Sunday, February 19, 2012

How much snow does Finland really have?

This blog is officially 1 year old! Which means, I've been in Finland for over a year now!

So the question is, how much snow does Finland really have? The first thing to know is that it can't really be measured. I live in Lappeenranta, which means it is colder and there is more snow here than in Helsinki, but still not as cold or as much snow as Lapland The first snow happened in 2011 in November, although it can happen as early as October or even earlier. The first few snows stay for a day or three and melt. This continues through December, snowing regularly, if not everyday, until the temperatures continue to drop and drop and then one day it snows and it doesn't go away. It stays and keeps building and building. The snow plows come out and make giant piles of snow. Walking paths are shoveled or simply created by being walked on over and over. Ski tracks are made and are so essential, they are never walked upon. And it continues to snow and piles just keep getting higher and higher. In February there is even a holiday (Laskiainen) where little kids slide down giant hills made by the snow plows (they do this every other day too, of course, now it's just official). Some days the snow covers the trees completely, some days the ice is so thick the trees sparkle. And the ground, when it has frozen and then thawed just a bit, glitters like diamonds. But now it is February and spring is in the air. Don't get me wrong, the snow will still be here in April, I promise. Now the winds come more and blow snow off trees and the sun is out just enough to melt a bit and the temperatures rise from -22C to -12C some days. So I wanted to share some photos before it, how much snow does Finland really have?

What was once a soccer field is now an ice skating rink. But first the snow had to be removed. 

Even the lakes are covered with snow 

Sometimes you have to cross knee-high snow in order to get where you want to go

Finnish Flag Day    

Here is a snow pile by the bus stop. These are everywhere.

The Saimaa is Finland's biggest lake.

Walking path to home, more snow piles and snow on houses

Cross-country skiing is as popular here as walking.

Skiing starts from very young

No playground here. Underneath that giant pile of snow somewhere is a sandbox...

...and don't even try to open the door to the balcony. The snow is so heavy, it even makes garlands. 

With all the snow, a nice Finnish mid-day meal is ideal...

Karelian pie with munavoi, raspberry juice box, coffee and smoked salmon and red onion sandwich. Nam.

T. Kati