Watch as photographer Frode Sandbech takes girlfriend Mari and new baby Mille on their first snowy adventure as a family. They spend their ultimate winter escape gazing at starry skies, snowboarding across the arctic wilderness and taking in the breathtaking views from Kakslauttanen Igloo Arctic Resort in Lapland, Finland. And then plan your own getaway with our guide to Lapland.
See the northern lights
The good news: winter is the best time to catch the northern lights. And the not-so-good news: Mother Nature doesn’t always play ball. To maximise your chances of seeing them, remember the three Ls – latitude, length and light. Stay north in Inari and Utsjoki where they appear most nights. The longer you stay the better the chance of a cloud-free night. And escape light pollution for the brightest view, take a snowshoe hike into the forest.
Travel by husky
Racing along at an impressive 28 miles per hour, huskies are the best guides to Lapland’s frozen tundra. Take your sled dog safari from Levi, which is surrounded by breathtaking Narnia-esque landscapes. Levi is also Finland’s biggest ski resort, with plenty of gentle green runs for beginners. By the end of the week you’ll be gunning to try its world-famous world cup slalom run.
Sleep in a cosy igloo
Being deep in a snow-clad forest, a scatter of stars for a canopy, dressed in just your swimming trunks might seem a bit unwise. But not if you’re at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Its Kelo-Glass Igloos have private saunas that give you the feeling of being right out in the Arctic forest (minus the frostbite).
Meet Arctic animals
Ranua is not your average wildlife park (it’s the world’s most northerly for a start). See Arctic foxes, polar bears, eagles, owls, musk deer, lynx and wolverines at their happiest – in sub-zero temperatures. And don’t miss the kids’ snowmobiling centre – it makes go-karting look a bit tame. Address: Rovaniementie 29, 97700 Ranua, Finland
Spot ice wolves and sip cocktails
SnowVillage makes Superman’s Fortress of Solitude look positively cramped. Built from scratch every winter, 1.5 million kilos of ice and snow goes into making this maze of arched corridors, ice restaurants and halls so cavernous that gigs and motorbike competitions have been held inside. Kids love it – there’s another giant carved-ice wolf or spiraling slide round every corner. SnowVillage also has an ice restaurant and an ice bar. When ordering a drink, don’t do the ‘Can I have ice with that?’ gag – they’ve heard it.
You can’t come to Lapland without visiting Santa. And quite rightly, he has a whole village dedicated to him. After the kids have personally delivered their list of demands to the man himself, parents can indulge in a spot of retail therapy. The shopping here ranges from reindeer jerky to Swarovski crystalware. Have you been good this year?