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      our holidays > Winter Snow Breaks > Finland > Lapland Activity Week

Lapland Activity Week

Ylläs, deep within the Arctic Circle

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G&M   March 2019

We had always wanted to try some winter activities without the need to commit to any one activity for a whole week and this was the ideal holiday and location to do this.

As others have commented the accommodation, food, location, equipment provided and quality & expertise of the staff are all outstanding.

We enjoyed all the activities but again as others have said the thrill of driving your own team of dogs through a frozen snowy landscape takes some beating for an adrenaline rush ride. Similarly, the fun of the snowmobiles was great as we were the only two on the trip, easy to imagine you are auditioning for the role of the next James Bond.

The cross country skiing and the snow shoeing were at a more leisurely pace but equally enjoyable, again we were the only two on both activities. Make sure you know your weight in kilos as that is important in getting the correct skis. The skiing was surprisingly harder than we thought, especially the uphill bits.

The area is also well provided with winter walking areas where the snow is also ‘prepared’ and we enjoyed a lovely self guided 20km walk around Kesänki, the hill we had snowshoed up the previous day. We spotted dippers, a Eurasian three-toed woodpecker and a herd of reindeer. A highlight of the area are the cabins supplying hot drinks and food that are dotted about, our favourite being Navettagalleria just to the north of the hotel. Also there are lap huts which provide shelter and an open log fire if you need a warm up en route. Remember to take a vacuum flask if you want to carry a drink when you are out, water bottles will freeze.

With respect to clothing, we adopted the usual layer principle with a ski jacket and trousers as the top layer and despite it frequently being minus 23c or lower we were never cold. The clothing provided for both the snowmobiling and dog sledding was of excellent quality and certainly kept the cold out. To keep the chin and cheeks warm we would recommend having a balaclava, but these are provided for the snowmobiling activity. One other extra would be to have a pair of silk gloves for wearing under your main gloves, these help keep the hands warm and mean you don’t have to expose your hands whenever you want to adjust zips or reach into pockets. For footwear we used our standard lightweight walking boots for all the activities (except snowmobiling where they provide suitable safety footwear) and in the evening our walking shoes for getting from our cabin to the restaurant. Don’t bother with any other outdoor footwear, you won’t need it. On our walks we did add slip on anti skid spiked Yaktrax devices, which may be worth having as the paths around the hotel are of packed snow.

Six nights of our accommodation were in an apartment which had its own sauna and log fire in addition to kitchen facilities and one night in the standard rooms. This came about due to availability of rooms, originally we had wanted a standard room, but the facilities in the apartment are so much better than the standard room, for once, in our view an upgrade that really is worth paying for.

Alcohol is very expensive in the hotel, but wine can be purchased at a reasonable price in the liquor store beside the main supermarket. You can then enjoy this in your room post sauna by a roaring birchwood fire.

We had 5 days of clear crisp cold days & nights with the aurora putting in a regular appearance each night. The area has a lot of light pollution, but moving out onto the lake or along some of the ski tracks did afford some good locations for photographing them. Don’t forget your tripod & cable release and some additional warm clothing as standing around for any length of time taking photographs is cold. It takes willpower to leave a warm cabin and venture out into the cold dark night, but the rewards are worth it. We then had a final two days of heavy snow (the locals described it as light), which was great as the bare trees then became covered and gave the area that magical winter wonderland look.

If like us this is something you have always wanted to have a go at, don’t think about doing this holiday book it and book early, as this is not a large hotel and is very popular with lots of nations as well as the locals from the south, as this is recognised as one of the top skiing areas of the country and it’s easy to see why.

Miss A Teasdale  Epsom February 2019

Just returned from the Lapland Activity Week at the Hotel Yllashumina, and what an amazing week it was. A wonderful hotel in an absolutely stunning location. The hotel food was fantastic, both the choice and the quality of the food, and the staff were so welcoming and friendly. All activities were well co-ordinated and a joy to experience. The dog sledding was my highlight, racing through a white forest looking like a scene in Narnia was just breathtaking and something I will remember for a long time. But also the snow mobiling, snow shoe trekking and cross country skiing were great fun. While we were there the temperature ranged from -20 to -30 which was quite something. It was manageable in the right clothing but I strongly recommend handwarmers.

Mr P Gregory  Newhaven February 2019

Overall, the holiday was all we could have hoped for. We had deliberately chosen an activities holiday, and we weren't disappointed. We were concerned that, if we had booked the activities separately, we may have found the excursions fully booked, or too expensive. In the event, we tried out dog-sledding; snow-shoeing; cross-country skiing; snowmobiling. All of which we enjoyed, even in the extreme conditions. We saw the Northern Lights, and visited the Ice Hotel. My only regret is that I never got around to attempt downhill skiing again. Maybe next time...

Mr R Plater  Abingdon December 2018

The whole trip ran perfectly. Being met at the airport with our own minibus taxi made it so easy to transfer to the hotel. Being the week before Christmas it was nice and quiet at the hotel as the Finnish holiday season hadn't really got going. Food and service in the hotel were exemplary. Although we had our own sauna in the apartment, we liked using the larger communal sauna as there was no one else around, and the outdoor hot tub on the evenings it was open. Temperatures varied from -5 to -25 but as there is no wind it really doesn't feel too cold if you are prepared for it. The four pre-planned activities were really fun, especially the snowmobiling which is a full-day outing - no half measures. Overall, an ideal trip for a semi-adventurous family with teenagers.

Mrs H Knight  Oakham February 2018

We booked this holiday for the end of February as we knew the days would be getting longer by then. Scandi lighting is always low and cosy indoors but I think without a good amount of daylight/day length it could affect some people’s mood. The scenery in this area is magical with the trees looking like something from Narnia, especially when you venture into the forests.
We had chosen the basic accommodation and it was fine for the two of us - cosy, warm and comfortable. There was plenty of wardrobe and storage space and the bathroom was compact but sufficient. The beds were extremely comfortable but single beds and only 2ft 6ins wide! We slept very well but would have preferred a kingsize or 3ft singles. The drying cupboard was efficient and invaluable. The saunas, which were single sex, were very close to our cabin and we both used them several times - very clean, orderly, safe and enjoyable at the end of an active day.
The main hotel buildings are welcoming, warm and cosy. There was a buffet for breakfast and in the evening. We were very impressed with the food. There was a very good choice with lots of healthy options, lots of salad and lots of fruit. Fish, particualy salmon, smoked or otherwise was on every buffet! We really enjoyed the food and tried lots of new things. If you are a vegetarian or don’t like fish you would find things to eat but I think you might find your choices limited.
We were very impressed with all the activities. We did snowshoeing, snowmobile driving, cross-country skiing and husky sledding. On each occasion, except the sledding, there was only one other couple in the group which meant we got lots of help and involvement and could ask lots of questions without hanging around waiting for other people. I understand some of the other activity providers have much larger groups - so thank you Inntravel!
However I think it would have been better to have cross-country skiing before Day 4 in case we had wanted to hire skis to practice later on in the week. An ideal order would be snowshoe, skis, snowmobile, free day, huskies, free day.  
This was our FIRST winter snow holiday so we were a little unsure what to take.
Here are our recommendations regarding what to pack: it was VERY cold, minus 10 most of our week, but there was no wind. We had basic thermal base layers plus fleece tops and our jackets and salopettes and were cosy and warm. In fact, you get very warm very quickly when active so layers are important.
DO take glove liners and snow proof mittens/ gloves - you don’t want cold hands.  
A balaclava type head covering to wear under a normal hat keeps your cheeks warm, because they did feel the cold, but can be slipped down to form a scarf if not required.
We had bought goggles and sunglasses but hardly wore the goggles.
The most useful bit of kit was our ‘yaktrax’ walkers which fitted onto our own boots to give extra grip; they don’t ‘clear’ the snow as such out there - just compress it on the tracks and paths, so you are actually walking on snow all of the time outside. The extra grip these provided gave us confidence when out and about and enabled us to venture further afield.  
I had special snow boots but my husband had regular waterproof walking boots which were actually fine. When special equipment was required it could be hired or was provided.
On the snowmobile and sledding activities my feet got quite cold and I was given some warming pads to stick to my socks by a very kind French girl. They were wonderful and I would seek them out if going again.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. In case you are wondering - we did NOT see the Northern Lights, not a glimmer, which I thought I would be disappointed about, but there was so much else about this holiday that was unique and exciting that in the end it really didn’t matter!
Thank you Inntravel for yet another exceptional holiday!

 

 

Sam   February 2018

The dog sledding was absolutely fanatstic. Saying that, all the activities were well organised and each was magical in its own way. Really good mittens are better than really good gloves.

Mr M Lewis  Lancaster January 2018

This was a fabulous holiday. The location was magical, the accomodation excellent and the hotel food some of the best we have ever had. The hotel staff were great, friendly and helpful, and could not have done more to make this a memorable stay (for all the right reasons). Every activity was great fun, the dog sledging and tipping a snowmobile over being particularly exciting. The organisation was faultless throughout. We had a brilliant time.  

Mrs A Knowles  Hillsborough January 2018

A wonderful, fun week, doing new things in the wonderful surroundings of Yllashumina.  The accommodation was very comfortable with everything we could need, tea/coffee making facilities, a small fridge, hairdryer.  The underfloor heating in the bathroom was wonderful.  The overall look and feel of the hotel was very welcoming, traditional but stylish and the staff were always very helpful and friendly.  The food was excellent, lots of local delicacies with plenty of variety and always something to suit all tastes.  Service was first class and the staff friendly, getting to know us as the week went on and providing for our every need.

The range of activities was great, some more strenuous than others.  The instructors was always very helpful, always encouraging, and nothing was ever too much trouble.  The equipment provided was high quality and exactly what was needed. 

The location is wonderful, an easy walk across the frozen lake to the supermarket and other shops.  There are many restaurants and cafes in the local area to enjoy.

We booked the excursion to the Reindeer Farm as an extra and it was very special.  We enjoyed the sedate sleigh ride through the forest being pulled by the beautiful reindeer.  We then spent some time with Hannun, the reindeer herder, in the kota, enjoying hot berry juice and sweet treats while being regaled with stories of Lapland long ago.  A great way to spend a few hours.

I downloaded an aurora app on my phone and was able to check each night what the probability was.  The street lights are turned off at 10pm which helps, so we went out each night that the sky was clear, and were fortunate to glimpse the aurora on a couple of occasions.

Overall, it was a wonderful week and I would highly recommend it.

Judy  Bury January 2017
This was a fantastic week. We chose this because we had not done cross-country skiing before and were not sure if we'd like it or could do it. The variety of activities was great and the scenery stunning. All the excellent tuition and local knowledge was given in English. The accommodation was warm and cosy with an effective drying machine in the porch. The food was amazing with plenty of choice. As with all Inntravel holidays, the arrangements and organisation were impeccable. Top tips:
• take plenty of layers, a good set of thermals and windproof gloves. For snowmobile and dog sledding they provided much appreciated outer layers of clothing. Even when active, we took nothing off!
• everyone wore casual clothes for evenings e.g. jeans and jumpers.
• take tea/coffee to make hot drinks. The nearest shop is 30mins walk away and expensive compared to home.
• get yourself fitter before you go – all your muscles get a good workout if you want to make the best of your time there.
• go to the sauna as well – it was the hub of the social scene.

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