Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grani Still Going Strong


May 20, and we are still skiing in Kauniainen. Or Grani, as it is affectionately called. My local ski hill is a treasure that just keeps on giving. I have lost count how many times I have written about the last ski run of the season on this hill, just this year. And there is still snow!

Racing in Kauniainen, May 20


There is only a small patch of snow left, however, so we've appropriately chosen to use small skis. Or miniskis as they are called. On my recent trip to Bolivia I had these skis for backup, but never needed them. But I've been itching to try them out.

However, I had never used them when I was a kid, so the experience was entirely new. I must say that they are far harder to use than I imagined. It would have been dangerous to put them on for the first time at 17,000 feet on that icy 40 degree slope in Bolivia last weekend. The binding mechanism is not secure and keeps coming off. The skis are so short that there is no balance. Even my son Janne who normally wants to ski without poles wanted poles for additional stability today. The sides are all plastic, so edging on ice would have been difficult. After a couple of runs we started to understand how to ski on the miniskis, but it was still not easy. I'm probably fixated to my normal skiing style, unable to adapt to anything new.

Fall 1

Fall 2

Fall 3

My friend Jarmo found out that it is easier to ski on the miniskis if he uses regular ski boots on them. Seemed to work well for him. In general, getting the right boot fit so that the skis fit well into them is an issue. For most men's hiking boots, for instance, the skis tend to be too narrow. Given the lack of stability, a helmet is recommended. Due to being so short, the miniskis are also remarkably easy to climb up with, as long as there is soft snow, grass, or other material underneath that is not too slippery.

Walk-up stance


In any case, the skis were fun for this slope. It was very warm, over 20 degrees, and the kids kept finding interesting things from the slope. Thirty golf balls, for instance. There were also enough parts of broken race gates so that we could construct our own short race track.


This time it may really be the last ski run of the season. I'd love to ski here in June, but ten days seems too far away. The patches of snow are too small to survive that far.


The miniskis are fun to try, good for skiing down from a pile of snow in the yard. But not so good for other types of skiing. (For starters, they are not for adults, these are children's skis.) And I'm unable to adapt my skiing style to anything else than regular skis. This was also quite evident when I tried snowboarding a couple of years ago.

Poles and miniskis


By the way: I will write something about my Bolivian experiences as soon as I have sorted all my pictures. All I can say now is wow, just wow. It was an incredible adventure. And I'm so glad everyone is safely back from that mountain.

If the slope ends before slowing down, run!

Photo credits (c) 2012 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth

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