A family vacation in Finland offers plenty of skiing and off slope activities for the young, and young at heart, alike. Unlike the ski resorts of the Alps, Finland offers ski resorts in the midst of untouched natural surroundings, with lakes, mountains and forests all around. Some of the ski areas are in Lapland, within the Arctic Circle while others such as Ruka lie further south.

Lapland offers gentle skiing and a host of other activities. Saariselka in northern Lapland is the home of the Samis, reindeer herders and children will truly believe they are in Santa’s hometown. Stay in a self catered log cabin complete with a log fire, and Christmas decorations. Reindeer sleighs and snowmobiles are popular here and so are dog sledding and tobogganing. Visit the Ice gallery to view intricate ice sculptures in the Igloo village, and the magic of the Aurora Borealis will remain in your heart forever.

Ruka boasts of a long ski season and was the venue of the 2005 Freestyle world championship. Located in north east Finland, Ruka offers slopes for all levels of skiers and skiing under lights in the evening is very popular here. Snowboarders have two dedicated parks with half pipes, and challenging tabletops rails and corners. The international level Vuosseli SuperPipe and the reshaped BoarderCross course have made this a snowboarder’s paradise.

Ruka offers excellent instructors in alpine and cross country skiing at the ski school. This is one of the best resorts in Scandinavia and there are wonderful restaurants and bars for fun apres-ski. Enjoy a Finnish sauna and several indoor activities when it gets too cold for the slopes. Snowshoeing and skidoo are other popular activities in Ruka.

Pyha resort town is in the heart of a national park around the Pyha Mountain. The resort has twenty-four runs suitable for skiers of all abilities and is serviced by seven lifts. This resort is popular with the younger crowd because of the apres-ski fun here. A lot of off piste skiing is available here and would delight powder enthusiasts. Pyha hosts the annual Finnish Alpine Skiing Championships and is the training ground for the Finnish freestyle skiing team.

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