Snowmobiling is a way of life in Lapland. There is no more exhilirating way of exploring the wintery woods than on your own snowmobile.
A carefully managed network of trails criss-cross the beautiful winter expanses of North West Finland. You follow forest tracks, cross frozen lakes and speed across snowy plains.
We took a guided snowmobile tour with Perhitsafarit, based in Levi.
The operators gave you guidance on how to drive and handle the snowmobile. They also provide the correct clothing - oversuit, helmets, gloves, balaclavas and boots. You still need to ensure you are wearing lots of thermal layers underneath.
Children under 10 are not allowed on the snowmobiles, but can ride in a covered sleigh which is towed by the guide's snowmobile. It is safe and convenient, albeit a little bumpy at times, but our 6 year old son loved it. Children under 2 years of age are not permitted to ride, but I would have thought to be safe on the sleigh they need to be minimum of 5 years old.
We travelled through the forest and across 2 frozen lakes. Our train of snowmobiles stopped for about 10 minutes on the lake, where we got the most incredible view of the sun setting over the forest - it was about 1:30pm.
Our tour in total was 15km. We stopped at the half way point - a reindeer farm. We all left the snowmobiles, went inside and had coffee and doughnuts then had about half an hour to have a look at the reindeer.
Children were allowed to feed moss to the reindeer. There was an igloo you could explore and a couple of sledges harnessed up to 2 white reindeer which you could sit in.
The reindeer are interesting animals. All winter long they pull sledges - mainly for tourists and stay in the various reindeer farms. In the summer they do not "work" but are allowed to roam freely in the forests. Every winter though, amazingly, they make their own way back to their own farms - every reindeer knows where it needs to go and goes back!
Afterwards we got back on our snowmobiles and travelled again to Levi. The journey back was quite fast - much more speedy than on the way there. We sped and bumped across the tracks - riding as a passenger you really have to hold on for dear life! The whole thing was an amazing experience - an adrenalin rush from start to finish, full of thrills and exhiliration.