Inghams winter experiences tour to Lapland – Part 2

The Main Course

There is so much to do around Levi. No-one will EVER be bored.

Levi, Finland A few minutes’ walk from the hotel took us to the ski centre where beginners like me can take to the nursery slopes, or the more experienced can take the ski lifts and gondolas further up the fell. The instructors are all experienced, friendly and patient. I took to the nursery slopes for a refresher and my encounter with the Finnish children. My instructor tried to keep a straight face but largely failed. He did get me nervously down a red run by the end of the session and left some time for a few unaccompanied runs down the slopes.

An evening snowmobile trip to Luvattumaa Snow Castle saw me, after a short tuition stage, speeding along woodland tracks and across frozen lakes. Headlights on the machines added to the James Bond-like glamour as they illuminated the trails. These machines are powerful, but easy and safe to drive. They even have heated handlebars for comfort.

At the half-way point we reached the Snow Castle. The hotel has ice-sculptures, an ice-bar, a lovely wedding chapel with rooms at a cool 5 degrees C. Good job the sleeping bags are great quality!

As we got more confident, bursts of up to 60kph became the norm across the frozen lakes on the return journey. You do need to have a driving licence to drive one, though passengers do get an equally exhilarating ride.

Huskies Polar lights huskies allow you to take charge of your own teams of husky dogs for a trek across the tundra and frozen lakes. After an introduction to the intricacies of dog-sledding, and a talk about these lovely creatures, I was introduced to my friendly team of five adorable and lively animals. I had a five dog team, comprising of a pair of Siberian and three Alaskan dogs.

Whoosh! We were off. These dogs are workaholics and simply love their jobs.

Following the trails, we rollocked along, stopping only for poop-stops, something the passengers in the sleds found hilarious for some reason. The driver stands at the back and controlling the team only by weight distribution and a foot brake, we travelled eight kilometres along trails through wonderful countryside. Picture postcard stuff indeed. 

At the conclusion, we petted the dogs and took photographs. These were our new best friends.

Ice Karting is another adrenaline filled activity nearby. All the safety kit was provided for this exciting adventure around a specially created ice track in a woodland setting. Snow banks provide the safety run offs, though these were not needed on our trip.

The lively carts have studded tyres to provide grip around the twisty ice track, so at full throttle you can power slide your way around the corners. Two race sessions in opposite directions around the track were interspersed with a relaxing session around an open fire whilst hot berry juice warmed the innards.

Larger groups can be accommodated in the form of a championship with elimination rounds and a podium photo opportunity. Great fun. A driving licence is also required for this activity.

Reindeer Awwww! Real live Reindeer! Well, 100 to 200 to be precise. A trip to Ounaskievari reindeer farm is an educational treat for adults and children alike. Owned by a Lappish family who wore traditional Lappish clothes, they obviously loved and took great care of these animals. The old and modern methods of reindeer farming and welfare were explained in detail. We were also given instruction in how to drive the reindeer sleighs, single or double passenger affairs pulled by a lone reindeer. We followed woodland trails around the farm and had a great time before feeding the animals by hand and leading them to their corrals.

Warm berry juice and home-made cakes to follow. Yum!

The trails vary in length depending on the number in the party.

Ten kilometres away from Levi on the hillside of Utsuvaara Fell is the family owned Golden Crown Lapland Igloo Village. Here you will find twelve luxuriously appointed and centrally heated glass igloos. With every modern convenience, including an en-suite shower room and kitchenette. Romantics will be glad that there is no Wi-Fi (except for emergencies) or television. Many a proposal has been made here and it is also a popular honeymoon night venue. The beds are comfortable and have electronic controls to raise and lower them to take maximum advantage of the stunning views of up to sixty miles, on clear nights, over the twinkling village lights and countryside far below. 

Golden Crown Lapland Igloo Village When the skies darken and the Northern Lights make their eerie appearance, I swear that you will stare, slack-jawed in wonder and delight as I did, lying in your bed gazing to the heavens at the unbelievably beautiful light-show. There is something almost spiritual about the experience. The night I spent here was one of the highlights of my entire life.

Most people stay in the igloos for one night, though there is also a modern, Northern Lights Kammi House on site for longer stays. The huge lounge has picture windows to take advantage of the long distance views. One bedroom is a take on the Traditional Lappish style, whilst the other has a somewhat quirky and lavish ‘Palace of Versailles’ decor and fittings.

There is also a sauna and an outdoor Jacuzzi with superb views over the countryside below.

There is no restaurant here, people self-cater in the igloos or Kammi or eat at Levi before an evening arrival. There is also a ‘grill hut’ to cook your own meal if you wish. A continental breakfast awaits in the fridge for the morning after.

A stay at the igloos is an optional extra for Inghams guests.

So, Appetiser and Main Course completed, on to Dessert in the forthcoming and final Part 3.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Inghams


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Paul

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