A Finnish Winter Wonderland

Leanne Rudd on 25 November 2022
I spent November to March in Ruka; a ski resort in Finland just 30 minutes south of the Arctic Circle. It’s a perfect winter wonderland and a great place to enjoy the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

There isn’t much daylight in the winter months, usually around 3-5 hours, so the slopes are floodlit allowing full days of skiing or snowboarding. Once a week the slopes are open until 11pm and this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the dancing sky when the Northern Lights come out to play.

Accommodation - Did you know that all properties in Finland have saunas? Whether you choose to stay in a traditional log cabin, a hotel or a self-catering apartment, a sauna will be present to warm your cold bones and ease your sore muscles after a day on the slopes.

Much more than just ski - My personal favourite excursion was visiting Joulupukki (the Finnish word for Father Christmas). You are welcomed to his house by elves and can enjoy sledging on the hill outside or baking gingerbread cookies with Mrs Claus before Santa makes an appearance. The first thing you hear are his bells and then as if by magic the big man arrives. Santa tells some amazing stories and he knows everyone’s names and will always have a present for you, even if Christmas has already passed.

A close second favourite activity is husky sledding; mushing the huskies across frozen lakes is quite scary at first but once you learn how to brake, it’s a fabulous feeling, even if your eyelashes are prone to freezing!

Fancy riding a skidoo / snowmobile? Racing reindeers? Ice fishing? Ice skating? Snowshoeing? Cross country skiing? Axe throwing? These are all activities available in resort and can be pre-booked or booked locally.

Food and drink - Alongside the traditional ski resort favourites of fondue and raclette, the tastiest food in my opinion is the sautéed reindeer with mash and lingonberries. At first try it’s a bit weird as you picture Rudolph with every mouthful but once you get over that it’s delicious!

Finland gets really cold; I experienced minus 40 degrees Celsius while I was there. So a recommendation is to keep popping into the slope side cafes and have a Minttu hot chocolate. Minttu is a Finnish liqueur with a peppermint flavour and the perfect solution to warm you from the inside out.

Many Lapland holidays are only 2 or 3 days long but I recommend taking a full week to enjoy the numerous activities on offer. Please share my blog and get in touch if you fancy visiting this amazing country.