Jump to content
Clare
Clare

Day 6: Snowshoeing in Ylläs

Today's activity was one which we had already done last year and really enjoyed: snowshoeing. I was glad there was no need to be nervous this morning; snowshoeing is a lot easier than cross-country skiing and a lot less frightening than huskies :) It was snowing lightly when we left the apartment and set off towards the bus stop again, but nowhere near as much of as a blizzard as it had been on Friday.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-0

At 11.25 a van pulled over to pick us up, and the good news was it was only around -10 today so the doors opened perfectly. We were the last couple to be picked up, with several German couples already inside, and so we were soon speeding on our way to the nearby village of Ylläs. The Germans had all apparently tried cross-country skiing recently too and they spent most of the journey discussing how difficult it had been. One man in particular said he found it more frightening than downhill skiing because there was nothing you could do to brake when going downhill. I was glad I wasn't the only person who had found it a challenge!!

Ylläs is a popular ski resort, about 12km from Äkäslompolo, on the opposite side of a large fell. It seems a lot more touristy than Äkäslompolo, with large hotels and restaurants. There are also various ski lifts to take people up to the top of the fell for downhill skiing.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-4

We were surprised to find that our guides for the snowshoe expedition were two French girls. They were friendly but didn't seem quite as well organised as the guides we've had on previous trips, and there was a certain amount of chaos as our group arrived at the offices of the activity company and was fitted out with snowshoes. I was glad that we had tried snowshoes before, because they didn't give us any explanation of what to do.

Fortunately, the hardest part of snowshoeing is getting the snowshoes on in the first place, and they were able to help us with that. There are several straps which need to be done up tightly to hold your feet in place, and these are made from a rather hard plastic which is really difficult to bend and clip into place.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-3

Eventually we were ready to go.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-0

Walking in snowshoes is the same as walking normally, though you do have to be careful not to trip over your own feet.

We started off along one of the trails which had been specially prepared for snowshoeing.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-0

Every so often we paused for the guides to point out items of interest. First of all we saw some footprints which had been made by a snow hare (or a large rabbit, which was as far as the English of the French girls extended).

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-0

Then there was this lichen, which grows on the trees here because there is so little pollution.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-1

Some of us had more fun with it than others :)

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-1

The scenery we were walking through was absolutely beautiful; so much snow everywhere!

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-1

Some of the trees were really struggling under the weight of it.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-2

We continued following the snowshoe path through the forest.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-1

Tim and I were coincidentally at the back of the group and at one point we had a slight issue when one of the straps on Tim's snowshoe came undone and we got left behind. Luckily one of the guides noticed and came back to help us, although she had misheard Tim's name as Sam and persisted in calling him that for the duration of the trip :D

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-2

Some of the most challenging bits were when we had to go up and downhill with the snowshoes. I don't have any pictures of these paths because I was too busy trying to stay upright, but there was one downhill stretch where all we could really do was slide, and a steep uphill track where we were supposed to be kick the sharp ends of our snowshoes into the side of the hill in order to get a grip.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-2

About an hour into the trip we reached a little shelter where we were able to take a rest. The guides explained that Finland is full of these and the public are allowed to make fires here. They set about building a fire to keep us warm while we drank some juice.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-3

We were rather surprised by the fact that there was not only a huge pile of logs available for people to use on the fires, but also a public axe to use to chop them up!!

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-3

Even with the fire, sitting in the snow was pretty cold and it was soon time to set off again.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-3

On the way back we took a different route, which involved more snowshoeing off the track, on the normal snow.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-3

It was so deep that without the snowshoes we would definitely have sunk.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-3

Eventually we found ourselves at a viewpoint where we could see down the fell and out across the surrounding countryside.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-4

It was really beautiful, and great to see the view because last time we came here it had been too misty.

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-4

We finished the trip slightly earlier than planned and so for the final 20 minutes the guides took us off piste again, striking off in a random direction down the hill. Going down was fun but climbing back up again was rather tiring!

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-1

Eventually we were back at the office, ready to hand back our snowshoes and be driven home to Äkäslompolo. Snowshoeing is great fun but pretty exhausting, especially the day after cross-country skiing. Let's just say we now have rather tired legs :)

images_articles_2016_lapland_snowshoes-2




User Feedback

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.