Emma Elwin

Notes from a Swedish stylist

Sony challenges Emma Elwin to complete a series of extreme activities. During the challenges, Emma tests Sony’s products too see if they endure the rough conditions. Do the products stand the test – and, does Emma?

From spring 2015, Sony challenges Emma Elwin to complete a series of extreme activities. During the challenges, Emma tests Sony’s products too see if they endure the rough conditions. Do the products stand the test – and, does Emma?

Season one takes place far up north – Fjällräven Polar 2015 is a 300 km long winter adventure across the arctic thundra. Emma and the other participants sleep under the moon and steer a dog sled each from Signaldalen in Norway to Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lappland. Conditions are grim (a storm is coming!) and the right equipment is essential.

Season 01, episode 05: Making fire

I wake up from what might have been the best night’s sleep ever. Stars, northern light and all that. I can’t wait to get ready and to get on the sled again. I get up before everybody else in my team and start with the daily chores again. Just as I’m mixing up the dog food I remember the fire challenge. I try to straighten my fingers but they are even stiffer than yesterday. Oh no.

I continue packing my sled and feel how my heart is racing when Andreas from Fjällräven tells us it’s time for the fire test. I bring the wood that I chopped and the bark that I gathered earlier. As we are standing there the others are making fun of me and my firewood that I’ve wrapped up in a white bag and that I am now holding like a baby.

Johan ”Macgyver” talks for a bit and surprises everybody by saying that we have 10 minutes to make the fire. At this point I am super happy that I’ve brought my fire wood. I put everything on the ground and I’m trying to copy not only the exact movements of Johan yesterday, but also his calm mindset as he was making the fire. Some how after 30 seconds I have a fire going and I really can’t believe it. I made it, I made fire on my own with a knife, a firestone and some bark. I’m so happy I feel like I could run all the way to the finish line, but thankfully I don’t have to.

When I’m packing up that last things into the sled I start to realize that soon this whole adventure will be over. But I’m not ready to leave all this, not yet. The last hours on the sled I can’t really think about anything else than parting with my dogs and how much I will miss them. We pass the finish line. Our team is first in goal, but still I can’t shake the feeling of sadness. I could be out for an other week doing this. Once we’ve parked the dog sleds I have a chance to say goodbye while the others are celebrating. Getting some alone time with them makes parting feeling a bit easier.

The finish line is located next to the cabins that we are goning to spend our last night. Here we have a sauna, a proper bed, a grand dinner and to finish the night: a band and dancing. But if I could choose, I’d rather spend the night sleeping out under the stars with the dogs again.

After a dinner with beautiful speeches and drinks in one of the tepees there is a band playing and everybody is dancing. I find myself seeking some calm and quiet and I’m pretty sure I’m the first one to leave the party, and as I walk up along the path that’s lined with cressets to the cabin, I look up at the stars, and the question in my head is: what have I just experienced? I really can’t put into words. Being this close to nature really shakes the soul, in a good way. Makes you think about how our destiny is tied together with nature; how taking care of her should come first and everything else second.

I go into the cabin and find that there is no electricity. There are candles on the table but no matches. I smile to myself, it’s like Johan has give me one last test. I find my knife in the dark and some toilet paper, and with a slow movement I press the knife towards the fire stone. A spark comes and sets the paper on fire. A tear roles down my cheek, followed by another. I made it and I made fire.

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