Some random comments:
• Seldom have I seen such a large concentration of moustache-wearers. Finnish men appear to develop a compulsion aged c. 50 to go out and grow one.
• It is vital as a British skier in Finland to accept from the start that you will be comparatively rubbish. Then when you are overtaken by 7 year olds, 70 year olds, women with multiple babies in a sledge, and blind people (not joking), you will not be downhearted, and instead can enjoy overtaking 5 year olds, 75 year olds, and the rare Scandinavian who doesn’t like downhills.
• I am going to set up the Lapland Airport Coach Safari Company. On the way from the airport to my hotel I saw a fox (red) slinking in the edge of the wood (looking exactly like this print), and an arctic hare, and on the way back to the airport, two reindeer. They are paler in colour than I had anticipated. I also saw a second hare (from my hotel bedroom window) and a capercaillie. Birdlife was otherwise disappointing – magpies and great tits do not count, and the Siberian jays for which the reason is known must have been on holiday in Siberia.
• I was quite pleased with my skiing. I did c. 125km over 6 days, plus a day on the downhill pistes (advantage of an evening flight home). I wasn’t as fast on the flat as I’d have liked, but I definitely improved my XC downhill confidence and technique, which I'd set as a personal goal.
An impressive capercaillie:
Some impressive landscape:
Some impressive snow:
An impressive skier!
*And then I went for a walk for an hour at midnight in case they came back, which they did a bit, but which was probably not the greatest idea. I had my pyjamas on inside my ski kit.
**Although the English-language news channels were Euronews and France 24 UK. I learnt a lot more than I would have anticipated about the French municipal elections and their impact on Hollande’s government.
***Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood film, which I watched this afternoon, was a large price to pay. Utter drivel.