Friday, November 1, 2013

Family Ski Holiday in Lapland

You know how it is when you take the family away, if the children are happy, everyone's happy, right? This is why it is so important to choose a family friendly resort. The ski resort of Ruka in Finnish Lapland, close to the Arctic Circle, is the perfect place for a family ski holiday.

1. Free Lift Passes - As long as they are accompanied by an adult and wear a helmet, children under the age of 7 get to use the ski lifts in Ruka for free.

2. Children's Ski Lessons - Ruka ski school, the longest running ski school in Finland, runs children-only ski lessons for all levels of ability from beginner to expert, meaning the children get to mix with other kids and are taught in a way that is designed for children and not adults.

3. Safe Ski Areas -Three, free to use, cordoned off ski areas next to the main slopes with drag lifts and magic carpet lifts that are quiet, safe places for children to learn without having to worry about other skiers on the Ruka ski slopes.

4. Safe Sledging Area - A giant, friendly snowman, as tall as a two story building, watches over the Ruka children's sledging area that is next to the main slopes but sectioned off with a snow wall to keep them safe.

5. Children's indoor and outdoor play areas and nursery. Whatever the weather there is somewhere for the kids to play either accompanied by parents or in the care of a child minder at the nursery.

6. Children's Adventure Ski Slope - A special ski run dotted with activities and things to discover designed especially for the kids on Ruka ski slopes. There is even a mini reindeer park half way down so you can stop and watch the reindeer.

7. Children's Play Areas in Restaurants - Finland is a very child friendly place and most restaurants in Ruka offer not only a good section of children's meals but a play area in the restaurant so they can enjoy themselves whilst mum and dad relax at nearby tables.

8. Husky Sled Safaris - What's more appealing in life than a bunch of excited husky puppies all wanting to play? There are several husky farms that run husky sled trips around Ruka and they almost always have a selection of friendly puppies to coo over and play with.

9. Reindeer Sleigh rides - Want to know how it feels to travel like Santa? Not a problem, you can take your choice of a long reindeer sleigh ride through the pristine wilderness wrapped up in a sheepskin blanket or a visit to a reindeer farm to meet lots of lovely reindeer, learn more about them and take a short sleigh ride.

10. Visit Santa At Home - how many children can say they've been to Santa's real house? Baked cookies with Mrs. Claus or sat on Santa's knee in on his rocking chair whilst the cookies bake? A visit to Santa's actual house, close to the ski resort of Ruka, is something memories are made of.

And that's not to mention all the great things to do for the adults and big kids too. Things like snowmobiling, ice cart racing, snowshoeing, visits to Russia, horse riding, driving on ice, golf and fishing, to name a few as well as the 29 groomed ski slopes, a snowboard park and street, half pipe, skiing and snowboarding competitions and 800kms of cross country ski tracks.

Flying not guaranteed.

Heather Sunderland writes the ultimate travel guide to Ruka and Kuusamo combining her experience working as a ski guide in the area with her local knowledge obtained by living there for over 5 years, to bring you a comprehensive guide to Ruka and Kuusamo with an expats eye to detail.


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