It is darn cold outside. Storm. Better go inside to the Hesburger, because they have an indoor half-pipe. The world's only burger place with one! Also, as far as I know, the only full-size half-pipe indoors in the world! Or is that only half-size, ha!
The half-pipe is indeed great, and our timing is great because the Russian snowboarding team is on their lunch break, and we get to use the place all alone. The teams from all around the world travel here, Vuokatti, to practice when it is off season. But this place isn't just for off-season, it is open all year around, and the half-pipe takes such a precise form and is so perfectly iced that I suspect it is better than most outdoor ones. Go Finland!
Amazingly, all this fun is also free, if you have a lift ticket for the ski area. And, since I had left my skis a few hundred meters away, turns out that you can even get test equipment for loan, again for free. And, given that the half-pipe is practically made of ice, they don't mind if you ski it.
And it really is inside a burger place. You can sit in the tables and view the half-pipe from the back windows, showing the action at the frozen underground tube that hosts the half-pipe.
Anyway, the half-pipe was one episode in what was also otherwise interesting visit to Vuokatti. I happened to be hanging out in a bar with my friend Zach, and mentioned him that me and Tero had planned to find some place to go skiing the next day. We were thinking of the alps, but Zach convinced me that we'd want to head up north instead, and invited us to stay at his place.
Much appreciated, thank you Zach! And your wonderful family for hosting us, and skiing with us.
Vuokatti on the outside was quite similar to my previous visit here a couple of years ago. I love the colours in what is practically night skiing even during the dark day. It was early season, so only a few slopes were open, but you could already ski (carefully) in the forest as well. Snowmaking was blasting at full speed, and contributing to the feeling of snowstorm on the mountain.
In Sotkamo you can find the local shop, "KRP". KRP is the Finnish equivalent of the FBI, so I'm not really sure what they are selling.