The White Pearl of the Baltic Sea – Helsinki Deals with Snow


I spent my NYE in HKI, and the city had had a whole bunch of snow fall on it recently. Like any 600 000 inhabitant town (the capital region has a population of some 1,3 million), there’s a number of cars roaming the streets even if the powers-that-be seem to increasingly dislike the fact. Half of the street had the parking spots taken up by plowed-up snow, and parking on the other half is yet more expensive again.

As the tram service works reasonably well and there’s even a metro line, the matter of the fact is that you simply won’t need a car in central Helsinki – but if you arrive by car you’ll need to be able to put it somewhere. My parents still have two cars, and neither of those are currently anywhere near Helsinki. Me, I just shuffled mine the best way I could, to dodge paying an euro per hour for 12 hours just to keep the car put. Of course, there are parking permits for residents, but just a week or weekend every two-three months hasn’t made enough sense for me to get one for my parents’ flat’s vicinity.

But what about when the snow taking up the precious parking spots just has to go, before it has the good grace to melt by itself? Take a look at a couple of Helsinki shots from around the New Year.


The Corsa here had probably sat for a good two weeks, and while surrounding cars did their best to get out of the way of the Bobcats, Caterpillars and shovelmen clearing the streets, the Corsa just remained snowed in.

It’s not totally uncommon for 1) someone to break in while the car is under two feet of snow for weeks, or 2) a snowplow to punch off a mirror or two. Last winter, I think I even read about someone’s small car getting accidentally carted to a snow heap along with the removed street snow.


These two city cars belong to the Helsinki City Car Club, with the idea there’s a certain amount of small-to-midsize cars parked around town and as a member you can have a car at your disposal at your convenience, and can park to special reserved spots. Problems only arise when a car isn’t moved too often.



Not even BMW:s are considered too precious to stay put for awhile, let alone this good-looking E34 5-series.


I probably slipped on the ice taking a photo of this Mi16 405, and shook the photo. Sorry about that.


This Wrangler was shot where the FSO Pick-Up from a week ago was. Looks like it has no problem finding a spot. Me? I’d prefer a Dacia Duster of all things. And a Darwin badge wouldn’t be a bad thing either.



The other option is to get a six-speed manual Audi S8 on studded tires. This one used to belong to a friend of mine, and I happened upon it by coincidence.



This Bronco, on the other hand, had found a spot outside it liked and decided to stay there.


This Primera looked like an angry cat. The red-yellow line denotes the area where there can be snow falling or being dropped from the roof. Yeah, the city employs people to belt up and shovel snow and ice off the roofs, and they do their best to not drop any on people or cars. There’s always a spotter on the ground with a whistle in hand to warn possible sleepwalkers. Of course, it can be a problem when you’re not reachable to move your car; a dude I know was in London and had to pull numerous strings to have his Scirocco moved in good time.


No idea if this was snow-related, but it’s dedicated to that one longrooffan who does great duct tape write-ups.

What happened in the end? Well, by NYE the frozen weather turned itself around and it just plain rained on us. Shooting rockets in the drizzle, trying to keep upright on the watery ice while champagneated is another challenge in itself.

[Photos: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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14 responses to “The White Pearl of the Baltic Sea – Helsinki Deals with Snow”

  1. dculberson Avatar

    6-speed manual s8! I'm in love. Now if only I had a free mechanic to take one to …

    1. TurboBrick Avatar

      …you'd still be eating nothing but oatmeal after paying for the parts.

      1. dculberson Avatar

        I dunno, I bet I would still have money for ramen noodles, too. So, we have covered BOTH food groups: breakfast and salt!

  2. jeepjeff Avatar

    That Jeep is fine. I'm sure he can just pull right out of that spot. I know I've dug mine into worse spots.

    1. julkinen Avatar

      Sure. I reversed the E34 into a similar spot, thought "This was a mistake" and got out promptly.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Probably the better part of valor, but 4wd really helps. I parked on a snow bank after a storm (this is in the Sierra Nevada when I was working at a resort), and felt my tires sink in a bit. I didn't have time find another spot, so I went with it. When I got off of work and went back, the guy with the full size pickup truck next to me was dug in up to his axle and couldn't get out. To the other side of me was an AWD Chrysler T&C with open diffs spinning two tires in the snow.
        I spent the next hour or so helping to dig people out on that row and get them out. When I finally got in my Jeep, I turned it on, put it in reverse, fed the clutch out and drove away. No drama at all. With chains on the front tires, it will pull out of spots with snow up to the bumper.
        That said, I wouldn't want to park the Civic in any of those spots. Driving an E34 in that takes guts.

        1. julkinen Avatar

          It also takes a trunk full of IKEA furniture ballast. 🙂
          I'd choose the Dacia for Helsinki wintertime use, as it's disposable enough to throw around, but sturdy enough to withstand that. A Jeep is more of a covetable item here than a Romanian Renault pseudo-SUV.

  3. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    You wait 'til I upload the photos of the drizzle we've been having lately. Serious drizzle, man. Our cars are damp to the max.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Is there any other kind of drizzle in England? Maybe dour, I suppose…or is that a Scottish thing?

  4. Alff Avatar

    Such a cruel fate that limits that Bronco to less than 50 MPH.

    1. TurboBrick Avatar

      It was either that or you could pay the 100% import duty back in the day.

      1. Alff Avatar

        On a pickup, I can see it. On an overly large people mover, not so much.

  5. Preludacris Avatar

    Half inch of slush here, just on the other side of the border. Things are getting crazy. I had to scrape my windows this morning!

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      If we had slush it would be all over the news, replete with images of abandoned cars, and buses sliding down hills. Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry