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Lapland

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello @snowheads, it's been a long time!

I may have persuaded my non-sliding partner that a Lapland trip over either Xmas/NY would be amazing for the kids! Kids are 5 and 3, partner would give skiing a go but probably not that bothered so can do other activities with kids while I board (hopefully). I'll just feel happy to get a bit of time on my board and the kids to have a magical time with Santa etc and hopefully try a bit of skiing.

We can't book for about a month when OH will know if/when he'll actually be home and able to commit.

Does anyone have recommendations of resorts, TOs, trips etc?

TIA. Hx
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@hels_t, A couple of years ago I and some friends went with Inghams to Finnish lapland over the New Year. We went to Saariselka, which is the most northern of the Finnish resorts they do, it is 250km inside the Arctic Circle. The downhill slopes are quite gentle (blue runs) but uncrowded and although at that time of year the hours of daylight are quite short the slopes are floodlit so you can ski late into the afternoon. There are many other activities to do, my favourite was husky dog sledding. The operation we visited was run by a Scotsman who had married a local Finnish girl and he treats his huskies well. He gives you instruction as to how to control the sled, at first the husky team is enthusiastically straining at the leash to get started, but once they're off they soon settle into a steady routine. You get about a half hour trip on a trail through the nearby woods, a snowmobile leads the way and the dog sleds follow behind. At the end of the run you can make a fuss of the dogs (they are very friendly) and there is usually a new pup or two to cuddle (very popular with the kids). Talking of which, apart from Santa, Saariselka also has an Angry Birds kid's adventure park. Madeye-Smiley
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I get the impression that Finnish Lapland is the place for this kind of thing.

Have a search for threads on Yllas or Ruka like this http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2813314&highlight=yllas#2813314.
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Great thanks@Alastair Pink, and@Themasterpiece!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Not been at Xmas/NY but have been to Levi in Lapland for the past two Feb half-terms. We have gone to ski so not done the other activities on offer but everyone we have spoken too whilst out here have raved about them. Skidoo trip outscore Huskies but not by much.

We had very different weather over the two years, 1st was warm ~zero, sunshine, clear night skys and Northern Lights most nights. 2nd year, cloudy, -20's and windy.

By February you have daylight for as long as you can ski, not sure what it would be like in mid-winter. The tour operators will wrap you and yours in thermal boiler suits but if you hit a cold snap there isn't too much you can do about it.

HTH

P
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We went last year to saariselka with our then 5 year old and had a great time. On the free day we had we booked a half day lift pass for the ski area - I was the only person skiing all morning apart from some beginners having lessons! At the bottom of the lifts were a few reindeer grazing. It was awesome! Just so beautiful. The sun doesn’t rise at all in winter so it’s a weird sort of permanent dusk but when you get to the top of the lifts you can see the sun over the horizon. There’s not much more than a days skiing there but it is lovely. Unless you crosscountry ski - there’s miles of that! My son had a private lesson which we didn’t pre-book, just turned up that morning. He loved it, so we booked our 2019 ski trip as soon as we got home!
For the kids (and adults) there are sledges everywhere, and a great sledge run. We tried to see the northern lights but they didn’t play ball. In hindsight I wish I’d gone to the trouble of organising myself a trip and had longer - we went for 3 nights on a Santa’s Lapland trip and it wasn’t long enough. And it was probably a little more commercial (the Santa day) than I’d ideally hoped for. I knew it would be a bit.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
The hill at Yllas will have enough to keep you interested for a few days boarding and there's plenty of other activities such as reindeer rides, visits to Sami camps, dog sledding ice fishing, snowshoeing. Just be aware of the lack of light at that time of year that may restrict some of these activities

Also prepared for very cold weather. We go every Feb and -25 is not unusual
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I’ve heard it’s super expensive, not just Alps expensive but complete crazy, another level. Skidoo trips etc. Guy at work took his family last year and said it was ok but not worth it, kids enjoyed it obvs but his wallet didn’t.
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I visited Ruka in Finland a couple of years ago, although not with kids. It's a small resort, although a good range of terrain including one or two steeper pistes. Really enjoyed the week, the skiing was fun but it needed the other activities such as snowshoeing, skidoo and husky dog sledding to make it a fully rounded holiday. There seemed plenty of kids activities available, and I'd guess around Christmas this will be very much there case. One of the advantages of Ruka is that it's just a 25 minute drive from the airport, so no extended transfer time (in fact, you can hire a skidoo and drive yourself to the airport and the company takes your luggage which sounds like a novel experience). No doubt alcohol is noticeably more expensive than you'd like if you're buying in a bar or a restaurant, think central London prices, maybe a fraction more, but if that's not going to be a big part of your holiday it shouldn't be an issue. You can minimise the price slightly buying in a supermarket for consumption at your hotel. Other prices didn't seem way out of line with what I'd pay on a ski trip. The locals were extremely friendly, with perfect English spoken everywhere - I had a conversation with my skidoo guide where he apologised for his poor English, in the middle of a conversation about the etymology of the word "sausage" in which he used the word "etymology". Made me smile.

It's potentially very cold, with short daylight hours but skiing under floodlight extends the skiing day to 7pm at least. The scenery is completely different to the Alps, but enjoyable for that reason. I particularly liked the snow-laden tress, much like the Japanese snow monsters you sometimes see where the tree itself is completely invisible, just a tower of snow.





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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I've been to Lapland 13 times in total, so I guess I would recommend it. Not surprisingly it is busier and more expensive in December but remember Santa is still there the rest of the year - go in January and you get to thank him for last year's gifts and get your order in first for next Christmas!

Levi - the largest of the resorts with lots to do. Includes the Levi Black hill which is used for the World Cup. Even though it is the largest resort it is still not exactly huge, but there is enough there to keep everyone entertained. Non-skiers can of course go to the top in the gondola.

Ruka - just below the arctic circle, nice resort but a little smaller than Levi but has undergone major transformation in the last decade to give visitors more options (without it becoming over sized).

Saariselka - lots of people like here, I am not really one of them. Ski slopes are limited and away from the small village - though that is the appeal for many.

Yllas - a tale of too halves. One is stretched out done a single road, the other is more contained (I prefer the latter)

Salla - another small resort but for me has a little more too it than Saariselka (though again the shops etc are away from the slopes)

Pyha - very small resort, but reasonable slopes

Personally, I would go to Levi if with non-skiers as it offers more for them to do.

All resorts will give you access to santa trips, reindeer and husky safaris, and snowmobiles - or you can hire a car and make your own trips!

As mentioned, it can get very cold (I've been out in -30 a number of times) but that is when the sky is clear, and when the sky is clear there's the chance to see Northern Lights. There is always a kota to dive into to warm up (think wooden tee-pee with a fire in it) or you have an excuse to visit another bar. Yes, things can be expensive there though.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Been to Ruka twice and Levi twice. Going back to Ruka over this Christmas. Levi is strung out more than Ruka and ski bus is not included in lift pass which I think is a bit rude as really you need it to get to the south side unless you want a very flat trek back. Ruka has a real family feel to it and slopes are great. Yes it gets cold, but right clothing and you will be fine. Prices, eating out is expensive as is alcohol in bars but just queue with the locals for the alcohol shop opening and bring it back to your apartment/chalet.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
lpsmc1 wrote:
ski bus is not included in lift pass which I think is a bit rude as really you need it to get to the south side unless you want a very flat trek back.


If you want to avoid using the bus in Levi (and you have a lift pass), you can easily get from the front slopes to the south on skis/board: lift up the front (either the t-bar or the chair lift - though the t-bar gets you closer to where you need to be), down to the gondola station, gondola up and then the blues all the way down to the family area in the south. The way back is a little tougher as you have to come down the final red - though it is very wide so you can slowly negotiate your way down it if needed.

It was the case that you would need to do something similar in Ruka, as the ski school is the other side from the village, but the new gondola will now take you from one side to the other without the need to touch snow in-between. Another way to get from one side to the other in Ruka (when the pistes are closed) was to get the caterpillar-tracked rinnetaksi (slope taxi) - good fun in its own right! Not sure if it is still going though.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Hi All,
need to visit Finland on a family matter next year so planning to combine it with a trip to Lapland. Experienced skiers and being brought up in southern Ontario setting my expectations about the down hill skiing accordingly. Expecting to take the opportunity to learn how to telemark and also do some cross country skiing. With this in mind could I get some recommendations on which resort to choose?
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Finland skiing (downhill) is tiny, flat, dark, and cold.

Levi is the biggest resort for downhill and x-country.

Locals are friendly, reliable, and efficient.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It might be small but it’s magical! I went 3 years ago and was literally the only person on any slope. At the top of each “hill” I could see the sun trying to get up over the horizon- it was beautiful. And there were reindeer wandering around at the bottom. We were in Saariselka and they had cross country trails too which were well maintained and went for miles.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
brovert wrote:
Hi All,
need to visit Finland on a family matter next year so planning to combine it with a trip to Lapland. Experienced skiers and being brought up in southern Ontario setting my expectations about the down hill skiing accordingly. Expecting to take the opportunity to learn how to telemark and also do some cross country skiing. With this in mind could I get some recommendations on which resort to choose?


Id scrap the skiing and blow the budget to go chase the northern lights.
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@brovert Ylläs has the most extensive maintained cross country track, with a lot of route going into more backcountry setting. The village(s) sprawled over large area connected with tracks around the forests and lakes. Never cross country myself, but have done light touring around there. Levi is more downhill-oriented, with more 'centralized' resort. The pistes also feel more 'compact' than Ylläs (but more vertical, although in the face of Alps resorts it doesn't make much difference). That said, cross-country track is everywhere, not to mention everyman's right. If you want to chase northern lights, your best friend is clear weather (a rare treat in Lapland).
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks @bashing will have a car as driving up from Helsinki (I know 13 hour drive) so will take the opportunity to visit both. I expect I’ll get to know Lapland really well over the next few years.
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I went to Levi for the last New Year and it was brilliant but it does feel like 2 minutes up to the top and then 2 minutes down, then repeat. Amazing views and lots to do other than skiing. The green run to traverse from the south pistes back to the front pistes can be horrible - if the wind is in your face you will be poling most of it. As mentioned above, the black world cup run is excellent fun. It was peak season but nowhere was crowded, just a small queue for the new heated chair for the south pistes.

NB The piste opening hours were really long from 9am to 7pm, but still a struggle to get any kind of vertical or distance in a day.
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I went to Yllas in Jan - small ski area and uplift often affected by wind. Very quiet slopes though - we were often the only ones on a run. And very cold in Jan. But I still loved it - loved my first experience of cross country skiing, other activities such as fat biking were brilliant. Its more a winter holiday with some downhill. Excellent potential for northern lights as an added bonus.
We had a car and were glad we did - too cold to wait around for buses!!
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We went to Ruka and had a really great ski holiday. Yes it’s seriously cold so you have to be well prepared. We saw some Northern Lights but it wasn’t spectacular. It’s close to the (very tiny) airport so a really short transfer. People were lovely (somebody handed in my handbag containing nearly 400 euros!!). I’d definitely go back. We’ve done Norway 3 times too which is also great.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hi there all... has anyone driven to Levi from the UK? Any advice on routes most welcome.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
We flew into Helsinki and rented a car. Drive up is 13 hours door to door including decent stops going through Oulu and then Rovaniemi. Last 2 hours are on rural roads where maintaining the speed limit is a real challenge. You’ll need at least 2 drivers and preferably 3 as you’ll need to be on the ball on even the main roads. Speed cameras are frequent and fines eye watering. Take the opportunity to stop frequently at the main service stations as some of the minor ones are automated. I managed to get stuck in the loo at an unmanned one as the door froze shut for the short time I availed myself of the facilities. No light and forgot my mobile phone in the car. Last thing I needed towards the end of a long stressful drive. All rental cars come equipped with studded winter tyres but make sure you find out what batteries the remote uses as the cold can quickly kill a battery if you take it skiing with you.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Many thanks!
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