Helsinki’s midnight skier

On a weekend in March, when I had dropped off a customer in Helsinki, I turned back to go to Westend, Espoo. About 400 meters before turning on the highway, in the city center, near the Kamppi shopping center, someone with skis was waving to me!

I stopped the car. We put his gear between the two seats so that one tip of the skis was touching the ceiling above the rear seat and the other was practically touching the buttons on the radio. I was lucky to have a car with automatic transmission, otherwise it would have been complicated to change gears.

Dude was a bit drunk too – it’s the weekend, what are you going to expect. I asked him, “Did you go skiing in this time of night?!” He pointed to the right, out on the bay, as we had turned on to the highway and said: “Yeah, on that bay. There’s a good track there.” I asked more: “How many kilometers did you ski?” “Well about 10,” the local skier answered. That ended our conversation.

When we arrived in Haukilahti, southern Espoo, where he wanted to go through Niittykumppu, McDonald’s, he started to tell me on the highway that he wanted to get out. I asked, “Right here, in the middle of the highway?” “Well yeah, wherever you can stop.”

“Wait, I thought you wanted to go to a McDonald’s first?”

“No, I would like to stop right now,” the dude answered.

Well what do you know? In the middle of a 4-5 lane highway, in the middle of the night, the guy wants to exit.

I turned off the highway towards Nittykumppu district. I told the guy: “I could stop right here, there’s an intersection right here,” as I was slowing down. I asked again just in case: “Is this spot okay?” “Umm, no-no, keep driving,” the Ski King thought. I asked to specify: “Where to, towards the McDonald’s?” “Well yeah, just keep driving, I’ll tell you when to stop,” the guy said in a groaning tone. It looked like the warm air had gotten to him, adding to the alcohol.

In about a minute we arrived at the McDonald’s. The guy suddenly announced: “Stop the car now!” So I did. The skier paid the bill, took his gear and we parted our ways. I guess he had a specific budget for the taxi, which he held on to like the German minister of finance does with Germany’s budget.

  • Kamppi – a complex in the city center of Helsinki. It contains a bus station, metro station and many places for shopping. It took 4.5 years to build and it is visited by 700,000 people every week.
  • Niittykumppu – a district of Suur-Tapiola, in the part of southeast part of Espoo. It is located about 11km west of Helsinki.

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