Picture a quaint Nordic skiing village filled with hotels, tasty restaurants, and a plethora of ski hills that would make the avid sportsman very excited. That is only just a brief description of Levi, the skiing village just north of Kittila in Lapland, Finland. There was one thing I knew I wanted to accomplish when Tor and I visited Levi – and that was skiing! Believe it or not, I have never been skiing before in my life, and I really wanted to give it a try in Finland. Besides, I am married to a Canadian so I should probably learn at some point, right?
We were slated to have a skiing lesson at 10 am on our second day at Levin Iglut with Levi Ski Resort. I had been waiting for this day for so long! I have always wanted to try skiing but I always chickened out whenever we visited Whistler. This time there would be no excuses. No matter what, I was determined to go skiing in Levi. But the weather had other plans. While eating breakfast at Levin Iglut, stuffing ourselves with fuel for our day of sport, our Levi guide Tarja approached us with some bad news. It was -34 degrees on the ski hill at the moment. YIKES. Now, some daredevils can ski at -20 degrees, but -34 degrees is basically only for snowmen. The weather was supposed to get much warmer throughout the day with a forecast of snow, so Tarja rearranged our ski lesson for the afternoon and she planned a surprise for us for the morning instead – a visit to the Game of Thrones hotel!
Visiting the Game of Thrones ice hotel was high on our list for when we came to Lapland, but we didn’t think we would have enough time. Everyone had been tweeting us and messaging us on social media about the hotel and that we needed to try to make it there if we could. So when Tarja said she had already arranged a private tour, we were STOKED. She was too, as she was excited to the iconic White Walker hotel room. We all hopped into the car and drove the 30 min south towards Kittila to the ice hotel. If you have ever wanted to feel like Game of Thrones has come to life, this place is it. No detail is ignored, and you can tell a lot of research went into all of these sculptures. Can you believe it took 50 men but only 4 weeks to build the entire hotel? Color me impressed! We were lucky enough to be escorted around the hotel with one of the “ice architects” himself. One funny thing about the entire building is how short some of the door entryways are getting. That’s because the snow and ice are always melting, even when it’s -20 degrees outside. Eventually, the ice hotel will melt away and another theme will be built instead. Tor and I suggested they keep the Game of Thrones theme going, since it’ll be another year and a half before the final season airs on HBO.
Thanks to my Moon Boots, my feet never got cold once inside the hotel. I sat down at the Game of Thrones dining table like I most definitely belonged in Winterfell and was ready to order some of Sansa’s favorite lemoncakes. There was also a map of Westeros carved completely out of snow and ice, the Mountain carved out of ice, but the real star was the Iron Throne carved out of ice. You couldn’t sit on the throne (trust me, I begged haha), but seeing it was enough for me! There was also a dragon slide made out of ice that was built for kids, but since Tor and I are basically children, we went down that slide. There’s also a bar carved out of ice with a giant Drogon presiding over you as you decide on which alcoholic beverage you’re going to sip. Just pray Olenna Tyrell didn’t touch your cup like she did at Joffrey’s wedding (wink wink).
After our tour, we headed back into Levi for some lunch. More skiers were out and about us, making us feel like the weather was finally on our side for some skiing in Levi. We made our way over to South Point and got suited up in our ski gear. Skiing for the first time meant making sure I did it in style, so I was thrilled to be dressed head to toe in Perfect Moment. I looked the part in my ski jacket, suspenders, and sweater. I could have stayed in this outfit all day, actually. In fact, I did!
I was introduced to my instructor, who told me that in just 2 days after our afternoon together, he was going to be flying to South Korea as a volunteer for the Olympics! After a great start learning some basics when it comes to skiing (and Tor not missing a moment catching it all on video to make fun of me later), my instructor felt I was ready to start going down some bunny hills. I wasn’t nervous or scared – I was ready to try! It was so much fun! I was skiing in Levi! I began questioning why I never tried skiing before, and suddenly I wanted to book another skiing trip. After nearly 2 hours outside learning how to ski, Tor and his instructor went off to the main pistes, as my Canadian husband is more skilled in skiing than I am. I stayed behind and continued to learn how to come to a stop. Unfortunately, I threw my hip out before I could attempt to slow down and my instructor had to come to my rescue. Despite that hiccup, I was thrilled to have learned to ski in Finland and would happily return with friends to do it all over again! Tor came down the mountain with the biggest snow covered smile on his face as he realized just how much he missed skiing.
Our ski excursion in Levi was exactly what we wanted it to be – a fun day in the snow. We had spent so much time outdoors in Finland by this point in our trip, but skiing in Levi was our final Finnish adventure before we were to head home. It was the best way to end 10 amazing days in Finland.
Would you try skiing in Levi?
Thank you to Levi Tourism and Levi Ski Resort for hosting our day. As always, opinions in this post are my own.
Photos by Torrance Coombs.