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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! I was ice-floating in Lapland!

Ice-floating in 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, a husky safari, 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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A 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! 🙂



Booking.com

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!

Search for hotels in Ylläsjärvi (Booking.com).

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. From Kittilä Airport, there’s a frequent bus service to Ylläs.

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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27 Responses

  • What a great experience. I love Lapland. I was there a few years ago and did the Ice Castle in Kemi, which was also pretty amazing.

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

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  • 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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