Back in Sälen - Feeling hot at -5°C

Posted by ~Summer~ on January 04, 2012

We had such an unique experience in Sälen last year that we decided to visit it again.

This time round, we brought along jw's parents, brother, sis-in-law, niece and nephew. So, you could say it was a warm and merry family gathering despite the chilly winds and knee high snow.

Yes, there was snow in Sälen! Lots and lots of it. Thick, fluffy, pure white snow. Thank goodness for that because the kids badly wanted to see snow and had it not been for this skiing trip, they might jolly well not have the chance to witness, and taste snow, back in our snow-less Karlskrona.

I was all geared up to battle the cold in the -20°C weather, after some frosty encounters we had last year especially when we took the dog sleigh ride. To my surprise, it was only -5°C this year in Sälen and not only did this make the cold easier to bear, it even made me feel quite warm. Honestly, I mean warm as in hot. I used to feel cold even in air-conditioned places like shopping malls back in Singapore, just look at what three winters in Sweden have done to me.

Anyway, in order to be safe than sorry, I still wrapped Angel up in layers and layers of clothing though frankly speaking, she can withstand the cold much better than me since she was a winter born baby. There, she was finally all set to go and check this out, she even had her own ski boots this time round!

Some things that you should always equip yourself with if you wanna frolic in the snow:
1) Long johns (choose a material that can transport moisture away from the skin, like wool instead of cotton)
2) Fleece clothing (for second/third layer to reinforce heat insulation)
3) Warm down jacket (choose one that can withstand subzero temperatures but yet lightweight so you don't walk like a penguin)
4) Warm boots, insulated mittens, thick socks and hat (you can also consider neck warmers or scarves if you are really cryophobic)

We stayed in a 10-person cottage in Vintergatan. All of us gasped when jw told us that he had booked the second level by mistake, instead of the ground floor. #^$*@^@*&#^@ You know what that means? Well, we basically had to shift the whole van upstairs since we brought along four days of groceries, cooking supplies, skiing equipment, winter clothes, toys and even bedlinen. That probably added up to over 100kg of goodies. Plus, this also meant we had to carry the kids up and down the narrow steps, and we ourselves had to struggle to climb up in the tight, heavy, hard-to-walk-in ski boots every single time. That definitely burnt some calories.   

The cottage was warm, simple and cosy. There were three bedrooms, a living room, a dining area, a kitchen and even a sauna. We brought along our Wii Fit set so we had a game area as well for the kids. Thanks much to my in-laws, we always had a sumptuous lunch and dinner every day. Guess what, we even had delicious homemade nyonya dumplings!

The first morning, we were all dressed and ready to go out! The kids were all excited, especially Yu Xuan and Yu Heng who were going to take up their first ever ski lesson. When we told the 4-year-old Yu Heng that he was going to class and should listen to the teacher, he was like "Huh, still must do writing and spelling before we ski?" which was really hilarious. 

See, don't they just look like little professional skiers? Kids can really learn new things swiftly and somehow they usually become more adept than adults. I guess it is because they have no fear in their hearts and so they dare to go all out. For us, the older you get, the more scared you become. You become scared of falling, scared of crashing into a tree, scared of getting bruises all over, and scared of getting ridiculed when you fall. The thing is, we only live once and these opportunities don't always come, so we should be bold enough to take that first step and be confident enough to know that we can do it.

As for my girl, the good news was she had her own set of skis and boots for free. The not-so-good news was she loved the boots but not the skis. The only time we managed to talk her into putting on the skis, she enjoyed cruising along the snow for the first few seconds before she realised that she was not in control of her legs, couldn't brake and so started bawling. Ok, kudos that at least you tried, my darling.

So, we decided to go snow sledging instead. The slope was so steep and while that symbolised a thrilling, fast ride down, it also meant an arduous, tiring climb up. To give you a better illustration, I took 10 minutes to climb up and barely 30 seconds to slide down. On my way up, I panted somewhat heavily and it felt like I was sinking into the soft, powdery snow that felt like quicksand. Sigh, what happened to the sportsman in me?

Still, the exhaustion was worth it because Angel couldn't stop laughing whenever we sat in the sledge together and slid down the slope. She would even say "Again, again" or "Faster, faster"! Only cos' you said so, baby. So, I went home that day with aching calves, aching arms and an aching back, but with a big smile on my face and on hers.

On the second day, the kids wanted to build a snowman and this was what they achieved. We thought his head might be cold so grandpa made him a pomelo hat. He really looked like a happy, smiling snowman, didn't he?

Here in Sälen, the sky gets dark at 4pm and the slopes close at 3.30pm. So we were pretty much left to entertain ourselves in the evening.

We went bowling and even though it was horrendously, shockingly and somewhat grossly expensive to play for one hour, we decided to go for it just to bring some smiles to everyone, especially the kids. What? How much did we spend? Hmm, it cost over S$70 per lane per hour, we took up 3 lanes, therefore yes, we spent over two hundred bucks. Crazy, I know.

The next morning, jw and I went for skiing together. On our own. Yeah, we couldn't last year since someone had to be with Angel, so this year we felt we had to at least do it once and enjoy some couple time.

Since I already graduated from the ski lessons last year, jw felt that I was ready to try a steeper slope. The red slope. Second killer slope after the black, which I learnt of only today.  Anyway, I wasn't sure if I could handle it but heck, I told myself to just try.

In a sense, I was glad I did because the view from the top of the hill was simply magnificent. A fairytale blanket of white snow against beautiful splashes of orange, pink and blue hues across the sky. Awesome.

My skiing coach cum knight in shining armour. Just what would I do without you?

See the pretty backdrop? I really loved every bit of that moment as I stood on the hill top, looking every bit like a professional skier.

I could even turn around and wave while skiing! Well, that was before everything spiralled downwards.

Soon after, I realised that the steep slope was really steep. I did try to make my way down and had a pretty bad fall. The first of it all. For a moment, my leg was bent backwards and I wondered if it was broken. Thank goodness I could still stand up after some help from jw.

Perseverance told me to try again. So I did.

I got off to a good start, let's just say it was too good for my own good. I started accelerating so much and no matter how hard I tried to brake, my skis had no intention of stopping and in an instant, I was racing down the slope and heading for the forest. Omg.

I hurled myself sideways just like how jw told me to if I was going to fall. It so happened that my knee fell straight onto the metal disc on the ski stick (ouch!), my skis came off as they should when a bad fall occurred, my body slammed against the ground and I felt a stinging pain on my face as I glided across the hard, icy snow. For a moment, all I wanted to do was cry because I was really scared.

It didn't matter that I saw a couple of kids who skied down effortlessly. I took off my skis and started walking down the slope, my hand on the shoulder of jw who also took off his skis to walk with me. So sorry dear, I was quite a bummer, wasn't I? Thanks for picking me up when I fell and letting me know that you were always there for me.

Well, it would probably take us at least half an hour to get down the slope on foot, so when we passed the curves and the slope seemed a little gentler, I put on the skis and tried to make my way down again, with a little more success this time. Eventually, I made my way back to the cottage in one whole piece.

No pain, no gain, yeah? Given a choice, I would take that chair lift and still go up to that same slope and try my best to tackle it. With less falls and no walking, hopefully.

Remember the indoor swimming pool we went last year and had a ball of a time? Of course, we couldn't miss it out this time round. This year, Angel could play on her own and her favourite was the slide. She would climb up, slide into the shallow waters, swallow some water at the end, stand up and laugh, then repeat the cycle all over again. 10 times. 20 times. 30 times. It's amazing how kids don't get tired of doing the same old thing.

We also let her try the long, spiralling tube where you would sit in a float, spin around and slide down for a couple of minutes. Not exaggerating. That was not particularly her favourite because it made her see stars and gulp water, but at least she tried, even though she was way below the minimum height requirement. Oops. Even my daring mum-in-law tried too though she shrieked from beginning to end. 

On the last day, we tried to make our first ever snow angels.

The first step is to find big area of nice, soft snow. Next, lay down spread-eagled in the centre of the snow and sweep your limbs back and forth, creating a trough in the snow. You have just created an angel! The movement of the arms have formed wings, and that of the legs have formed a gown.

Even though Angel did not wave her limbs like we told her to, not surprising since it was freezing cold to lay like that, to me, she was still the most perfect Snow Angel.

Oh, I have to pen this down before I forget. I did a spectacular stunt on this trip. On my last day of skiing, after an unexpected fall on the slope, I was able to get back to a squatting position but to my dismay, realised that I was unable to stand up upright. Yeah, I tried and tried but for some reason, I remained crouched. At that moment, my skis started to lurch forward, down and even beyond the slope!

I was in horror but thank goodness, I remained in the hideous looking position till the skis came to a natural stop. My niece went "Wow, 婶婶很厉害, 这样也可以! (Aunt is so good, she can do even that!)". Only jw knew the truth (my hubby knows me best) and well, he almost laughed his head off.

All in all, it had been a fabulous getaway for our family in Sälen. We had fun playing in the snow, we enjoyed swimming and bowling, we loved skiing and most importantly, we had a blissful time together as nothing more than just a happy family.


  1. @Eddie Yii
    Haha yes Eddie, I get the luxury of eating a honey pomelo here. They get imported from China. Delicious!

  2. Wow! I love the view from that steep slope you went with wee the 2nd morning! I would never be as brave as you to go up that scary slope and watch the beautiful skyline..

    Too bad we did not take any pic on the heavenly one-in-a-lifetime experience of head in sub-zero and body in 40deg C swimming pool!

  3. Lovely pics and write up!!! Miss u all greatly....
    Luv, Joanne

  4. @kidsrsimple
    Dear sis-in-law, yes yes the view was great so I concluded all the falls were worth it. Haha. And yes, we didn't take pictures the previous year too in that awesome pool, but at least we've been there done that! Very shiok right!

  5. Hey Jo, thanks for reading! Yeah no worries, we will be back very very soon! Catch up soon babe!


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