...is important. Keep coaching him as Finland (and Sweden) will need all new XC skiers they can get hold of. Tour de Ski is too much in Norways favour right now.
Snow situation here is about the same. We have a few very short tracks, but I haven´t gone out skiing here yet. Still waiting for the real snow.
This snow situation is quite normal here. I mean, we rarely got natural snow early and enough for good, so usually ski season is about having cold and long enough days to get the 3 km man made snow loop done. And that's what we ski whole winter except those days we get some natural snow for some days. We are 20m above sea level and also less than 10km from (ice free) sea. So every Christmas we wait with out snow guns for winds to turn to bring cold enough air from the east.
On rare occasions (don´t remember how long ago was the last time) we have had snow in November that stays the whole winter. First snow usually comes in mid-October but that also goes away quite fast.
This year we had our very first snowfall after Christmas (global warming anyone?) but still not enough for skiing without snow guns. The situation is worse than usual since not even the "safe" ski areas where we´ve been able to ski in bad tracks but still on snow have anything else than bare ground.
It´s quite normal though that the first local skiing on natural snow can´t be done before Christmas break - at least that has been more common the last 5-10 years.