Adrian gets his first professional haircut, at the barbershop on the corner of Spånga Torg.

– Are you not tired?
– Yes, I’m tired… but I want to read!

I’m happy with the whole Idre experience, despite the Arctic temperatures – except for the food. All the restaurants here seem to be stuck in the 1990s when it comes to catering for vegetarians. In the rest of the Western world, veganism is growing and even meat-eaters plan meat-free days. And here I have to eat the same boring halloumi burger every day. Not only that – it’s the same halloumi burger that I had to eat daily two years ago.

Today we lunched at the restaurant at the very top of the mountain, and they at least had a good fish soup. On the other hand, the kids’ buffet did not include a single vegetable, not even a lonely piece of cucumber or grated carrots.

This time at least we’re staying in a self-catering hut so I can cook proper food for dinner, with plenty of vegetables and generous servings to everyone. (On Tuesday, when I was exhausted by the cold and didn’t have the energy to cook, we had dinner at the hotel. The portions were so small that Adrian and I had to top up with another dinner when we got back.)

I am slightly weather-obsessed this week. Every day starts with a look at the thermometer outside the kitchen window in the hut we’re staying in. (Below –20°C again this morning.) I’m not the only one; there’s information about temperature and wind speed (and a colour-coded wind chill chart) displayed at each lift station.

Early this morning, several chair lifts were closed due to the low temperatures. I was curious if this was for a technical reason, or if it was unsafe, but it turned out to be a safety precaution: in the very unlikely event that the lift stopped and couldn’t be restarted, the staff wouldn’t be able to get everybody down in time to avoid the risk of hypothermia.

But again the afternoon brought sunshine and warmer temperatures and the –15 felt positively balmy.

Snowboarding seems to be harder on the body than skiing. While Adrian and I are getting more comfortable each day, Ingrid and Eric are more and more tired and sore. Eric took the day off and went walking instead to let his back muscles rest.

Ingrid as a beginner snowboarder needs gentle, wide slopes and plenty of time. Adrian as an adventurous skier wants forest routes, bumps and ski cross. It was rather hard to balance these two today.

Did I say it was cold yesterday? I take it back. Yesterday wasn’t cold. Today is cold.

Temperatures in the Arctic are 20°C above normal, and all the cold air that should be there has ended up down in Europe instead. Plus it’s windy. There were signs posted at the lift stations to cover all exposed body parts and check each others’ noses and cheeks for frostbite.

We took the lift up to the top of the mountain just once today, and those 10 minutes were enough to convince me to not do it again. Normally when I’m out in the cold, I feel it gradually. Now I went straight from slightly cold to stiff, numb and painful, like my fingers were going to fall off. When we came back down we went straight to a warm shelter. Having thawed, we made a firm decision to stay down in the vales for the rest of the day, away from the biting cold wind.

The cold is energy-sapping, exhausting. I didn’t notice it so much during the day, but when we got back to our hut, I just collapsed into the sofa.

The photo – of the family walking off the slope to take the last lift back “home” – is from yesterday. I took no photos today; there’s no way I’m taking off my mittens long enough to take photos in this weather.


We got here quite late yesterday, but still just in time to pick up our skis and boots etc. So this morning we were out skiing/snowboarding straight away: getting used to the feeling of standing on skis again, exploring the area etc. It was tiring for both body and mind, but some hot chocolate got the energy levels back up again.

Ingrid and I were in Idre two years ago, and we liked it so much back then that Idre was our top pick for a skiing vacation. We had aimed for Idre last year as well, but the place is so popular that they were fully booked for the winter break week already three months in advance. This year I booked ridiculously early (August, half a year in advance) to make sure we didn’t end up in the same situation again.

None of us are expert skiers and we prefer easy cruising to challenging skiing, so we like ski resorts with a nice wide selection of green and blue runs. Idre has that, plus a bunch of fun stuff for the kids: a kids’ run through the forest with tunnels and bridges, a ski cross run, etc etc.

On their way home from school.

It makes me happy to see the kids get along with each other. Adrian is now old enough that they can laugh at the same things, enjoy the same games and have fun together more than ever before. I never had that with my brother – from what I remember of growing up together with him, he was spoiled and mean as a child. Which may or may not have been reality, but the result is that I never had a good relationship with him.

I have a new camera! It has lots of knobs and wheels and buttons, and it takes photos. Now starts the process of getting familiar with it, which means taking lots of photos.

Gravity seems particularly strong today, and the kids particularly floppy.

His hair is growing really, really wild. He says he likes it long like this. Somehow it never gets tangled, even it rarely sees a comb.

He also really likes hoodies. All other clothes he wears out of necessity, but when it comes to hoodies he has definite favourites. When all the best ones are in the dirty laundry hamper, he just cannot be without them and asks us to wash his clothes.

He is following in Ingrid’s footsteps, playing Minecraft and Overwatch and occasionally reading Kalle Anka (although he likes Bamse better). We’ve played Minecraft together a few times on the PS3 and he navigates the interface like a pro. The part he likes best is building and furnishing our house, and hunting animals for meat and wool etc.

He also likes to order me around in the game and tell me what to do. I guess he’s used to children’s way of sounding totally overconfident about everything and when I don’t talk that way, he thinks I need help and direction with everything. Which is rather annoying.

Current bedtime stories: The brothers Lionheart and The comet is coming.
Current favourite snack: rice cakes with pizza flavour.
Currently learning at school: the finer points of writing. Lowercase and uppercase letter shapes, and getting them correctly positioned, and not mixing one with the other.