Friday, March 19, 2010
One of the best ways to explore the area was to go snow shoeing. At first we tried to stay near the cross country tracks, but soon we realized it was best to just wander about (although a few times some of us got lost).
It was so quiet and peaceful, we hardly met anyone else on these walks, and the scenery was like a magical winter wonderland. Lapland in winter is definitely a place we want to go back to ...
Well, no sooner do I finish posting about one trip and we're off on another one ... A. has a conference next week in Crans-Montana (Switzerland) and I thought I would go to keep him company. So, expect more travel photos soon. Have a great weekend !
One of the main attractions in Yllas during the winter are the snowmobile excursions. There's plenty of alternatives on offer, but we ended up choosing just one, which was the excursion to the Lainio Snow Village.
Snow Fun Safaris runs this on Thursdays, and they had the most competitive price, so that's who we chose to go with (and their service was impeccable). In the end I ended up not going, but A. and our friends did and they had a fabulous time.
It was really cold that day, but they were given suits to wear on top of their regular clothes, so their only complaints were freezing hands and feet (although the snowmobile had some sort of heating pads on the handles).
The snow village is not very far from Yllas, but the excursion first takes you up to the Yllas fell, and then onto to the village, where you have lunch before heading back.
The village itself is mainly just the ice hotel, some ice sculptures outside, and a small chapel. The interior seems stunning, but I'm not sure I could really spend the night here ...
:: at the top of Yllas fell
:: inside the ice hotel at the Lainio snow village
:: ice hotel room
:: the ice bar
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The resort is small (compared to others we've been to) and not very high, but it was perfect for our beginner friends. The slopes were mainly beginner/intermediate level (the blue runs were very easy, and the reds would probably be equivalent to blue runs in the Alps). The advantage of being so cold is that the snow conditions were very good, no icy parts anywhere at all.
There's only one or two gondolas, very few chairlifts and plenty of drag-lifts in this resort, which would've been OK because we went during low season and there were very few people around, but being so cold it really wasn't the most comfortable. Halfway up the drag-lifts our hands and feet would be freezing, not to mention our poor noses. Thankfully they had the brilliant idea of putting up some fireplaces at the bottom of some of the slopes, so I think I spent more time by the fire than actually skiing :)
The views, however, can be stunning ...
We were lucky to have had sunny days through most of the week, and were really able to enjoy the scenery.
The village of Akaslompolo is located about 55 km from Kittila, and a short bus ride from the Yllas ski resort.
We rented our lovely cabin from Destination Lapland, and were quite satisfied with their service.
The cabin we stayed at was located about 1 km from the main road and shops, which was just about OK for our daily walks, especially with -30 C outside.
The cabin itself was impeccably furnished, the heated floor and fireplace were very comfortable (sometimes even too hot) as well as the small private sauna. There's only one huge supermarket in the village, but it has everything you can think of (food-wise, obviously, but they also sold everything else from Novita yarn to Moomin bed covers). Prices were way cheaper than Portugal, which was quite unexpected. The tiny shopping mall nearby mainly stocks souvenirs, but it has a small Marimekko shop where I just *had* to get a couple of yards of my favorite fabric.
We usually had dinner at home, but we decided to try the local restaurants a couple of times. We really enjoyed our meal at Poro, and then our last dinner at Julli's (portions tend to be huge, especially at Julli's and other pubs).
:: our cabin
:: road to Kittila
:: snowmobile excursions shop
:: coming from the supermarket (the sledges were very useful for transporting our purchases)
:: dinner at Poro
:: snowshoeeing at the frozen lake