Thick snow blankets the landscape, covering everything in white while the temperature drops to -24Cº. Long nights and short days when the sun barely climbs up into the sky. Despite the cold, the landscape has a calming effect, a sense of peace that is hard to find in our ever busy daily lives. The beauty of this place will slowly seeps into your heart.
Located close to the Russian border inside the Finnish Lapland, Salla is a great getaway for those who want to experience Finnish winter.
Exploring the slopes
Salla Ski Resort is the place to go to for skiing and snowboarding. Snow is plenty. Seeing pine trees covered in a thick blanket of snow is a funny sight; they look almost like sloppy soft cream without cones. There are a few slopes available as well as classes. If you want to try something different from downhill skiing, Salla is a perfect place to try cross country skiing. An activity enjoyed by many Finns and you will see them out and about all day on the many well-maintained tracks. For a complete beginner, you might end up spending a lot of energy during each movement but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to move around more effortlessly.
All skiing and snowboarding equipments are available for hiring at the service building at the bottom of the slope. There is also a restaurant, Keloravintola, where you can get delicious meals such as tasty pizzas, moose burgers or sutéed reindeer.
Follow the reindeer trail
Whether travelling as a family, couple or alone, I highly recommend the reindeer safari trip with Salla Reindeer Park. You have the option to choose between sled dogs or reindeers. A guide will explain the procedures of sledding. Extra warm overall, gloves and boots are provided, as temperature will go down well below minus. You will be joining a group of other visitors and you will be provided with your own individual sleigh and a reindeer if you choose the reindeer option.
The ride is pleasantly smooth and everyone moves at a steady pace. The experience really lets you experience the Lapland landscape in a very personal manner. The track runs through a pine tree forest and small open areas. There are a few photo stops as well as a snack stop in a hut with open fire. Be respectful and keep in mind to interact with your reindeer in a calm manner; they will let you pet them but if you are being loud, you might make the animals uncomfortable.
At the end of the trip, you will be provided with a reindeer driver’s license. The shorter safari trip lasts three hours but there are many activities available through the park both during winter and summer season. There is also a café, souvenir store and an auditorium where visitors can learn about local wildlife as well as an exhibition hall.
There are many options to get to Salla. If you have plenty of time, the drive to Salla is approximately ten hours. There is an alternative option of taking a flight and bus transfer. You can catch a flight to Kuusamo Airport from Helsinki and get a shuttle bus from airport to Salla. The drive should take about an hour and a half. A third option would be to take a train from Helsinki to neighbouring Kemijärvi and take a bus to Salla. Both the bus from Kemijärvi and shuttle bus from Kuusamo Airport run frequently.
If you are staying in a hotel in Salla, there is a possibility of shuttle buses to the ski slopes and Salla Reindeer Park but if you are staying in cottages, renting a car is highly recommended as it will also make it easier for you to get food from shops in the town centre.
Staying in Salla
There are many accommodations near the ski slope, ranging from hotels to cottages. If you are travelling as a group, do consider staying in cottages. The cottages are extremely cosy and warm, most will likely have a well-equipped kitchen and a fireplace. If you are lucky, you might get a sauna too. Some places might require you to bring your own sleeping bags and towels.
You can check and book available accommodation options for your travel date via Salla Ski Resort’s webpage (link below).
If you love winter sports or want to have a scenic winter experience, Salla is worth the visit. It is a great place for families, friends or those who want to take time off and indulge themselves in the Finnish winter.