First snow attracts people take out their cross-country skis
Umbrellas, gloves, and woollen caps all sold well during yesterday’s snowfall that later turned to sleet and slush
After yesterday’s snowfall, Helsinki resident Toni Niiranen, who skis around a thousand kilometres per year, just had to put on his ski boots and head out to the nearby cross-country ski track.
This winter’s first snow attracted a few other skiing enthusiasts to the track in Helsinki’s Paloheinä district on Thursday.
Unto Elo described the track’s condition as “reasonable”, even though in the uphill sections in places the ground was still shining through the snow.
The temperature, which crept above freezing in the afternoon, gradually turned the snow into mush, and many of those out and about escaped the slush into department stores.
“It has been busy. The demand for weather-proof footwear, such as these Gore-Tex items, has been high”, explains store manager Birgitta Fjäder from the Sokos department store in downtown Helsinki.
“Umbrellas always sell well when the weather is like this. Other popular items include woollen caps and gloves. All sorts of additional accessories have been flying off the shelves.”
Fjäder predicts that thanks to the snow, slush, and sleet Thursday’s sales figures will have improved by tens of per cent.
Also at Helsinki’s flagship department store Stockmann, the gloomy weather has increased the number of customers.
“Traditionally bad weather causes people to withdraw indoors and the demand for certain products goes up. When the winter draws near people not unnaturally start buying warmer clothes”, says department store director Tuija Vänttinen.
The snow has not really affected the work of the police.
“In the morning, there was a slight peak in the number of minor collisions, but the total number still remained in single digits, so it was nothing major. With the first snow there are always a couple of fender-benders”, explains superintendent Heikki Kallio from the Helsinki Police. Finns may be used to winter conditions, but for some reason they come as a surprise every single year.
The Rescue Service also had a fairly normal day.
”The units have moved normally. There have been some falls on icy sidewalks”, says fire-chief-on-duty Jani Pitkänen from the Helsinki Rescue Department.
If the forecasts are to be trusted, the ground will remain white at least for a week in the capital area.
“According to the ten-day probability forecast, the daytime temperatures in Helsinki will remain below freezing”, says meteorologist Leila Hieta from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
In the capital area the thickness of the snow cover peaked at around 15 cm or six inches, but the sleet soon started to press it down.
According to Hieta, the first snow made its appearance at the normal time, in mid-November.
“I cannot say if this is permanent snow yet. The winter’s longest period of continuous snow usually comes at the end of December."
Previously in HS International Edition:
Morning snowfall renders driving conditions hazardous in Southern Finland (18.11.2010)
Cross-country skiing frenzy grips Southern Finland (12.1.2010)
Finnish Meteorological Institute