• BLOG
  • The Most Persistent Loser

    Trübsee Langlaufloipe

    I don’t hate you for failing.  I  love you for trying.

     I had this “quote” (somewhere credited to Marge Simpson, no knowledge of the original idea) on my wall for years. And it’s no wonder then that the “Mont Blanc’s most persistent loser” -description (of Marc-Théodore Bourrit in Fergus Fleming’s “Killing Dragons – The Conquest of the Alps” book I am currently reading ) hit my nerve as well.

    (Btw that^ book again is full or annoying arrogant or simply just rude dudes, and I am still looking for more mountain books of good men and especially of and by the brave women. Feel free to drop them to me by email or in the comments.)

    Of course it would be way nicer to be the winner always. To succeed, reach goals and just do amazingly all the time. But while that’s not the case, it’s better to try and try. To do and just go for it. Even with the possibility of failing, it’s better to dream and try than waste life by dreaming but not reaching. Not even failure.

    Persistence and sisu. Stubborness and perseverance. Very good qualifications in sports, work and life in general.

    Eh and yes, this semi deep talk just randomly accompanies these cross-country skiing pics from February. Which basically don’t have anything to do with the persistence and reaching goals. I mainly ski just for fun and exercise, don’t aim for much, and it’s also been many years from my last race.

    I am not even sure if I really dreamed of one day skiing nordic in the Alps above 1000m where it really helps to have the good technique and endurance I have as a result of skiing nordic since 90´s. Also, very hard to think how one could really fail badly in this sport (as long as one doesn’t aim for Olympic gold).

    Falling may hurt, yes. Muscles most likely hurt after tens of kilometres, no matter how well trained previously. Or you may not reach the planned 20km because just can’t do it. (Or don’t have enough extra energy. Until now I have carried with me on my adventures these honey shots by Arctic Warriors – funnily named with the Finnish versions of perseverance, persistence and strength – and boosted my morning/lunch/dinner porridges with their berry powders * which now unfortunately are finished. And so I have made more restaurant stops in between skiing and suffer now of slight flu – hopefully not corona – symptoms.)

    In Lapland, frost may also bite. And skis and poles may break, for various reasons, which comes expensive.

    In general though, nordic skiing is pretty funny, especially on places like Trübsee in Engelberg where one can simultaneously watch the freeskiers come down from the higher glaciers, past and over snow covered crevasses and cliffs. Nordic skiing is not really risky sport, yet the sessions like in these pics are pretty rewarding and the ultimate experience amazing.

    And yes, if you fail it will not be as bad as a failure on the glacier or big scene in front of huge audience. And when you succeed, it just strengthens your confidence and endurance.

    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.

    ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

    Tiina Kivelä Langlauf

    Trübsee Langlaufloipe


    Where: Trübsee, Engelberg/Titlis, Switzerland

     

  • BLOG
  • Some Skiing & Skier’s Dinner In Ski Lodge Engelberg

    Spannort Tiina Kivelä Photography

    It’s been an interesting winter in Swiss Alps. Or may I say bad, very bad.

    Not just for the poor conditions for cool fluffy powder turns, long scenic langlauf  tours and the pics (after all, I wanted to shoot more skiing and pretty snowy landscapes more than ever this winter) . It also makes me sad how bad this is in general for the environment, for the lifestyle we many so much love, and the livelihoods of these cute little villages in the heart of the marvellous Alps.

    Also the February, normally the last proper winter month in the Swiss Alps, hasn’t been this year even close to this excellence in Davos year ago (or maybe in Graubünden it’s been, who knows).

    Luckily there has been few good ski days, enough snow and cold days for few powder turns and even once the 11km talloipe open for good sunny (and full moon) skating style xc skiing. And more than else it makes me happy that the ski towns like Engelberg have so much good stuff to offer even on a bad winter (which is gonna be the norm in the future I am afraid).

    There are good cafés and bars to hang in, bakeries to buy excellent bread and other daily carbs, shops selling exactly what one needs (though not much extra, for which one is happy for the sustainable webshops especially), the Kloster Engelberg (celebrating it’s 900 year birthday in 2020!) and the restaurants.

    And while my heart (and tummy) always have a special place for the authentic mountain restaurants, ski huts and even the local Sporting Park pizza (who knows, knows), the Skier’s Dinner in Brasserie Konrad (Ski Lodge Engelberg) always deserves a extra mention when speaking of Engelberg restaurants. Especially on a week like this.

    It was a rainy warm evening this Monday, following way too warm (for February) xc skiing loops. But the food and athmosphere in the dinner (this time set up for locals) really made one feel that after all, it’s very good with just some excellent Swiss wine and three course menu close to perfection, enjoyed around big table with some good friends and lovers. Laughing and living.

    And of course, talking of this winter…

    Brunni Engelberg Freeskiing

    Brunni Engelberg Vapaalasku

    Ski Lodge Engelberg

     


    Where:

    Gross & Chli Spannort

     skiing Brunni (Brunnibahn)

    cross-country skiing schanzenloipe (Sporting Park)

    Skier’s Dinner Brasserie Konrad, Ski Lodge (during main ski season every night)

    Engelberg, Switzerland

     

  • BLOG
  • Nordic Skiing In Engelberg

    Engelberg Talloipe Langlauf

    Here and there I have now heard nordic skiing (or cross-country skiing or langlauf or hiihto) is the coolest winter sport. Even many of the cooler than cool free skier stars are doing it!

    And in general as an endurance sport, nordic skiing is even cooler than trailrunning and triathlon, which kinda try too much to be cool and popular (sorry, I guess I just aren’t old enough). And which can be done and for which one can train almost anywhere on the planet, almost any time of the year.

    Different is nordic skiing, which requires cold, snow, prepared tracks (especially the skating version) and good profiles for those tracks. Not too flat, not too steep hilly and definitely not too urban. And luckily this poor winter again, from time to time, one has been able to find all this in Engelberg too, making it kind of ok place to live and visit (just less than 2h from Zürich, wink wink) for nordic skier as well.

    And of course, in good and bad, nordic skiing requires skills and endurance. Although that is best learned and gained by doing it. So hop of to the tracks, if you have any close by. (But take a technique course first, if you aren’t born nordic with compulsory nordic skiing classes at school.)

    The cool Maloja clothing and Kästle skis (btw, did you know Kästle is making Nordic skis again, and they look pretty nice, which is not default in nordic ski design, unfortunately) are obligatory, as well as company. Gang shreds suit nordic skiing too, but for me this works best as active meditation and time in nature with me, myself and I.

    Eh and after nordic skiing, sauna is almost compulsory. So don’t forget it before the traditional aprés beers and well deserved raclette. Your muscles will thank you.

    (Psst. From Engelberg  I have found a decent enough Finnish sauna with reasonable price in Titlis Resort and for a bit more extra sauna and spa you may find in Eienwäldli, a bit out of the town by the talloipe in these pics).

    Talloipe Engelberg Langlauf

    Talloipe Engelberg Nordic Skiing

    Engelberg Talloipe Langlauf


    Where: Talloipe, Engelberg Switzerland (current conditions & langlaufinfo here)