I just got back to Canada after a relaxing Christmas in Sweden. Kajsa and I decided that since we were already over in Europe, why not visit some friends and some of her relatives in nearby Sweden? We caught up with our friend from Whistler, Emil, who now lives in the town of Arvika. He and his girlfriend were off visiting dozens of various relatives for Christmas eve and Christmas day, and so Kajsa and I had a quiet Christmas in Emil's cozy house.
Our stay in Sweden was very non-wintery. Europe has had a very bad snow year in general, and the area we were in was no exception. Emil was complaining about still having to mow his lawn. Luckily, an hour's drive away is the Torsby ski tunnel, a state of the art 1.3 km year-round refrigerated concrete tunnel located in the small village of Torsby.
Christmas in Sweden at Emil and Sanna's was about Julmust, Glögg, candy, cozy homes and good company.
As a skier, the weather in Sweden could have been better. Europe is experiencing its worst winter in years.
Kajsa and I made our Swedish hosts a Canadian Christmas dinner one night. We opted for roast chicken instead of turkey because Swedish turkeys are 7 times more expensive than their Canadian counterparts.
Emil, Kajsa and I took a trip to the Torsby ski tunnel to seek out snow in green Sweden. Skiing in a tunnel has been a dream of mine for some time, and it did not disappoint. Emil attended high school in Torsby. He seemed to know everybody in town. We trained with Emil's old school buddies for all of our sessions in the tunnel. Many of his friends still reside in the area and are very high level skiers. Emil mentioned that his high school has produced the most winter sport world champions and olympic champions of any high school in the world.
Emil and I in the 1.3 km Torsby Ski Tunnel.
I was surprised with the quality of training offered by the tunnel. I was surprised with how big the hills were. The old, dirty and slow snow also made for extra skiing resistance, a training challenge that I am familiar from growing up training on the sandpaper snow of Yellowknife. Each day in the tunnel was very productive. To have this year round and to have the option of mixing up summer training with on-snow practice made this tiny Swedish town pretty impressive. According to Emil, the training in Torsby is "absolutely perfect". I would tend to agree, except for the lack of snow so far this winter!
A new goal of mine is to race the Vasaloppet in the next few years. Here is Emil Svensson and his father standing in front of the map of the famed Vasaloppet. The three generations of Svenssons get together for ski training year round. They even roller ski together. On this particular session in the tunnel, Emil's father skied with us for over 3 hours.