The Ultimate winter experience

Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

I remember my first visit to snowy Central Finland like it was yesterday… I remember how fascinated I was by the beauty of majestic Finnish nature. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the snow before. White winters were quite common also in Latvia, where I grew up. But somehow in Finland it seems different.

Looking at the winter landscapes here in Finland, seeing forest and lakes covered with fluffy white gowns, I always have a feeling that Scandinavian folklore comes to life. I especially enjoy staying out on a sunny winter day. To see how the sunrays are touching the surface, to see how sunshine is changing the snow and it starts imitating gemstones. Perfectly white snow suddenly turns to diamond cover! It looks magical! I know, it might sound silly… but that’s how I see it through my “over thirties” eyes.

I was also stunned by the amount of winter activities in Finland! Snowboarding, ice skating, ice fishing, building a snow fort, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, reindeer sledding… even making snow angels! And only thing I’ve done in Latvia during many winters… was sledding, when I was a kid. I also tried cross-country skiing (of some sort). But let just say that instead of rising the excitement level in my blood it was doing the opposite. More than that, – when I think of skiing I start unconsciously singing Rolling Stones “I can’t get no satisfaction”. So, as you can see, in my mind words “fun” and “winter” didn’t really belong in one sentence.

But I’ve changed my opinion when I came to Finland. No, I wasn’t planning a ski trip… and who needs skis, when you can do many other interesting things! There was one in particular that stood out for me. Dog sledding! Oh, yeah! I was dreaming about it since I was little. Most of the girls my age were dreaming about their weddings and future family life, while I was reading Jack London’s “White Fang” and wishing to end up in Alaska (or some other snowy place) one day. I wanted to do three things there: try dog sledding, search for gold and befriend a wolf.

And I can’t describe how happy I was, when my husband promised to take me dog sledding… one day. Yes, one day… Have you ever heard an expression: “If a man tells you he’ll do something, that means he’ll do it! There is no need to remind him every six months about it”? Well… I’ll keep it short. Twelve years later:

Excited-about-dog-sledding-in-Kievari-Rantapirtti-Central-Finland
Super excited about dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

That’s right, this winter it finally happened! My husband took me to Kievari Rantapirtti or Hunter’s hut as I call it. And that day I turned into a 10-year-old me, overwhelmed with excitement.

Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

As I watched Timo preparing dogs for a ride I felt like a main character from a fantasy novel “Inkheart”, who had an ability to read out things, creatures and people from a book. And between my screams filled with happiness and joy, I was imagining that I am reading one of the Jack London’s books… and all the sled dogs start jumping out from its pages. That was an indescribable feeling!

Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Preparing for dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Dog sledding is ready to roll, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Sled dogs are ready to roll, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

And the way we go! You can check video here.

Dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Dog sledding, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

Saying that this experience was amazing is an understatement. It was AWESOME!!! And I loved every moment of it! Can’t believe I’m saying this… but it was most definitely worth a wait!

Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

After this great ride Timo asked whether we want to go snowshoeing… First thing that popped in my head when I heard word “snowshoeing” was this:

Vintage snowshoes
Vintage snowshoes

Those exact things I have seen in the TV series “White Fung” and in the Cartoon Network’s “Muttley”. And in my mind I was already screaming with excitement “Hell yeah!”. What I didn’t consider was the fact that the progress is not staying in the same spot… and as it turned out, no one is using tennis rackets as snowshoes anymore. They use these cool babies:

Snowshoeing-in-Rantapirtti-Central-Finland-1
Modern snowshoes, Kievari Rantapirtti, Central Finland

We put them on, closed the car and started walking into the woods… I know that many horror stories begin with quite similar sentence… but trust me, this one had a happy ending.

Snowshoeing in Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Snowshoeing in Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Blue twilight, Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Blue twilight, Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Blue twilight, Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Blue twilight, Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Blue twilight, Rantapirtti, Central Finland
Blue twilight, Rantapirtti, Central Finland

It was my very first snowshoeing experience. And it was fun! Unusual. Takes some time to learn how to do it right… but fun nevertheless! I was so into it that I didn’t even think about all the wild animals that are living in the forest. Animals that come on a hunt at night… Nope, those terrifying thoughts haven’t cross my mind even once. I was too busy to think about the life-threatening things… I was joyfully jumping around like a crazy grasshopper, I was giggling and repeating same thing over and over again “I’m a snow leopard! I’m a snow leopard!”.

Ah, what a fun day it was! One more unforgettable experience and one more memory to my “piggy bank of happiness”.

Hope you enjoyed it!

TWVera

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