• BLOG
  • La Grave – The Art Of Getting “Extreme”

    La Grave Raw Tiina Kivelä

    Once upon a time in La Grave. 

    This past January I traveled to La Grave. The La Grave. For I needed a break, a holiday and to get “extreme” – steep skiing, couloir skiing and lagraving (who knows, knows).

    It was exactly as challenging and enhancing as I wished for. Worth the money, so to speak – and my kind of package holiday, definitely. I don’t say it made me a confident pro skier (I wish!) – but it did put me into the most challenging situations I’ve been on skis (and skis on my back and in the storage room when I had to get up 6am every single day on a holiday). Yes, I’m weird with my holiday preferences.

    There were a storm and Couloir Olympique (random video of it)– there were shaky legs and sketchy frozen avalanche debris and steep rocky slopes to traverse on – and there were many well earned beers and excited mornings before guide brief and three course french meals (and cheese!). Not to forget all the badass ladies in the camp, who nicely added some balance to the mainly male fellow mountaineers and guests in the lodge (women, please, do come do these kind of things more often – leave the boyfriends home for once and just do it.)

    I could repeat this next winter too.  And if you’re going, look for a guide named Erin Smart. She’s a professional you want to ski sketchy couloirs with. 

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    La Grave Tiina Kivelä

    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.

    © Ernest Hemingway


    Where: La Grave La Meije, 05320 France

  • BLOG
  • Refugitive

    Thunersee Tiina Kivelä

    Last weeks haven’t been the easiest, I have to say. From the sunny warm days like in the picture^ the life has quickly turned into much darker and colder, metaphorically and realistically speaking. I’ve been sick, I’ve had too much to do, and I’ve made few silly mistakes and experienced too many drawbacks. Also my optimistic tendency to trust people and think the best of them has led me to quite too many disappointments. Not to mention what’s generally happening around the world these days.

    But then I went to Munich and reconnected with these amazing people. Professional, honest, humble, brave and daring women & men, who kick ass and still are the most loving and lovable as they can be. They use their full potential and push others to do the same. And they do these amazing films and care about other people.

    Thank you for returning my trust to humankind.

    On the day of departure I walked in to the shop and bought these^ Patagonia Refugitive pants for future alpine skitours & adventures (found from the department “expeditions”, krhm). Bought then thinking that no matter what some people say and no matter how I fail in so many things, no matter how messed up the world generally is, skiing is something I’m good at, and in the mountains it’s always good to be. Challenging, but rewarding. And skiing is something I love doing. Especially in pants made by people who also do what they love & also care about so many things. Who always push for something better. That’s the kind of people I like and want to work for.

    And now I just can’t wait for the season to start and to put these pants to action. I still have so much to learn and I’m expecting many challenging days in the mountains. It’s already snowing in the mountain villages like Mürren nearby, and I have good friends to ski with. Winter is coming and I’m ready.

    Tiina Kivelä

    So… I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say here, except that things are probably (hopefully) gonna change soon here.

    Oh and the Munich comments. Well. Shades of Winter women kicked ass and the film & event was great, but from BMW Welt, which acted as the venue for the Worl Premiere,  it wasn’t the most impressive performance, unfortunately.  Somehow they had thogh (or well maybe the other way, haven’t really thought at all) that it would be good idea to situate the women toilets outside in containers, while men could enjoy the indoor toilets. After all, “Between” was all woman skifilm & I’ve thought BMW wants to support and speak to us women especially these days, through these sponsorships & promotions. Therefore it was kind odd of them to not pay attention to these details; opportunity lost, so to speak.

    And again no accommodation tips, unfortunately. I know, I really should do something to get back to the “I can afford living in nice hotels in nice safe areas” category. I really don’t like the fact that we had to take taxi back to the hostel because we didn’t feel safe walking around that area… And for me to feel that way, the area needs to be extra shady.

    Last, to put shortly this short October but not Octoberfest trip; great shopping (and even a little climbing & via ferrata) at Schuster & highsteerts, bretzels and coffee from main railway station & U-Bahn stations, film, cars and events (for men, krhm.) in BMW Welt, partying at Die Registratur* and not so great accommodation near Hauptbahnhof. And also one “stuck alone in non-moving metro & no idea what’s happening” moments. Luckily didn’t have time to think then about the events this year, in these European cities…

    Ps. Mom, I promise to keep on taking care of myself the best way I can.

    Between Tiina Kivelä


    Münich

    Die Registratur Müllerstraße 42, 80469 München, Saksa*

    Schuster & other good shops in & around Rosenstraße

    *Pro tip: on the way there & back, between Sendlinger Tor U-Bahn & the bar, stop at the tiny pizza slice place. Best & fastest on the go pizza I’ve ever had.

     

  • BLOG
  • Sunday Tour – Pyhä Ski Resort

    Tiina Kivelä

    Went skiing. Into the clouds aka Pyhä Ski Resort; kind of my home resort this is. Wasn’t so bad, although this is far (too far) away from mountains. And mountains; oh boy I miss them a lot…. But hey, lets get back to the hills. Today the snow would have been great for touring, packed and settled, but unfortunately visibility was like this. And since the weather wasn’t ideal for touring, I decided to buy the damn expensive lift ticket.

    Oh Lapland… when you’d realize you just can’t ask almost the same for 4 slow lifts and 10 slopes & 400m height while the Alps (example) offer 3000m on height and around 50 lifts and slopes – not to mention the food and wine and beer etc. But since today I got the lift to the Holy Hill (that’s Pyhätunturi literally translated) and not the Alps, I took what I got and enjoyed some expensive lift assisted freeskiing (unfortunately the holiday season had overskied the snow) and technically excellent (krhm) runs on the slopes. Which, luckily enough, were in excellent shape; it’s been a good snowy winter in Lapland. The visibility, on the other hand… Artsy.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    And now something personal (and nostalgic). As a child skiing wasn’t an elite sport. This was my home resort, our weekend living room, where we skied and partied with the local freestyle talents and tested (and improved) our limits and skills on some of the most deepest and challenging runs in Finland. Back then even the old chairlift pictured here was still running. Pyhä was also the hill which for the first time (RIP) really made me realize how dangerous and risky sport skiing is (before that incident there even was a time we skied without helmets). Back then, also the ticket prices were way below current rates (and we even got this amazing local/youth discount for the season card). Only later (moving south / abroad) did I came to understand how things like skiing or hunting weren’t the average Jane’s business, like it was (and still partly is) in Lapland.

    Today skiing for me has these two sides – on the other is the elite sport, too expensive to practice regularly (hello sponsors!), and on the other is the freeskiing and skitouring; Norway style.* And luckily cross-country skiing is still free, at least in my parent’s “backyard”.

    SHOULD YOU GO TO PYHÄ ?

    Nowadays there are few jobs left up north, especially for the highly educated like me, and very few live there year round. Nevertheless, couple of years ago I tried to get back and lived and worked in this resort/village for a while. But, even though I love(d) the wilderness and activity possibilities the outdoors have to offer, I had to admit I couldn’t live there permanently. Unfortunately so. I need other people, I need more motivating a job and I need the fresh ideas and opportunism, even the hustle, what more densely populated towns and cities have to offer.

    But for a holiday, for a short visit and relaxing in silence; Pyhä is just perfect. So if you have the money I’d recommend you to enjoy the best skiing and cross-country skiing, fatbiking, hiking (summer and winter), mountainbiking, canoeing etc. in Finland, next to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park. And if not on active mood, also chilling by the fireplace / in sauna, and eating, is more than fine. And what’s even more nice is that Pyhä is easily reachable from the hub of Lapland, aka Rovaniemi city and airport.


    Note! If and when you like freeskiing and skitouring, I’d like you to notice that even though the steep downhills make this an excellent destination (maybe even the best one in Finland) for backcountry skiing etc, the steepness and rocky terrain also make it a very risky place when it comes to avalanches and falling while running / mountain biking / hiking. So please, when you’re going into the wild there; take into account the current weather and avalanche forecast, familiarize yourself about the terrain by maps / asking locals / ski school and take care of yourself and others.


    *I’m also wondering if resort skiing should be like golf – only available for the club members. And so that also the skills, not only money, would be taken into account when distributing the shares…