle kuin minä, ja tee oli kuumaa. Lopulta laskimme alas otsalamppujen ja tähtien valossa ja saimme viimeisellä minuutilla oluen alueen parhaasta afrerski “baarista” Busstopista, jonka sitten nautimme kaksin nuotion ääressä tähdet ja massiivinen Eigerin siluetti kulissinamme. Oli aika romanttista, pakko myöntää.

    YLÄMÄKIÄ JA ALAMÄKIÄ

    Tämän illan jälkeen elämä kuitenkin tuntui sitten lipsahtavan vähän liiankin hurjaan vuoristorataan. Oli paljon liikaa töitä, väsymystä ja sekasotkua, mutta kuitenkin hyviä viikonloppuja, pikku reissuja ja erinomaisia keskusteluja. Simpukkaillalisia, racletteillallisia, ystävien uusia ihania asuntoja. Uusia alkuja ja umpikujia.

    Ja vihdoin elämä on taas hieman rauhoittunut. On aikaa kirjoittaa, istua järven rannalla ja pyöräillä iltaisin vaikkapa Lauterbrunneniin. On tuntunut kotoisalta ja aurinkoinen parveke on paljastanut sisältäni kehittyvän viherpeukalon. Ja kalenteriin on merkitty ensimmäiset pidemmät vuosilomat ja jopa lentoliput Espanjaan on buukattu.

    Ei kaikki silti täydellistä ole eikä lähelläkään helppoa, mutta ehkä juuri siksi parasta ikinä. Tämä elämä saa sydämen lyömään ja mielen keskittymään oikeisiin asioihin. Niihin joilla on oikeasti väliä. Kuten nämä mahtavat vuoret ja ihmiset.