WILDERNESS SAFARI – Grab your cameras and head out to the on-site Ranua Wildlife Park for an outdoor safari beginning with the birds, from eagles to owls, and seeing wolverines, moose, beavers and otters, finally ending with the reindeer. The main highlight is feeding time with the two fluffy white and black-haired arctic foxes. They are extremely rare — only 30-odd in the wild — largely due to the aggressive nature of the red fox that has overrun most of Europe. We also saw a male polar bear — from a distance. The park is lucky to have both a male and female resident, with a breeding success resulting in a cub now at Vienna Zoo. On our visit, the female was pregnant and resting.
SNOWMOBILING – Not for our under-10s unfortunately — children need to be old enough to reach the pedals— but a chance for older teens and adults to drive a snowmobile through the woods. Ours were, instead, pulled on a sleigh behind the guide as the adults followed on the snowmobiles. The older ones were allowed to drive around on the snowmobiles in circles when we got to the halfway point.
HUSKY SLED RIDE – Our group managed more than one tumble, quite a lot of tangled-up huskies, an overturned sled and a lot of laughter (and a little crying). So, an apology to our guide, Lionel who looked truly broken by the end of this activity. It’s not that his instructions weren’t dear. He said: “Always keep your feet on the brake when you stop or the huskies will go. If you take your feet off the sleigh the huskies will go. If you stop, keep both feet on the brake or the huskies will go. To turn left, lean left and to turn right, lean right. Do not take your feet off the sleigh or you will find the huskies will go.” Check. Got all that. The huskies did go. And stop a lot too. Would we do it again? Er, it’s probably best to come back to us on that.
SLEDS, SNOWMEN & SNOW ANGELS – If the sun sets early what can you do? Go sledding and make snow angels in the dark. There are ideally positioned hills near the lodgings, which provide sleds. Up and down, and up and down. Repeat until freezing. Or until one of you decides to build a snowman. Ace.