Fly from Gatwick to Kuusamo, transfer to Basecamp Oulanka (approx 45 mins).
In the morning we are provided with all of the equipment needed for a week of activities in arctic conditions. Strapping on a pair of snowshoes we head straight out into Oulanka National Park where we are taught the necessary skills. Our route today will take us through snow-caked trees and along the Kitkajoki River, passing an old flour mill that sits adjacent to the dramatic Myllykoski rapids (approx 2½ hours). The afternoon is free for further exploration of the surrounding area or relaxation in the sauna or hot-tub.
Today we experience the Scandinavian-born sport of cross-country skiing. Heading down to the nearby Juuma lake, our instructor will literally walk us through the basics of how to cross-country ski. There may be a few tumbles to start with, but in the soft snow this is half the fun. After becoming more confident on the skis we then head out onto the lake, gliding through the virgin powder. In the afternoon, keep hold of your skis as there is the option of further unguided skiing in the area.
After breakfast we take a short transfer to the nearby Riisitunturi National Park where we meet up with our dogsledding guide. The day begins with tuition on how to ride on the sled and the importance of caring for the huskies correctly. We then head off into the woods where our teams of dogs eagerly await our arrival, ready to take us on our 10km mushing adventure. Our route takes us deep into the National Park and up onto the surrounding fjell where we are rewarded with a fantastic view. Travelling on your own sled, you are able to really appreciate the serenity of this beautiful snow-laden landscape. The afternoon is free to experience some of the optional activities that Basecamp has to offer such as ice-climbing (min 4 persons).
Free day in Ruka, transfers are included. Downhill skiing and snowmobile safaris are available. See 'Extra Expenses' section in the Trip Notes.
Today we are taught the ancient art of quinzee building. Issued with shovels and spades and in groups of four we create a mound of snow, which is later hollowed out to make sleeping quarters (2-3 persons per quinzee). You have the option of sleeping in your construction, but the lodge is just a short walk away if you prefer the warmth of your room.
Free day. Options include unguided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; downhill skiing at nearby Ruka (transport and skiing not included); or further dogsledding and snowmobile safaris. As a farewell celebration, we have the option of eating dinner around a campfire, or in a tepee (Kota) on the edge of the National Park.
Short guided visit to the famous mill by the Kitka River and Myllykoski Rapids. Transfer to Kuusamo, fly to London.