Lapland Hotels Snow Village, Ylläs
…Not tonight Josephine. I make up for the no show with a delicious breakfast at L7 – thank you Sari – before we head to the Lapland Hotels Snow Village in Ylläs. An incredible ice and snow village has been created here with a Game of Thrones ice sculpture theme. We walk around the ice restaurant, check out the ice rooms for overnight stays (!) and have a drink at the ice bar.
This unique year-round destination 170km north of the Arctic circle, Levi is just 15-minutes’ drive from Kittilä airport. A friendly and cosmopolitan resort with super winter – and summer activities including 43 pistes, 27 ski lifts and superb off-piste skiing, alongside 8886km of snowmobile trails and two year-round gondola lifts. And of course, husky, reindeer and snowmobile safaris among the pristine winter wonderland. Located near to Lake Immeljarvi, Levi has hosted an Alpine Skiing World Cup event since 2004. Accommodation here is extensive, ranging from ski-in-ski-out ice hotels, luxury wilderness cabins and igloo suites. Within easy walking distance of the main resort are shops, bars, restaurants and a swimming pool and spa. There’s even an 18-hole golf course.
It’s snowing hard on our arrival in Levi, but undaunted our fabulous guide Marari drives up to panoramic Restaurant Tuikku restaurant on the lofty peak of Levi fell. Nearby trees look like ice sculptures. The sky is full of snow and cloud. We enjoy a quick hot chocolate among the revellers (this is a party bar) before our two-hour snowmobile ride.
Kinos Snowmobile Safaris on Lynx snowmobiles
Once again, the grin on my face is the biggest ever. I love snowmobiles. And can’t wait to get out into the white wilderness and rev up the engine.
“Keep your speed down and put at least 50ft between you and the driver in front,” our instructor tells us. “And no holding back – then zooming off.” I’ve been rumbled. Best to get in the front then.
Our thermal outfits keeping us toasty, after a thorough instruction on operating these cool snowcats we’re off. Balaclavas and helmets on, we look as if we’re about to raid a Knightsbridge jeweller. The engine roars into life, a touch on the lever and my Lynx 600 ACE XTRIM leaps forward. This two-seater with heated handles has a top speed of 80km/h. We don’t get much over 30mph but the whole ride is an adrenaline rush. Driving through this landscape is dreamy and exhilarating. The brain really does switch off in Lapland landscapes… I’m in love.
Coffee and biscuits in a traditional Lapland wooden hut en route is a welcome break. There’s something very meditative about staring at a log fire, drinking out Kuksa cups. God, this is a life I could get used to. Being in nature all day; communing with the elements. And my joyful communing continues a short time later when we check in to our next luxury accommodation – 15km from the centre of Levi.
Northern Lights Ranch – Sky Cabins
Imagine being cocooned in your private cosy sky cabin for two… glass-ceilings and heated glass walls on two sides – surrounded by nothing but light, trees and snow. The perfect spot to see the Northern Lights too (I pray), and some superior cabins have their own sauna and hot tub. Mine has a separate lounge area with TV and a sofa bed. The loo and shower are private. No glass there, no worries. There’s even a chapel should the mood take you.
The beds have a handy recline option (via remote control) into various positions so you can get the optimum viewing angle for the Aurora. Surely tonight is THE night for the dancing lights? I could hole up here for weeks. Add fabulous food from the onsite restaurant and you’ve got an idyllic destination at the Northern Lights Ranch.
No sign of the lights yet due to cloud and snow… but our supper more than made up for the no-show. Delicious charcuterie and berries followed by the most succulent reindeer ever. And feeding the on-site reindeers. Apparently, there are around 130,000 of these beautiful creatures in Lapland. What a heartwarming end to another perfect day in Lapland.
Reindeers are the theme of the morning as we make our way to the Reindeer Farm at Kael. Our reindeer guide there is unintentionally hilarious but her odd demeanour doesn’t detract from an awesome experience with the four-legged beasties. Reindeers are very shy and we are told not to approach them or touch their antlers. No hugs then. My co-driver and I are in a playful mood as we await our trusty Rudolph to be attached to our sled. Eye level is squarely at reindeer bum level on a sled, and their dainty gait becomes intoxicating after a while. The scenery is magical. Just remember to hold tight to the reins.