-40° Celsius

It is crispy out there. The Finnish news agencies are making headlines of the temperatures dropping to -40 degrees Celsius. Have you ever thought of what that cold looks like?

That’s how it looks like 1:15 am in the beginning of January 2010 up at the Finnish arctic fjells over at 70 degrees northern latitude. -40 degrees Celsius, full moon and aurora borealis.

I had been skiing for a while facing south towards the full moon. I had my camera gear and a basic survival set for a polar night fjell trip with me. I was searching for animal tracks or anything else interesting to shoot against the moon. I actually stumbled upon the rock that can be seen at the bottom of this post. Like many times the real interesting stuff does not happen where you are focused at.

Just casually I turned my head to look behind me and WOW, there they were: the aurora borealis falling from the deep blue skies. You haven’t seen it all before you stand alone in the wilderness at a fjell top looking for bright dancing light show above the treeless arctic fjells. That’s Samiland at its finest.

About the conditions. The inuits have a quite perfect old saying loosely translated into something like this: “If you sweat you die.”. Yes I must agree although skiing is rather easy at such conditions: there’s lots of fresh air to suck in once you get out of breath 😉 And after all it’s not really about the temperature. At the Arctic it is all about the wind. I guarantee you that -40 degrees and some 5+ m/s wind freezes the snot inside your nostrils although that is only a problem at the nostril that is facing the wind.

In the end at such temperatures the snow turns slowly into sandpaper but would you be in hurry under such lights? Enjoy…Antti.