ylläs in lapland tops our family ski list in late spring

Our recent break to Ylläs in Finnish Lapland fulfilled all our expectations – and then some more. Whereas in winter it can be pretty cold and dark (for three months they have a total darkness as Lapland is above the Arctic Circle), late spring is the complete opposite: it’s warm and the sunlight is there from 5 am until almost midnight – which means a lot of hours in the slopes!

Ylläs, Lapland 3
Blue skies, sunshine, bird chirping and barely anyone around – this is Lapland at its’ best

Late Spring in Lapland also means that there is less snow: basically the roads are all clear from it, but there is plenty of snow for cross-country skiing and sledding and 60cm-1m+ snow on the slopes. It doesn’t look as pretty as the fresh, cold powdered snow, however, for children it is still a paradise for sledding, skiing and just playing around in the snow.

Cross-country skiing and sledding is free and many places even provide free sledding equipment

The other great points about late season skiing are that there are less people on the slopes, it’s quite easy to get skiing instructors with a short notice and the creche for tired little ones has plenty of availability – plus many places offer ski equipment hires at a discount!

Ylläs, Lapland 8
Our kids were looking forward to seeing reindeers grazing around and we weren’t disappointed!

Some of the main reason why I’d recommend Lapland for families are the many easy slopes due to the soft, rolling shapes of the Finnish mountains. You still can get rather long tracks but they are great for beginners and intermediate skiers. And there are lots of slopes to choose from, plus there are several other large ski areas nearby if you want a change of scenery.

The little practice slopes for children and their elevators, those “magical mats” are also free to use, and many other lifts were also free for children under the age of 6. I also think that the equipment rental prices as well as ski lift tickets are reasonable priced when compared to the Alps region, as are the skiing lessons.

The added bonus are the free sledding slopes and sleds that you can also borrow free of charge, and the network of cross-country skiing tracks is extensive and free to use everywhere in Finland. The ski centre also had a kids indoor playground with babysitters, and whereas I felt that the price was a bit steep (13 euros/hour), it was very convenient to drop the little ones there once they got tired of skiing and then continue skiing myself.

Ylläs, Lapland 1
Gondola takes you to the top of the mountain for great views and a meal in the restaurant

I’d recommend starting the holiday by taking the gondola to the top so that also those family members who might not be skiing would see what the area looks like as the views from the top stretches some 30km (20 miles) or more on a good day.

Ylläs, Lapland 5
This little Aurinkotupa cafe has a lot to offer for families from free sledding equipment to cross-country skiing

The thing I loved most about going to Lapland is the length of the day – in late April it’s virtually light all the time from about 5am to close to midnight, so there is plenty of time to do sports during the day. On the other hand it was harder to get the children to go to sleep, or even get them out of the sledding or skiing areas when at 8pm the sun was still high up and shining!

Ylläs, Lapland 6
I’d recommend for families and groups of friends renting a log cabin in the woods (some of them are located right by the slopes also)

My travel tip to Lapland would be to rent a whole cabin instead of just staying in a hotel. We shared ours with another family and we had 3 bedrooms, large sleeping loft, sauna and spacious kitchen-living room area where we ate the breakfast and dinner together. There was plenty of space for all the skiing stuff (and that fantastic dryer cupboard, a Finnish specialty where you can quickly dry your gear and boots) and for the children to play around – and of course a sauna with a timer waiting for the tired bunch at the end of the day. Oh joy!

If you don’t feel like cooking you can still go to local restaurants for the meals and if you feel like swimming and relaxing in a spa, you can buy separate tickets and visit the two resorts that offer spa facilities.

Ylläs, Lapland 9
“The midday rush hour in the slopes”

The weather varied during the day between -1c and 7c (30F-45F) and dropped a bit below zero (32F) during the night, meaning that on some days the slopes were a bit frozen in the morning, but they turned in the afternoon into nice, soft snow that we all loved skiing in. As there are sloped on every side of the mountain you can always find at least a couple of nice runs no matter how windy it might be on one side!

Ylläs, Lapland 7
Even on a cloudy day the views from the top of the mountain are impressive (although it can get rather windy there due to lack of trees)

You might be surprised to hear that despite me being a Finn, this was actually my first trip to Ylläs and only second one to Lapland (the first time I skied in Levi, which is some 40km (22 miles) east from here. I don’t have an extensive skiing experience, but I have tested few places in California and several places in Switzerland, Austria and France, and for family skiing currently Ylläs comes on top with Mount Shasta in California as a second.

I think next time we’ll try skiing in Finland in winter in order to experience the dark season and hopefully lots of Aurora Borealis too, not to forget visiting the ice hotel and trying out some husky or reindeer sleigh-rides too…until then we’ll dream of skiing during the hot summer months!

Ylläs, Lapland 4
Idyllic countryside views – a traditional red cottage by a lake

Do you have a great Instagram travel story to share? Read the linky rules below and join us this week. You can also join as a host and get the linky code to your site here: {The Code Page}.

You can also have an email sent to you when the Instagram Travel Thursday linky post is up (subscribe it here) and add your Instagram profile link in the Instagram Travel Thursday page and follow other travelers who have left their links there as well.

If you are not a blogger, but have an Instagram account you can tag your lovely travel moments with #IGTravelThursday hashtag – the best photos will be re-posted and shared via @IGTravelThursday account also. No blog, no Instagram – you can still join in the fun by reading our linked IG travel stories – and by giving us some feedback love!

NOTE: If you are not writing in English we also have local #IGTravelThursday Linkys in Finnish, German and Italian at the moment, so check those out too!

IG Travel Thursday Linky Rules

Leave a Reply