Top 5 tips to a Skiing holiday with kids in Salla, Finland Lapland

Top 5 tips to a Skiing holiday with kids in Salla, Finland Lapland

It was Easter holiday when we packed our skiing gear and set off for my daughter’s first skiing holiday. Last year I spent Easter in Finnish Lapland for the first time in my life and it was an amazing experience to be surrounded with snow, yet enjoy sunshine late till the evening and to top it all off, on our last night I could see the northern lights for the first time in my life! I was convinced that I should be back.

We were a bit worried if we’d find enough snow in Salla as Easter was quite late this year, after mid-April. Already at approaching our destination, our worries were gone: there was lots and lots of snow and more was falling down from the sky.

Salla is a less popular than many other places in Finnish Lapland, maybe because it’s not so easy to access it without a car. The closest airports are Kuusamo and Rovaniemi, from where it’s possible to take a bus. However, it is about 10 kilometers from Sallatunturi village to the nearest grocery store, and there’s only a few restaurants, so it would not be the most convenient solution to travel there without a car. Other excellent options in Lapland include Saariselkä and Urho Kekkonen National Park, and Ylläs-Pallastunturi National Park with Pallas in the northern and Ylläs in the southern end of the national park. Ruka in Kuusamo is another great skiing destination in Northern Finland if you prefer to stay south from the Arctic Circle.

Top 5 tips to Salla

  1. Peacefulness and lots of space
  2. Cross-country skiing in pristine winter wilderness
  3. Seeing reindeer and husky dogs
  4. Downhill skiing slopes close to the cabins
  5. Ice swimming with the locals

1. Peacefulness and lots of space

We found the best part about Salla to be its peacefulness. It is about as far from crowds as you can get with still having some services around. Easter is probably the busiest time of the year yet when I went cross-country skiing in around 9am in the mornings I was the first person on the tracks and met only a few persons over a couple of hours.

Lapland Salla cross-country skiing

The quietness in the wide wilderness is amazing – you really feel close to nature and appreciate the opportunity to exchange a few words with people you do come across. People tend to be very friendly and helpful to share tips.

Lapland Salla skiing winterwonderland

2. Cross-country skiing in pristine winter wilderness

Salla has a good range of ski tracks that are well maintained. My favorite was the ~22km track across Ruuhitunturi. The climb is reasonable and at the top there’s a cafe to buy some refreshments and re-gain energy with hand-made fresh donuts.


3. Seeing reindeer and husky dogs

The way down towards the Reindeerpark (Poropuisto) is really nice. The kids enjoyed the shorter tracks to the Reindeer park and meeting Rudolf and his friends as well as the close encounter with husky dogs. Next time we’ll need to go on a husky or reindeer ride.


4. Downhill skiing slopes close to the cabins

The downhill skiing slopes were located right next to the Holiday Club cabins where we were staying which was very convenient. On the down side, the lifts are quite basic, mainly anchor lifts and some telescope lifts – no nice gondolas or chair lifts. The front slope is quite steep and the easier blue slopes are at the back on the east and north side, which makes it more challenging for beginners. However, my 7-year-old was skiing for the second time in her life and after practicing for a while in the kids slope we were ready to go to the bigger slopes on the east side.


It was amazing to see the little one’s progress – soon I was barely keeping up with her speed! Just as important as the skiing are the breaks and the log restaurant ‘Keloravintola‘ by the front slopes was a nice cozy place to have lunch and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

5. Ice swimming with the locals

From my previous visit to Salla a couple of years back I still remember the unforgettable winter swimming experience with Sallan Latu arctic swimmers (Jäämeren uimarit). Highly recommend to try it if you’re up for an authentic wood sauna and dip in the icy lake experience with locals.

Top 5 tips to a Skiing holiday with kids in Salla

14 thoughts on “Top 5 tips to a Skiing holiday with kids in Salla, Finland Lapland”

  • I would have loved to have learnt to ski as a kid. .. now I’m older my co-ordination is not as good! It looks so peaceful here, the perfect place to learn! Thanks for sharing ?

    • Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure it’s never too late to learn to ski if it’s something that interests you 🙂 I’d recommend to start with a skiing school lesson / private class that is especially for beginners and you can first rent gear so there’s no need for a big investment to get started.

  • This winter get away looks wonderful!! I have only imagined myself visiting Finland in the summer and not the winter but this looks like a great time in the winter!

    • Yes, there’s lots of beautiful nature to see both in the summer and winter in Finland. If you enjoy winter sports spring time is great – just plan to go after end of February to avoid the coldest time of the year. Or maybe visit first in the summer and another time in the winter? 🙂

  • Thanks, this is a really interesting post. For years my sister has been talking about us taking the kids to Finland for a ski holiday. It look so amazing and thanks for all the info, it will be very helpful!

  • I don’t know if we would be up for ice swimming with the locals, but our family would sure enjoy everything else. We would love the solitude, and we would certainly enjoy getting to see reindeer and huskies.

    • Yep, the ice swimming was a bit extreme but very authentic experience although not really for small kids… Actually Holiday Club Salla has a small spa/swimming pool that I’d rather recommend for families.

  • What a picture perfect place to ski, I would love to see a reindeer one day! I have never learned how to ski, I think I am too uncoordinated to learn!! Love your photos

    • Thanks! I’m sure you could learn skiing just fine. Maybe start with classic cross-country – if you can walk you can do it 🙂 For downhill it’s advisable to take a beginner’s class but as long as you take it slow and stay in the easy slopes you’re all set to learn.

    • Finland is a mostly flat land with lots of forests and lakes. To the north of the Arctic Circle there are some low mountains in Lapland. The skiing season in Northern Finland lasts 5-6 months so even if there isn’t high mountains there’s guaranteed snow and opportunities to ski!

  • i heard about the place, look very beautiful. It seem you enjoyed your trip a lot. Even next week me too going there with family for trip. This post will help me to understand the better about this place. Thanks for sharing good trip experience.

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