What a winter kick off last week has been! Not quite like a typical November for many years, this time, following a dry autumn, Espoo started to turn white as early as November 5th, when the first snow fell. Followed by a steady snow fall for few days after, there was soon a layer thick enough to enter forest roads and trails on skis, record-early for me.
Espoo all powdery white and Skiexpo just finished, it is due time to start shifting focus to the winter. And what better way to get that started, than looking back at the last season’s ventures, for buzz and inspiration.
Season 2015/2016 was extremely good for me, right from the very start. Opening the season already early December, in Ruka, joining a 3-day telemark boot camp organized specifically for our small group, was the perfect kick off. It was facilitated by Ruka Ski School, with Martti Kontula as the instructor. Lucky with the weather, we even got some fresh powder, and the boot camp was both humbling and educational. Videos shot during the camp were ruthless in their honesty, but were a great way to highlight and discuss improvement areas in one’s form and technique. Tips, ideas and both physical and mental exercises were shared, to carry the teachings through the season.
I consider packraft as one of the most, if not the most, rewarding investments into outdoor gear I have ever made. Typically when jumping into a new hobby, it would be great to have the opportunity to try it out, to see if it fits, before going full monty. But I have a habit of getting involved in niche activities, and back in 2011, packrafting was exactly that. Though gaining momentum in US, there was no local community or any retailer in Europe, though rumor had it there were few rafts already imported to Finland. Stoked about fatbikes as well, I watched videos from Alaska and read about adventurers bikepacking in, and using rafts to traverse, the wilderness, sometimes combining the two. And I tried not to pull the trigger.