I put my skis on and disappear in to the woods and ridges. When I get back the sauna is hot and ready for me.
Pietism? No thanks.
Growing up, I was fortunate to have a father who is a skiing and sauna enthusiast.
I had to go cross country skiing with my parents every weekend during winter months.
Or at least that's what it felt like.
Like many Norwegians I abruptly stopped going with them when I became a teenager.
I even remember skipping school skiing-day to get drunk with my friend.
At least for the 14 year old me.
I was all black makeup, dark died hair, black clothes, heavy metal and Satan.
Healthy, nature experiences like skiing was at the bottom of my to-do list.
I remember my dad cried a little when I came back from the hairdresser with my new, cool black hair.
My mom was in on it though.
All grown up I now have my own sauna.
An indoor sauna with a electrical stone heating oven.
Sauna is highly addictive.
It heats me up to the core, get's my sweat running, my blood flowing and my heart beating.
When I can't stand the heat anymore I jump in the snow!
We Scandinavians have a proud sauna tradition going back to the Viking age.
The Scandinavian word "Lørdag" (Saturday) means Lauge dag - cleaning day - the day you clean your body.
Having a sauna was a good way to get clean and to kill of any lice or other bugs.
However, during the 1700s pietism hit the fan!
The religious (christian) focus shifted to a personal piety and focus on the individuals way of life and personal relationship to Jesus.
In Norway, this ment changes in the use of the sauna.
Men and women should no longer be nude in the same room.
The sauna was therefore used for drying grains, cleaning clothes etc.
This led to a drastic drop in sauna-use and probably also a drastic increase of disease and illness.
To my knowledge, Finns have had a unbroken sauna tradition since Viking age.
(All the Finns go: Woop Woop Fuck Pietism!)
In Finland, the use of a "vasta" or "vihta" ("Bjørkeris" in Norwegian) is still common.
Gentle slapping with the Vasta is like a nice skin peel.
I'm of to the woods again to morrow. This time with my son.
Hurray for nudity!
Also, as a last mention: If you are ever invited to a sauna, say yes!
All important decisions are made in a sauna.