• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'We dug up enough snow to build a competitor to the Ice Hotel'

15 Feb 2013, 10:28

Published: 15 Feb 2013 10:28 GMT+01:00

It has snowed A LOT this winter. As I look out the window now, it’s still snowing.

We’re fairly keen walkers but winter up north is not really designed for strolls through the meadows. If we were to attempt a stroll to the shore of our lake I’m pretty sure we’d drown before we’d gone 10 metres.

This is serious snow.

Even our cats, all giant Maine Coon monsters, built for harsh winters, rarely venture outside other than for their obvious necessities. And even then, they come back looking like abominable snowcats.

But it is beautiful, especially as the days get longer and the sunny days become more frequent. We want to be outside as much as possible, especially as it’s been a relatively mild winter up here – it’s rarely dropped below -15C. All that snow and no way to explore it (not without a snorkel anyway).

I considered Nordic skiing but my dodgy, football-wrecked knees have pretty much ruled that out. So, after a lot of encouragement from our neighbours, we bought a snowmobile, or snöskoter.

Låge, my snöskoter-crazy neighbour, took us shopping. I tried a mammoth Yamaha Viking that would probably have accommodated myself, Donna and our two friends, Vlad and Bea, who are helping us renovate our wreck of a house and probably the cats too, but Låge said it was too big for a beginner.

"If you get stuck on that, you’ll need a helicopter to rescue you."

After a further three or four test-drives Låge found us a Lynx Yeti that was ideal. It had a wide-track, which meant it offered stability and traction and it was big enough to allow two people to ride comfortably.

IN PICTURES: Follow Paul on his snowmobile adventure

At first, in the relatively shallow snow, just after Christmas, riding it was a breeze. I even ventured off-trail (something I’d been warned not to do) and made my own tracks in the huge expanse of virgin snow that our house backs onto. The sense of freedom it gave us was thrilling. We could venture out to places that had been hitherto inaccessible.

My English friend, David, who’s been here seven years, had warned me that I would come a cropper at some stage – "everybody does".

"Ha," I thought, "I’m obviously a natural, this is easy-peasy."

A couple of weeks ago, we had another huge dump of snow. Sunday, as seems to be the norm up here, dawned bright, sunny and glorious. We all got togged up and I hopped on the skoter to firm up the track down to the lake (a skoter is a fine tool to make walkable paths over deep snow).

After about 100 metres I could sense that the terrain had changed. The skoter wobbled around at low speeds and was proving difficult to turn. After 200 metres, I was starting to panic – I was heading towards the trees at the edge of the lake and the bloody thing would not turn.

Then I made the first error of the day – instead of accelerating out of the spot of trouble (why is it always the counter-intuitive method that does the trick?), I slowed down.

The skoter, robbed of its momentum, dipped its left side into the deep, fresh snow and threw me off. I was flipped into deep snow. I was like a turtle stranded on its back – I could not move. Eventually, I righted myself. But I couldn’t shift the skoter.

Story continues below…

Luckily, the others were only 200 metres away and Vlad trekked back to the house to fetch a shovel. Thirty minutes later we were free and Vlad jumped on the back and off we went again.

Luckily, he brought the shovel with him because we found ourselves stuck a further three times – on the last occasion, in order to free the skoter, we dug up enough snow and ice to build a competitor to the Ice Hotel.

I’ve learned my lesson. This is nature ice-cold in tooth and claw.

Up until now, I’ve forgone proper snow boots and not bothered with a helmet. Both oversights have been rectified but I’ve not ventured out since. I tell myself I’m just waiting for the joys of vårvinter but I have lost my bottle slightly. It is really lovely out there but it’s a beauty tinged with glacial danger.

And I’m not quite ready to take it on again yet.

Paul Connolly

Read more from Paul here, including his Northern Dispatch column

Related links:

Your comments about this article

13:08 February 15, 2013 by GraceBee
Hej Paul, I missed your column, so glad you're back! Skoters are lots of fun but they take a while to get used to. March is the best time and sometimes April is very good too.

Have fun!
13:33 February 15, 2013 by Åskar
When I read this I'm so happy that my father had the good sense to move south.
13:48 February 15, 2013 by dunx
This made me smile. I took a neighbour's snowmobile into virgin snow this winter for the first time ever. It took me less than a minute to get to the other end of one of my fields, and I loved every minute of it. It then took me 15 minutes to get it turned round, before speeding across the field in less than a minute again. Until I have the hang of it I will stick to following the tracks our neighbours are good enough to create for us.

I do feel I need to buy one for myself, now.
Today's headlines
Ibrahimovic makes United debut in front of Swedes
Ibrahimovic endured a terrible Euro 2016. Photo: TT

”Everybody has been waiting for this,” says Mr Modesty.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,390
jobs available