When the city makes the tracks it seems everyone comes out to ski. It's especially crowed on sunny winter days. I guess Finnish people find it strange to see a black woman cross-country skiing because other skiers always stare at me. Many times people even stop to talk to me and offer me skiing tips. It seems cross-country skiing is part of the Finnish fabric somewhere next to sauna. Children are taught to ski from an early age at school. I have seen first and second graders in groups, skiing down the tracks with their PE teachers. Cross-country skiing, or maastohiihto as it's called in Finnish, is not just a sport but a means of transport. My mother-in-law tells me stories of how she skied to school as a child. There was no school bus back in the days. When Trini grandparents talk of walking to school for miles, Finnish grandparents talk of skiing to school for miles. The Finnish history books even tell of Finnish soldiers silently sneaking up behind the enemy on skies during the winter war with Russia in 1939-1940.
Alas now it seems summer is here, and while I am enjoying the warmth and the sunlight, I can't help but miss cross country skiing.
Ski trails in my neighbourhood. Sorry for the poor picture quality but my phone camera is crap.