Red and blue skirts brush the snow when the queue of women ski through the woods. Wooden skis, bamboo poles, wool skirts. Almost like in the 1800s. But it’s 2022 and I’m wearing my mother’s national dress over my thermal leggings and women in front of me are wearing their colourful dresses. New snow covers the forest and forces the spruces to bend as we ski silently.
This didn’t happen.
Nature and cars were against me.
This is what happened
I make a last-minute decision to join the National Dress Skiing event in Nuuksio National Park. Silly and odd, but wouldn’t it be fun? Yes, I’ll go.
We have received heaps of snow during the night and a steady 20cm of snow blankets the car and the yard around it. The car can’t get out of the yard until my mum and I have cleared the snow.
I’m already late, but I might still catch the group. I drive in between snow piles that rise high next to the road. When I turn off the main road, my journey stalls. The crossing hasn’t been cleared and I can’t see where the road goes. The car dives into the deep snow. I accelerate, nothing. I reverse, nothing. I get out of my car to take a look. It’s belly deep in snow.
The 30-minute ditch
Of course I have a shovel at the back of the car. I start digging around the beached BMW. I try to reverse and drive again. Still nothing. Freaking rear-drive.
I take off my skirt and continue digging. Then another car approaches and stops in front of me. Two figures get out, both carry shovels. I’m blocking the road so they can’t get to the main road. Sorry. They offer to give me a push, but it does absolutely nothing, so we start shovelling together to get the whole width of the road cleared.
Another car stops behind me. The driver is going in the same direction as I. He comes to help as well. Yet another car stops.
Finally, after 30 minutes of shovelling and 4 people pushing the car, I get out of the ditch.
Back out before it’s too late
I’ve missed the national dress skiers for sure, but maybe I could just go skiing on my own. I might as well just keep driving down the road.
The layer of new snow makes the road soft, and at every uphill, I fear that I’ll get stuck again. Come on, you can do it car. But, wait a second. If no one has cleared this road, and I’m supposed to turn onto an even smaller road and then park on the side of the road, I’m doomed to get stuck again. And there won’t be helping hands pushing my car in the woods.
I’ll better turn around. No worries, here is fine, I’ll just drive up there and reverse back to the road… Oh no, there is a car behind me. I get off the car and shout at the driver that I’m turning. He leaves enough space for me, and I reverse back to the road. I feel the car sink again as I smile and wave at the other driver who drives past me. This time I managed to get only one wheel stuck. Well, I know where the shovel is.
Why did I even leave the house?
When I get home, I’m reasonably tired. This was the first time I attempted any kind of exercise after catching covid. But I wanted to ski! I put my national dress back on and hop over to the ditch on the field next to my house. I sink knee-deep, but I put on my skis. Damn it, I’m doing it.