• Engelberg
  • Engelbergertal In November

    One of my favourite books – Moominvalley in November * – includes a nice description of autumn/early winter mood. Which goes especially well with this November. And my own mood and hustling.

    Currently it’s windy – even a bit stormy (föhnsturm) – in the Engelbergertal (Engelberg valley). And I sit here writing, season’s first mug of glühwein in my hand. Before this, I have fixed a new job for the season. Secured few important things and supplies for the winter and the tiny home (Ikea mainly).

    Bought the first bottle of glühwein and other supplies for christmas bakings and parties. Created two new websites and planned some challenges and purely fun things for the ski season.  And studied german,  details of which I like not to talk so much of (because it’s hard).

    With the new snow, it looks like the mountains too have waken up from their summer hibernation to do something. And I have a feeling I am not the only one who wants to get it all done now – kind of a “working holiday” is the style for many this month – to be all set when the best conditions are here and the time to rock properly.

    (In Swiss destinations, many firms have the habit of holding the doors closed for betriebsferien, for few weeks or whole month in November (and something similar in spring). For some, it’s pure holiday, but for most it seems to be the time to do all the things one doesn’t have time for during the busy seasons, and to make sure all is set for the famous winter season in the Swiss Alps. Therefore, even though many doors keep closed this month, it’s lots of cling and clang going on in Engelbergertal as well. )

    Engelberg November 2019

    Engelberg Schwand 2019

    Engelberg Saint

    The quiet transition from autumn to winter is not a bad time at all. It’s a time for protecting and securing things and for making sure you’ve got in as many supplies as you can. It’s nice to gather together everything you possess as close to you as possible, to store up your warmth and your thoughts and burrow yourself into a deep hole inside, a core of safety where you can defend what is important and precious and your very own. Then the cold and the storms and the darkness can do their worst. They can grope their way up the walls looking for a way in, but they won’t find one, everything is shut, and you sit inside, laughing in your warmth and your solitude, for you have had foresight.
    Tove Jansson, Moominvalley in November

    And when all my preparations are done, I will get into my biggest project of the season: Learning to ski. (And the German, but again let’s not talk much about that.). Because for once, I have enough flexible schedule for winter, many ski lifts just few minutes walk/bike from home, and (the best!) big challenging mountains, around which I wanna get more comfortable playing in many ways.

    It will be lots of technique, strength, skills and confidence to be learned and gained. (And many km’s on the Nordic skiing tracks as well, to keep it balanced and to comfort me that at least I know something well.)

    And I couldn’t be more happy to have this playground for it, the enough challenging, inclusive and inspiring.

    But first, one more mug of glühwein and ski service.


     

    Where: Engelberg, 6390 Switzerland

    * If you don’t know about Moominvalley and Tove Jansson, and especially the early cartoons and Moominvalley books, it’s time you google and find out. 

  • Bern
  • Classics For The Season Opening – Jungfrau Ski Region

    Tiina Kivelä Swiss Alps

    Had to do a trip across half the country again – to good old Jungfrau Ski Region. Though didn’t really have to, wanted to, was invited to and went for few nights and the first day of skiing for this season.

    Noticed how I clearly haven’t trained enough for this kind of sports and also damn it was cold (even for a Finn). But it was beautiful as hell  Swiss Alps at their best. And it was sunny, there was hot chocolate and bratwurst and after ski beer and one of the best parties of the year in Interlaken after the after ski.

    As a pro tip, if and when going to ski here, check the accommodation+ski pass packages. Might give you a “free” night with breakfast for the price of day’s ski pass. Me spoiled kid could – this time again – enjoy the hospitality of friends.

    A friend with these views is definitely a friend to be grateful for. And a very lucky friend.

    Tiina Kivelä Swiss Alps

    Tiina Kivelä Kleine Scheidegg

    Where: Jungfrau Ski Region  – Kleine Scheidegg 2061 m & Lauberhorn Start Bar 2317 m

  • 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