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Ski Holidays in Finland: Discovering Salla Resort and Going on an Exciting Husky Safari

Ready, sled, go! Get ready for the trip of a lifetime on an exhilarating husky safari through the icy expanse of the far north of Finland

  • The small town of Salla in northeastern Finland has ski slopes that are mainly suited to beginners and intermediates.
  • Most visitors stay in log cabins and can spend days ice fishing or relaxing in the lakeside sauna.
  • The highlight of Tom Chesshyre’s trip was his ‘husky safari’ through a remote spruce forest near the resort.

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We were a dozen miles from the Russian border, in northeastern Finland within the Arctic Circle, and we were going like the wind.

“We” consisted of me and Ninja, Teutori, Elsa and Siiri, four Siberian huskies, running forward, pulling our sled through a remote spruce forest near the Salla ski resort.

The huskies loved it, eager to get away from the start. I was too. How could you not be, in the desert with all that fresh air in a wonderfully quiet corner of Lapland?

Siberian Huskies pulling a sled through a spruce forest (file photo).  Reflecting on his own husky walk, Tom Chesshyre says: 'They really are adorable creatures'

Siberian Huskies pulling a sled through a spruce forest (file photo). Reflecting on his own husky walk, Tom Chesshyre says: ‘They really are adorable creatures’

The instruction had been minimal: “If you’re going too fast, use the brake!” This was a metal pedal that dug a claw into the snow.

A few occasional touches seemed to work. The rest of the time we went to the races, flying through coniferous corridors, and although it was minus 5c, you felt nothing, at least not with the furry monkeys they provided.

Salla is a small resort with ski slopes that cater mainly for beginners and intermediates, in addition to some more challenging slopes (these are used occasionally by the French ski team).

It is so remote that one of the highlights is sometimes spotting wild reindeer.

Another is the slope side barbecues to cook your own lunch (everything is extremely relaxed and low-key). Most of the people who visit Salla stay in log cabins with kitchens.

Tom says that Salla’s “splendid isolation” is one of the best things about the resort, which is located in rugged northern Finland.

TRAVEL FACTS

A week in Salla Cabins is from £ 645pp self-service with Gatwick-Kuusamo flights until mid-February (crystalski.co.uk). A six hour husky ride with lunch from £ 233 (sallareindeerpark.fi). Finland is currently on the ‘green list’ for travel, which means no quarantine is required on your return home. You must be fully vaccinated to enter the country. More information: visitfinland.com.

There’s a nice pub, a couple of restaurants (reindeer on menus), a shop, a frozen lake, and not much else.

The best thing about Salla is its splendid isolation, as it is so far away in the rugged north. One day I went ice fishing – I dug a hole in the ice on the frozen lake and sat quite happy for a long time, with some Finnish beers in company and the mountain of the ski resort looming overhead. Sad to say, I didn’t catch a fish. I couldn’t even sting. However, what did I care, lounging in a small folding chair and drinking my Karhu beer, deep in the desert of the Arctic Circle?

In another, I joined the locals in a sauna next to a part of another frozen lake where the ice had been removed to allow sauna goers the opportunity to step into the cold water after they had warmed up for a time within the little wooden cabin of the sauna.

Thus an hour or so of hot-cold, hot-cold sensations passed, and other bathers chose to wear a bathing suit, or not, under a jet black sky surrounded by a pine forest.

But for me the highlight of the tour was the huskies.

After a morning buzzing around, stop on these ‘husky safaris’ for a delicious salmon soup by a campfire.

This was an opportunity to meet the dogs, who loved to be petted while howling from time to time. They really are adorable creatures.

And then we set off again, whizzing through the forest as Lapland flew, a million miles, it seemed, from anywhere.

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