Monday, 2 May 2011

Day Four- Snowmobiling & Free Day in Ruka

We transferred through to Ruka today for a free day in which we chose to do the optional activity of snowmobiling with Northern Light Safaries. I was pretty nervous about getting on the back of Ben's snowmobile- they are like jet skis but for snow and the last time I was on the back of a jet ski I ended up being thrown off at speed and skimming along the sea like a stone!

Anyway, we got kitted up in overalls and helmets and drove down to a frozen lake to a practice track around some cones. It felt like Ben thought he was on a motorbike, and I was sure we were going to tip over at any moment. I attempted to drive… well I got on drove for about a second then decided being a terrified passenger was better than being a terrified driver… so off we went.

Once I’d got over the fear of Ben rolling the machine, it was actually great fun. Speeding along the groomed snowmobile tracks, across roads and through woodland. There were some fairly steep uphills that were fun, trying to hold onto Ben’s waist in mitts and keep a good grip whilst trying to stand and lean forward so I didn’t fall off the back, but thankfully I held on!

Other parts were flat ride roads across plains where Ben held back from the person in front, then without warning (usually as I relaxed my grip around him) suddenly pulled the throttle and we were off- with me half screaming half laughing. For Ben it was like having a really cool boy’s toy and he loved it.

At the half way point we stopped at a cute little mountain hut for coffee and enjoyed sitting in the sun. It was like an Lapland playground for children with mini snowmobiles on a track, a kids husky sled ride and reindeer sleigh rides as well as a toboggan run.

Soon it was back off towards Ruka and Ben really seemed to let rip at every opportunity, creating more screams and giggles from the back seat J Especially when we got back to the lake and hit 70kph - which sounded good until the guide admitted he’d hot 100kph! The weirdest thing was going to fill up with petrol, obviously normal for snowmobiles to pull up at the petrol pumps to fill up in Finland, but for us ‘Southerners’ it was quite unique!

Back in Ruka, we had hoped to spend the afternoon snowboarding. The runs looked short but good fun with nicely groomed snow and no queues for the lift, but we got back so late we didn’t have time and instead had lunch of sauté reindeer with mashed potato and lingonberry jam whilst overlooking the ski runs at Restaurant Piste.

A bit of gift shopping and a few beers watching a Finnish band sing English songs, including ‘Summer of 69’ and it was off back to Basecamp.

After dinner a few of us wrapped up warm and headed down to the lake to take photo’s of the amazingly starry night sky. A light cloud cover meant the photo’s didn’t take, but to the eye there were still thousands and millions of stars. I stood hoping for the Northern Lights to show, but again no such luck L

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