Current Location: Åre, Sweden
On this, the second day of lessons, I've already created my mini-itinerary for sking for the rest of the week. Essentially I will be waking up early to catch the start of my lesson at 09:15 and then ski up until about 15:30 which is the time the bus arrives at Duved to take us back to the hotel.
With my sking lessons, today we spent our time practicing turning. I'm still getting used to positioning myself on the skis and turning has helped to familiarize myself with this stance since it reinforces the fact that I won't actually fall down if I lean too much in one direction. It seems like we're gearing up for eventually tackling a blue slope (which makes me both excited and nervous ... more so on the nervous though).
What brought me all the way up to Åre from Chicago? Why, I'm here because it's week 9 (the equivalent to spring break back in the States) and this is the time that many Swedes participate in snow sports. I would imagine that the phrase "snow sports" probably conjours up pictures of sking and snowboarding (I know that's what I think of) but my exploration of the hotel grounds revealed a lot of new activities I would have never even thought of.
I imagine that Åre must be a wonderful place to vacation in during the summertime what with the various beaches that have evergreen mountain backgrounds. I've also learned that many travel here for mountain biking, water sports, and zipline. But what I'm impressed with is how the lake can still be utilized even in the winter time as it freezes enough to not only allow people to walk and ski but also to allow for racing, snowmobile courses, and even wind sailing.
We're staying at a place called Holiday Club (http://www.holidayclub.se/en) and it really is a winter getaway with its vast log-cabin-like lobby complete with a fireplace to all the hotel amenities a guest would expect.
Åre itself is an amazing town. I've really only had the opportunity to explore the area immediately surrounding Holiday Club but it looks very charming and really fits what I would picture in my head as a European village (covered in snow) in both its modern architecture and centuries-old structures that bring present-day vacationers back to the past (the oldest building in the town is a 12th century stone church).
So far I'm having an amazing time up here in the Swedish mountains and while I would definitely jump at the opportunity to visit Åre during its summer glory, thre is no doubt in my mind that if I had the opportunity to return to Sweden for another week 9 adventure, Åre would definitely be one of the destations I would like to consider.