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I closed my eyes. Tiny snowflakes drifted onto my face. I tried to register a sound but there were none. Just silence. My body felt weightless, like I was hovering in mid-air, yet I knew I wasn’t. It was a strangely soothing feeling as I felt my muscles quite literally unwind, from my fingers right down to my toes. The sensation of total relaxation surprised me, considering where I was at that very moment: strapped into a thick rubber survival suit and floating in a hole carved out of a frozen lake, 150km north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland!

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Floating in an icy pool in a frozen lake!

Ice-floating is one of many winter activities in Finnish Lapland. In Ylläs (pronounced as ‘Ool-las’), the premier winter sports destination in Finland, you can embark on all sorts of activities including snowshoe hikes, husky-sledding, reindeer and snowmobile safaris. When I heard about the ice-floating experience in a nearby lake, I didn’t have to think twice!

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The smoke sauna

On our way to the lake, we passed a smoke sauna (a traditional Lappish experience) before being led into a cute house where I was hoisted, fully-clothed, into a thick survival suit. These suits were designed for Arctic expeditions but here in Ylläs, they have a more relaxing purpose: to keep you warm and afloat in the icy water of the frozen Lake Ylläsjärvi. I had a look at myself in the mirror and burst out laughing – I looked like a Teletubby in that bulky suit!

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I know, I look ridiculous in this Teletubby suit! 🙂

Once we were tightly strapped in, we received the green light to venture outside. We trudged through the snow to the lake which was completely frozen except for a ‘pool’ that had been carved out of the ice. After a few instructions, I slowly lowered myself onto the ladder and into the water. The air in the suit rushed from the legs to my upper body, creating a vacuum effect around my legs and the opposite effect around my upper body (which started to look like the ‘Michelin Man’!). Once my feet touched the lake bed, I allowed myself to lean backwards and drift away.

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Descending into the water with my bloated upper body

The first thought that crossed my mind was the sensation of floating in mid-air. “Is this what it feels like in zero-gravity?”, I pondered. The water was calm and the suit kept me warm and snug. My mind and body relaxed in an instant. I lifted my head up every so often to remind myself of where I was. It was surreal to see the frozen lake, the snow-covered trees and the icy water I was in. The only part of my body that started to get cold were my hands.

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Drifting away…..
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…into a blissfull state!

I floated in the pool for about 20-odd minutes in a blissful state before paddling back to the ladder. It was an unworldly experience, one that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a surreal (and very relaxing) winter experience in Lapland.

Book an ice-floating experience or go ice-floating at night (in Rovaniemi) and if you’re lucky, you might also see the Northern Lights above you as you float!

Getting there: the closest airport to Ylläs is in Kittilä, about a 40-minute bus-ride away. There are scheduled flights from Helsinki as well as a variety of chartered services from various points in Europe to Kittilä.

Note: a big thank you goes to Visit Finland and Ylläs for hosting me in Lapland. As always, all opinions expressed above are mine.

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24 Responses

  • Hi would you know if this activity is possible n the second week of November?

  • […] As a blogger, one photo Jenkins posted (of ice floating) was viewed 2,000 times and resulted in four bookings for a travel company […]

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    […] a blogger, one photo Keith posted (of ice floating) was viewed 2,000 times and resulted in 4 bookings for the company […]

  • I was in one of those suits when I went rapid floating in Finland. Rapid floating is a bit misleading as it conjures up images of relaxing, as in your piece above. It is much more like rafting the rapids but without a raft – you are the raft. It is exhilarating and fun. You can read about my experiences on my website

  • I was there in late-February. Not sure what it’s like in late-Dec. but I suspect it’s dark for a long part of the day but then you get to see the ‘silver light’. 🙂

  • hi, in what period of the year did you go? I am considering end Dec/beginning of Jan. Would you recommend it or you think it’d be too dark?

  • awesome! I would love to do this too and if u say you look ridiculous on the suit, how much more I? If id be wearing those, for my short size, I wonder they got one haha.

    Tranquility at its best in Lapland!

    Cheers!

  • […] van beperkt content met een immense effect) en is een add-on. Keith heeft bijvoorbeeld een beeld van een ice-floating excursie in Lapland geupload en heeft achteraf van een touroperator te horen […]

  • Tranquility! Looks nice 🙂 These Teletubby suites are a brilliant thing – and have saved many sailors and fishermen from drowning in the cold sea.

  • How destinations can succeed in the blogoshere · Weblog | Reismanagers

    […] van beperkt content met een immense effect) en is een add-on. Keith heeft bijvoorbeeld een beeld van een ice-floating excursie in Lapland geupload en heeft achteraf van een touroperator te horen […]

  • This is so cool- It’s like floating in the ocean but taken to a whole other level! Must have been curiously fun.

  • That ‘teletubby’ suit is hysterical! I’ve never heard of ice floating before, looks like you were having fun though 🙂

  • When you’re in that suit & floating, time just flies by. I nearly dozed off several times. 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Haha, thanks for your comment Claudi. Outer space is a great description. It sure felt like it. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

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