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
- Peacefulness and lots of space
- Cross-country skiing in pristine winter wilderness
- Seeing reindeer and husky dogs
- Downhill skiing slopes close to the cabins
- 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.
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.
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.