Skiing in Finland. Photo credit: Visit Finland.
If you love nothing more than being surrounded by snow-covered peaks in the winter, but feel as though you’ve done most of Europe’s main ski areas, have you considered Finland?
Yllas in Lapland (better known as the home of Father Christmas), is an excellent base, as it offers a host of winter sports in beautiful, unspoilt scenery. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for somewhere a little more peaceful than busy ski resorts.
Lapland, Finland is no ordinary travel destination. Photo credit: LiveTravelMountains.com.
So, what makes Yllas the ideal destination for a winter escape? Here are a few things to whet your appetite for some fun in the snow:
Cross-country skiing can be challenging, but it’s an immensely rewarding way to enjoy the landscape you’re gliding through. If you’ve never tried your hand at this type of skiing before, Yllas is the perfect place to do it.
The region boasts 330 km of cross-country trails, of which nearly 40 km are illuminated, so you can continue skiing well into the evening.
In addition, it has a very long season – starting in October and running through to May. The long ski season means you’ve got plenty of opportunities to book a cross-country skiing break and avoid the busiest seasons if you want to save a bit of cash and meet fewer travelers.
If you’d prefer something a little faster to get your adrenalin levels up, you won’t be deprived of excellent downhill ski runs in Lapland. Around Yllas there are 63 slopes, including the longest in the country (Jattipitka at 3 km), as well as snow parks where you can practice your jumps and moves.
For a real adventure, you can go off-piste, with plenty of locations on the mountains suitable for skiing away from the main trails.
Huskies in Lapland, Finland. Photo credit: Visit Finland.
Reindeer and husky safaris
For an alternative way to get from A to B, dispense with your skis and hop in a sleigh instead. You can choose to be towed by huskies or reindeer when you set off on a safari through this magical winter wonderland.
This is a great option if you’re traveling with kids who are bound to love interacting with the animals just as much as the thrill of the ride.
You can slow your pace down even more by strapping on some snowshoes and heading out to explore on two feet. As you don’t need specific trails for snowshoeing, it’s a great way to discover some of Lapland’s most picturesque scenery in peace and quiet. If you’re not keen to go it alone straight away, sign up for a guided walk first until you get used to the equipment and feel more confident about navigating on your own.
Snow, glorious snow
Of course, it’s not just the activities you can do that make for an excellent winter holiday destination – snow is a pretty essential ingredient too. The Yllas Fell is Finland’s highest skiing area (it’s 718 m above sea level) and it’s incredibly snow-sure.
The powder on the ground will typically last for up to six months, so you’re practically guaranteed a winter wonderland with plenty of snow no matter what period of the season you travel in. In addition, all the trails and slopes are well-maintained and there are plenty of instructors should you wish to learn or brush up on your skills before you hit the slopes.