From some people's perspectives the past few winters here in Finland have been pretty poor: mild, little snow and very overcast most of the winter. I didn't think they were too bad, colder than we were used to in Scotland, but survivable. I am not a fan of winter.
This winter started off quite mild, but 2016 is now making up for it. It's not been as bad as our first winter in 2010-11 with a meter snowfall starting in late October/ early November and it kept coming until the end of March, but it's back to what winters are usually like here. The last week of the Christmas holiday we got a bit of snow and then were hit with a sudden drop of temperatures. From around -5C to -24C almost overnight. While I had the kids sorted for their regular winter gear that has gotten us by the last couple of years, I had to make a mad dash to find all of the heavy-duty woolen thermals.
We tend to stay in when it gets that cold, but as it was heading downwards we did try and get out and enjoy a proper Finnish winter.
I have to admit I'm a bit scared to skate after my last attempt 20+ years ago dislocated my knee quite badly, so use the youngest as an excuse. I also was watching another friend's toddler. Pudding was not impressed, so we put the little shoe covers on and let her go out with the Chief.
The older kids are all pretty confident on their feet, though Bump likes to mess around with the Chief and the luistelukelkka - the support sledges.
We went to the Jääpuisto, the Ice Park at the Rautatientori train station in the centre of town. We usually just go to Mouse's school which is free, but they don't have the kelkka or a cafe and we wanted to meet up with friends. I liked the Ice Park, but I'm sure the prices are prohibitive for big families like us to go too often.
We also went out sledging on our local hill. The big kids can now pull their own sledges back up, so I either entertain Pudd or just help them adjust position. Though that's much colder for me than having to pull them back up the hill every time.
Foo mostly just throws himself down, over and over.
Just as school was starting back a blizzard hit the country.
Almost nothing stops here when we get a lot of snow, though they did cancel a few buses. I was out at 7am clearing the drive so I could get the kids to school. At 7.30 the snowplough was down our street. A well-oiled machine, Finland in snow. I'm a bit obsessed with keeping it and the paths clear. I love my push shovel. Perfect for the light fluffy snow we get here.
Now the temps are bouncing up and down between -10 and -20C, but the sun is out more often than not. I bought the boys skis last year over Christmas so they could learn, but we never got any decent snow after that for them to even try them out. I have inherited a pair from a friend, that's my next goal for us to learn how to cross-country ski.
So we're doing our best to enjoy the Finnish winter, though Bump has already said she's tired of it and wants spring. Her and me both, but we still have a long wait.
Hope you're enjoying winter where you are.