Busy, busy, busy. With all of the kid’s activities, work, family stuff and weather, I just never seem to get any time or inspiration to get on here for an update. Well, here it is.
This winter has produced more snow than I’ve ever been witness to in Sweden. Yes we have had winters that were worse than others as far as snow fall is concerned, but this year (for me) takes the cake. We have an average base of 1½ – 2 meters of snow. It began to fall in October which isn’t out of the ordinary but it just stacked and stacked over the following months making Christmas a real delight. New Year’s was also a lot of fun with the hill we have behind the house and tiki torches lighting up the run. Something I’m sure my kids will remember for the rest of their lives, as will I.
This of course meant, what seemed like, continuous snow removal with the snow thrower and the shovels. We had a good meter of snow built up on the roofs and the unfortunate few actually had cave-ins on barns and wood sheds. So far, I wasn’t affected by this catastrophe and I say “so far” because it’s snowing as I type this. However, I’m pretty sure I’m out of the woods as far as a cave-in is concerned but I may have to start up the snow thrower anyway for one last time.
In these pictures, my kids are busy digging themselves a snow fort/cave in about 6 feet deep snow on the side yard, This is an experience I never got to live but I always fantasized about it when I was little. I’m happy they got this experience.
As the days finally began to catch up with the night near the end of February, we became more active as does most everyone else. Night driving is always a risky business since there is a lot of wildlife that meanders onto the roads most especially when there is deep snow elsewhere. Who likes walking in deep snow? It’s a hassle. The animals most guilty of this are the herds of reindeer which come down from the mountains in order to feed during the winter. Unfortunately, every year many of these beautiful creatures lose their lives to traffic accidents as they lick the roads for salt. No one tries to hit them but accidents do happen and it’s a bummer. Regardless, it’s great seeing them and if you come to Sweden for a visit, and you see warning signs or plastic bags tied to sticks, slow down, be vigilant and get your camera ready. The signs and warnings are there for a reason and they’re a great notification that you may catch some good photos. Here are a few of my encounters. If you want to see more, check out my instagram collection. The link is at the bottom of the blog.
We also spent a lot of time skiing this year. Even during the darkest times. The weekend these pictures were taken was one of the first weekends where the sun shone so strong that it put gallons of happiness and much needed vitamin D into the population. Here we are skiing at one of our favorite ski resorts called Vemdalen (directly translated and always fun to tell those who don’t speak Swedish as “Who Valley”. Like in Dr. Seuss.) This is a great resort for all and if you have small children, it’s ideal. They have an escalator band that small kids ski onto and it takes them up the bunny slope. Super easy and it’s encapsulated with fun, kid music playing on the trip up. The bunny slope is very mellow and perfect for youngsters to learn to turn, stop and just get the feel. From there you can ski over to the anchor lifts where you grab onto a pole attached to a pull cable and tuck it between your legs. It’s a simple design but it moves people up the hill at a continuous rate. Very effective at eliminating lines. There are also chair lifts which take you to the tops of the peaks and as most know, these are speedy and great for a rest between rides.
There are many peaks and a huge variety of slopes to ride each one offering a restaurant and different vistas to experience. This mountain range serves people of every experience level, has some boon-docking through forested hills and some fun slopes for kids to practice jumps, rail slides and slalom. The prices are pretty reasonable as well considering the creature comforts it affords. Much cheaper than Disneyland, I can assure you.
One of the biggest reasons I like Vemdalen is the ease of parking. I have found this to be the biggest frustration about skiing in Sweden. Vemdalen offers a huge parking lot and even if you have to walk a little extra, parking has never been an issue. There’s also a nice hotel to stay at which is also somewhat reasonably priced even during high season. Summer prices are much better though and even though you can’t ski, there are a ton of trails everywhere.
Here are some photos of the day we spent there. It was a fantastic day and we were so worn out by the time we skied back to the car. Slept like a king that night, though.
When I mentioned the amount of snow we received, I forgot to mention the cold that came with it. The coldest we had recorded was -38°C. It was so cold that my car and it’s crummy electronics couldn’t handle it, so I got an engine fault alarm and then it went into some emergency mode and prohibited me from driving faster than 35mph. I noticed some people tape cardboard to the grill of their car to inhibit cooling the radiator. I will be trying that next winter or I’ll just buy an old, analog car so I won’t have to deal with electronic monitoring. If you have an old Volvo station wagon in decent condition and you just wanna get rid of it, let me know. I like the late 70’s models up to early 80’s. ;-D
Here are some photos of the coldest days we received (while the sun was shining). No need to depress any of you with the cold, darkness.
We also did some local skiing in our home town. The slope isn’t as advanced and it’s run by parents and locals from the town. It’s a great place to ride. Close and cheap and offers a rail, forest runs and some speed runs. The only downside is the rides are short but there’s never a line to get back to the top so it’s a great slope in my opinion.
Easter weekend was iconic, Easter weather for Sweden. Warm(er) temps, sunny skies and no wind. This is the kind of weather that offers a plethora of opportunity to have fun or be outside working on projects or just doing absolutely nothing other than sun bathing – with a parka and long underwear, of course. This isn’t Hawaii after all. The only complaint I had about the weather was I got a little sun burned but that’s unlikely to draw out any sympathy from anyone so I’ll just not complain at all.
A friend of mine and I took the opportunity to ride our snowmobiles for a photo-safari. He’s a fantastic photographer and he can be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/c68s . I recommend you take a look. Anyway, we spent the days riding all over the place. Riding under power lines, on frozen rivers, frozen lakes and awesome forest trails. The amount of deep snow we received really paid dividends on fun this season. Here is a shot taken during our escapades. Again, refer to my instagram collection to see more.
And what would winter be in Sweden without some Northern Lights? Another iconic symbol of the arctic and Sweden. The bad part is the sun has been super inactive but the relatively few decent solar storms we received, we either had clouds or I was just too tired to stay awake or it was way too cold for me to stand out there and pray I didn’t die from exposure or destroy my camera. I did catch a few medium to low events but missed the more severe ones. Hopefully this weekend we will have one, last blast before the 24hrs of daylight sets in and we lose night for a few months.
I get very little traffic on my blog so if you like it, be sure to mention it to a friend and pass it around. The more traffic I get, the more guilty I feel for not updating and it will force me to make this a habit.
Until next time, take care!