Snow, Ice and Winter Sports

In the beginning of winter people in Finland follow weather reports to know when they must change winter tires in their cars. You must have it done before it snows because streets are slippery and accidents happen easily, multiple collisions.

Everyone hopes to have snow by Christmas. It brings light to the gloomy days. On Christmas Eve Santa Claus comes from Lapland and brings presents to kids. It is a time for celebration. A bit before Christmas days start getting longer again. They are ‘longer by a roosters step’, as the expression goes.

Winter comes nowadays later in Finland than before. Now it may not start until in January. Before winters were cold and there was lots of snow. In the winter people used to cut big block of ice from the frozen lake and pile them up. They were covered with sawdust because there were no coolers. So this way the fresh milk, which had been milked by hand, stayed cold in churns until the dairy van came to collect them. The sawdust insulated the ice blocks so that they survived the whole summer.

In the winter people go ice swimming. They cut a big hole in the ice and go swimming preferably from sauna. They only wear slippers or socks in their feet and a woolly hat on their head. After swimming in the icy water they go back in the sauna.

In the winter Finns also traditionally go cross country skiing and kids slide in their sleds. Kids like to play in snow and also eat it. It is fun for them to catch snowflakes on their tongues. But they hate wearing big, thick winter clothes. Usually in February a beautiful white snow blanket covers the land and sun shines. People walk and ski on the frozen sea. Big icebreakers plough room for ships to sail. The temperature may be -25 degrees and in Lapland even -40 degrees. Towards the end of the winter people are already impatiently looking forward to spring and warmth.