Finns greet the first snowflakes of winter with eager anticipation where Mother Nature turns an entire country into a crystalline playground filled with exhilarating activities.
No sport represents the Finnish passion for winter more than cross country skiing. Even today, the Finn’s love of their woodlands and lakes is deeply rooted in their rural heritage. Skis have evolved from a primary means of transportation to the most popular source of recreation
Outdoor loving travelers with an appetite for exercise can do cross country hut-to-hut ski tours by trekking through pristine nature, through snow laden forests and across frozen lakes.
Hut-to-hut tours feature rustic accommodations, sometimes with no electricity. On the other hand, you’re in
While much of
Telemark skiing is another favorite. Perhaps the best way to describe it is that it’s like doing cross country skiing on downhill terrain. Like other forms of the sport, telemark is challenging because it demands stamina combined with rhythm, coordination and balance in order to derive maximum pleasure from skimming across soufflés of powdery white snow.
Much of the fun of
Each year in February, the Finlandia Ski Race attracts nearly 10,000 participants from around the world for a marathon on skis. Beginning at the
How about reindeer skiing which is popular in
Throughout the dark-shortened days of winter in
Just because temperatures are freezing and summer has long been forgotten or is too far in the future to dream about, does not mean that Finns don’t remember the range of activities that await after the snow melts.
Ever heard of snow golf? The “greens” become “whites” and the balls are orange so you can find them, but a little snow will never keep a Finnish duffer from his appointed rounds.
How about fishing? After all, the fish are still under that frozen water. Drill a hole, set up a stool, get a hot glass of cider, drop a line and you’re in business.
There is horse racing too. The trotters at Vermo run all year long.
For members of the Polar Bear Club, why not compete in a winter swim meet. A regulation pool is chiseled out of the ice and all the events are just like summer; breast stroke, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle.
Many travelers find cruising relaxing. So do the Finns. That’s why they offer ice-breaker cruises more than half of the year. The best known and most popular tour is aboard the Sampo, a retired government ice-breaker that takes travelers out to chop up the ice. Sampo sails out of the seaport city of
Summer has the midnight sun, but even that cannot compete with the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights of winter. When conditions are exactly right, another phenomenon known as the “blue-moment” occurs just before sunset when eerie shades of blue envelop the surroundings to create an alien-like atmosphere.
Try snowmobiling or dog-sledding. If no dogs are available, no matter, you can do a reindeer safari instead.
Of course there’s always sledding, skating and campfire cookouts..
Whatever your interests, be they offbeat, traditional, adventure or something in between,
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world.
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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