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Winter Sports in Scandinavia

Scandinavians spend about half of the year under snow, which makes this a great region of Europe to visit if you yourself are snow inclined. There's lots to try - ski slopes, cross country tracks, dog sled safaris (how cool is that?), ice climbing…or simply falling in love with the northern lights.

The ski resorts of Sweden stretch from Riksgränsen in the Arctic Circle, in the far north, down the backbone of the Swedish mountains in the north-west, and then wind east into the county of Dalarna. With its northerly latitude, most ski resorts guarantee snow between Christmas and Easter. So you can ski in Sweden against a backdrop of the Midnight Sun, and the kaleidoscopic curtain of the Northern Lights. Where else in the world can you do that?

Ski resorts are many and snow conditions usually excellent in Norway. Try dog sledging or drive your own snowmobile. And go hunting for the northern lights.

There are alpine ski resorts and trails for cross-country skiing throughout the country. First-timers are usually impressed by the fast and efficient lift systems, comparatively short lift queues and the most modern ski equipment for hire.

Skiing in Norway is neither a fashionable fad nor an international industry. More than anything it is Norway’s national sport, and Norwegians’ favorite way of appreciating their stunning and pristine landscape. In a land passionate about its history and culture, skiing is one of the most cherished of all traditions.

Winter skiing, both downhill and cross-country, are available in many parts of the Iceland and are most popular in Blafjoll, near Reykjavik, and Hlidarfjall, near Akureyri. The season usually lasts from December to April.

It’s easy to arrange a tour on one of Iceland’s magnificent glaciers. You ascend by bus or 4-wheel drive vehicle and then explore the glacier on your own, by snowmobile. Because of the risk of hidden cracks in the glaciers, only visit glaciers on organized tours with experienced operators and guides. After all, there’s all the freedom in the world - once you make it to the top. Jeep safaris are only offered during the summer months but it is possible to take snowmobiles to the glacier year round.

The Finns know a thing or two about snow. In northern Finland there are already snow flurries in September, and white stuff on the ground from November until May. So, as the snow lies thick on the roof and a warm fire burns in the tile stove, Fins have had time to think of a few things to do in the winter. Poke your nose out the door. The air is dry, cold and fresh. The spruce branches are heavy with snow; the skis are leaning against the wall. What will you do today? Ski, go for a dogsled ride, go ice fishing? All, at whatever pace you wish.

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