While Finland is best known as a destination to see the Northern Lights, this amazing country offers many other exciting winter activity opportunities to try out such as snow shoeing, river floating, cross country skiing and igloo building.
One morning after breakfast during my trip to Finland in April, our group collected all the gear we would need to experience cross-country skiing, such as snowshoes, gloves, ski poles and of course skis. We all then headed out to the frozen Juuma Lake to begin our lesson. The difference between cross country skiing and downhill skiing is that in cross country skiing only the toes of your boot is attached to your skis whereas downhill the entire boot is attached to the ski. Cross country skiing allows you to go up and down in various terrains. Downhill skiing goes down the mountain, although you are travelling at a higher speeding rate than cross country skiing. So it’s more thrilling. Our tour leader taught us the basics first and the different ways to get ourselves back up should we fall, which was inevitable. After our lesson, it was time to start skiing, I started off very slow, then beginning to increase my pace. What was the main thing I learned? If you have good balance, this will come naturally (which it did, I only fell once, some of the people in my group fell a couple of times but ssssh don’t tell). After we got the hang of it we all went skiing around the Oulanka National Park. Afterwards, we were then taught how to ski down slopes, which was actually really terrifying because you are sliding down pretty fast, but it was really fun to try even though I failed miserably. We then had the rest of the day to continue skiing at our own pace or head back to Basecamp. I opted to go back to Basecamp and get in the sauna for some much needed relaxation after a fun and eventful day of skiing!
Another great activity I tried for the first time was building an igloo or a quinzee as it’s called. A quinzee is a snow shelter and is made up of loose hard snow. Our team leader separated us into two groups were we would all work together to build a quinzee. We were each handed a shovel and began collecting a whole pile of snow together, then we had to pat it down with our feet and shovel and repeat this process a couple of times(for the record this is not as easy as it looks and you definitely have to put some muscle into it) after we had this huge pile of snow we began to start digging inside, we created a small entrance, and then began to tunnel out the snow to make some room inside to stay, this also took some time but was fun. Once we were done we all got to sit inside our quinzee and appreciated on the job we all did. Surprisingly it was quite cozy and comfortable inside. We were also given the opportunity to overnight in the quinzee camping under the stars but that sounded a bit cold to me. Of our group of 10 people only one guy was brave enough to try this… But hey, its not bad if you’re waiting to see the Northern Lights