Winter wonderland

Arrived back in Finland, to a beautiful winter’s day! From one extreme to the other, from over 30°C in Brazzaville to -20°C in Helsinki. I love wintertime when it’s cold and dry with lots of snow, less so when it’s around zero and humid. This winter we seem to be getting a mix of the two, we had a long spell of beautiful cold weather and lots of snow when we got back, but now the weather has turned, we have temperatures around zero and the snow is melting fast.

Immediately after we got back I took my daughter out ice skating a few times before they were due to go skating during PE lesson at school. I figured it may be better for her to first try her balance on the skates during the weekend at our local ice skating rink rather than at school with her entire class watching … Having grown up in the tropics she hasn’t exactly spent her childhood winters refining her ice skating skills like many of her current class mates have 😉

She wasn’t bad in fact, at all, I was quite impressed. Maybe her wave boarding skills helped her as well as the few times she’s stood on skates before (the first time she was 2 yrs old, the second around 9 and the third maybe 11). But there was room for improvement, of course, so I tried to give her a few hints on how to skate. Not easy teaching someone else, I noticed, even explaining basics such as how to keep your balance, speed up, slow down, stop. It seems to be one of these things you do on auto-pilot, once you’ve learnt it as a young kid, you don’t think about how you do it, you just do it, like bicycling.

But after a couple of times out skating, I suddenly figured out the trick so to speak. I skated alongside her, watching her feet, watching mine, thinking hard about what we did differently and there it was, suddenly so clear: for each stride she took she was in a haste to put her foot back down on the ice, while I just left my foot behind in the air until the moment I wanted to push off the ice for more speed again. So I told her to minimise the time she keeps both feet on the ice at the same time, and maximise the time only one foot touches the ice. And there we had it, it was like magic! Suddenly she was gracefully skating along, taking long strides, looking so much more stable, yet skating so much faster. And she asked me why I hadn’t told her that in the first place!

The joys of winter and of being able to teach your teenager something new!

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Well, all the time wasn’t spent practising ice skating, as the horse that was watching us skate obviously was too beautiful a creature to not go and play with… 😉

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