Fear in Writing: Write Around the World: Cold As Heaven on Winterland

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Monday, October 25, 2010

Write Around the World: Cold As Heaven on Winterland

For our final stop on the Write Around the World tour, we go to a place of fantasy, of beauty, of history.  Cold As Heaven is a "scientist, skier, and drummer," futball lover, and father.  For a glimpse into his personality, see his lists of "cool places on the web" in the righthand column of his blog.  One after the other: 'Church of Satan,' 'The Vatican,' 'Muhammed Cartoons,' and 'The Hitchhiker's Guide.'  Talk about crazy juxtaposition!  What does he write? Here's his prize-winning entry to my Happy Birthday Blogfest, and I'm guessing the rest is dark and probably bilingual.  As to where he writes, I'll let Cold explain...

I was born in a pile of snow, and grew up in a pile of snow. Well, that’s an exaggeration, I admit. We have summers here too, very light and sometimes warm summers. Fair to say, I have only lived half of my life in the snow. And believe me; I really enjoy it.

Some 15.000 years ago the Scandinavian Peninsula was covered by a 3000m (10.000 feet) thick ice cap, similar to Greenland today. The heavy load of the ice depressed the land masses below. When the ice disappeared, the land started to rise. We still experience a rebound from the ice that melted. The land is still rising, slowly but steadily, a few centimeters per year. We can find ancient shorelines in our local ski resort, 160m (500 feet) above present-day sea level.

When the ice pulled back, the people moved in. They needed something to do in the snow, so they invented skiing. Skis have been used in Scandinavia for a long time; 4000 year old rock carvings found in Finnmark, show the use of skis. Historically, skis were used for general transportation and for hunting and warfare. We have a long record of ski heroes: Now they bring gold medals back from the Olympics and the World Championships. In Medieval times they rescued a king.

In the 12th century there was a civil war going on around here; a conflict between king and church, and about succession to the throne. The main groups involved were called the Baglers and the Birkebeiners, the latter supporting the king. When the king died, the only successor to the throne was a one year old boy. He was of course a target for the enemies of the king. The winter of year 1206, Birkebeiner skiers carried the little boy across high mountains and deep forests, in blizzards and cold, to safety in Nidaros (painting by Knud Bergslien, 1869). The little boy grew up to become the legendary king Haakon Haakonson. In memory of this historic event, the Birkebeiner Race is held annually. Today, the best (professional) skiers, with modern equipment, cross the mountains in less than three hours

I got my first pair of skis when I was three years old. That’s quite normal in Winterland. When I was a kid, I often skied to school in the winter, on cross-country skis. I wanted to do alpine racing, but unfortunately, it was too expensive for my family to afford the equipment and the lift tickets. When I got my first pair of alpine skis in the teens (when family economy improved), I was too old to become a good racer,

When my older boy was six yo, I brought him to alpine racing practise (as you could probably guess). He was competing in slalom, giant slalom and downhill racing and was fairly good. At age 13, he wanted to switch to freestyle skiing, and I approved it right away. I had chosen alpine racing for him. He had chosen freestyle himself. There’s nothing better than the motivation that comes from inside. My little boy is still into alpine racing. He will get the same freedom to choose when he gets older.

My boys are passionate skiers. For them it’s the meaning of life. Freestyle skiing is in fact the fastest growing kids’ sport in our country. The kids all want to become the ski heroes of the new generation, and some of them are quite good. I’m happy to be a ski dad, spending the winters on the slopes with the kids. We even go skiing in the summer, on the glaciers in the mountains, the last remnants of the ice age.

You see why I enjoy living in Winterland?

Finally, I want to thank Michele for inviting and hosting me. This is in fact my first time guest-blogging, and it was great fun.

Thank you so much!  I am not only suddenly dissatisfied with where I live, I am also very definitely taking my protagonist on a murder-solving trip in the future! 

This is the last of the Write Around the World posts...Wrap-up tomorrow.


  1. Wow, that's cool. Cold, in fact. The photo is beautiful and looks cold. I grew up in Canada where there is lots of snow and skiing. Sadly, I never became good at it.
    Great post.

  2. Michele - Thanks for hosting Cold as Heaven.

    Cold as Heaven - There is a lot to be said for the northern climates. I wish I'd learned to ski, but I never did. I'm sure it's easier than it looks, but I just can't imagine negotiating snow on skis myself...

  3. Clarissa- I have loved the few times I've been somewhere truly cold--like Colorado or Michigan. But I have yet to travel to a county known for its mountains or iciness. It's on my list!

    Margot- It's a really fun and energizing sport. I have never (and will never) do it competitively, but I love the thrill of speeding down a mountain, with nothing but frozen water to help you glide. Amazing.

  4. Thanks for a glimpse into your world! Never had an opportunity to ski, but I'd love to try.

  5. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing, Cold. It's amazing how "a lot" of snow and cold is relative. Your area tops the charts in those categories! I grew up in a ski town and it still has nothing on your area. :o) Now I'm ready for a trip to go glacier climbing!

    Thanks for hosting, Michele.


  6. Beautiful photo! I grew up in the snow too, so I can totally relate to this post!

  7. I had no idea skiing had been around for so long and had such a fascinating history. The photo of the snowy landscape stretching out towards the sea is stunning. Thanks for the great post!

  8. Michelle-thank you for hosting! I follow CaH but hadn't gotten quite so much history from him before!

    CaH--you almost make all that cold sound FUN! I love the story of the baby king!

  9. oh, I can't even describe how much I love Scandinavians and Nordic people!

  10. Enjoyed the post and the photos. I'm cold natured so this makes me appreciate the warm weather we're still having in October.

    Michele, I've enjoyed your series. It was fun learning about different parts of the world from authors.

    Thoughts in Progress

  11. I think it's wonderful that your boys love to ski. I never saw skis until I was married. My husband could ski and both my kids can, but I am totally bunny slope. My son doesn't ski anymore or board. His feet are too big for ski boots and when he tries to snow board he keeps crashing because he can't make turns now since his toes hang over in front and the heels in the back.

  12. CoH, excellent first time guest blogging. You're a natural. This was a very interesting post. I red it twice. Growing up in Michigan I can appreciate the snow. And I love to ski.Is your kid skiing down a fjord?

    Oh, and you misspelled futball. Just kidding. That's an American joke. Thanks again for a very interesting post.

  13. Just came back home from my 3-day football (soccer) tout in England. My lap top ran out of battery so I couldn't read the comments before now. I'm grateful for all the nice comments, and thanks a lot to Michele for hosting me >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  14. That photo is absolutely stunning! Even I would be tempted to have a go down that hill (and I'm something of an oddity, considering that I'm a Norwegian born without skis on my feet...)

    Great post, and great initiative, Michelle. I'm going to read the other around the world posts now :)

  15. Sitting in sweltering African heat it definitely looks like heaven to me! Loved the historical facts as well. Fascinating country; no wonder you're passionate about it. but you won't get me on skies again...my legs go in opposite directions. The only good thing about that experience was that the skiing instuctor I rode into was gorgeous!