5 below freezing point, fun adventures in Ruka

If you enjoy outdoors adventures, don’t let low temperatures, ice and snow stop you. There are a lot of great fun outdoors adventures to do below freezing point. Here’s a list of 5 super fun adventurous things to do during the winter season in Ruka Kuusamo, Finland.

Photo: Maria Mikkonen

1. Ice Climbing
I tried ice climbing for the first time in January 2016 and I must say, what a fun and challenging activity! In minus 20 C we dressed up in wool, fleece and winter clothes, strapped on our climbing harness, spiked up our shoes and put on our helmet and tried to beat gravity climbing up the steep ice wall using ice picks. It is actually harder than it looks when you don’t know the technique, but once you got the hang of it, it’s as easy as normal climbing.

Photo: Maria Mikkonen

Photo: Maria Mikkonen
Photo: Maria Mikkonen

2. Ice Carting
Have you tried driving a normal car on an icy road? It can be pretty scary and unpredictable. Have you ever tried driving a go cart car on an icy race track? It is so much fun! We tried out driving these small cars and it only took one round before the race was on. Remember to wear to layers of gloves, prefarably wool first. Your fingers are going to get cold when clinging on to the steering wheel trying to avoid spinning your car, driving into the snow or crashing into the others.

Photo: Maria Mikkonen
It was pretty cold but so much fun!!

3. Ice Bathing
You don’t visit Finland in the winter without trying ice bathing. Most of the Finns combine the hot and steamy sauna with trips outside to go dipping in the icy cold water in a hole in the ice. It is the most refreshing thing you can ever imagine and it actually doesn’t feel as cold as you think it will. Roll in the snow after and then head in to the hot sauna again. Guarantied a great travel story you will tell your friends and family for years to come!

PS: In Ruka you can also try out an ice sauna! That's right...a sauna made completely out of ice

4. River floating
Can you imagine floating all by yourself slowly down an icy cold river in the middle of the woods just as the sun sets and the magic blue hour starts? It’s an experience of a lifetime! To be able do this you simply dress up in lots of warm clothes and put a survival suit on top. Finishing with a floating west and a helmet you are good to go. River floating will make you experience the strangest adrenaline kick you have ever had, feeling both excited, thrilled, calm and relaxed at the same time. If you are really lucky, you will have the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) dancing across the sky above you as you float calmly down the river.

Photo: Maria Mikkonen
Photo: Maria Mikkonen

5. Make snow out of hot boiling water!
You can actually do this! I tried it out when visiting the Oulanka National Park and it was so much fun. The temperature outside was minus 34 C (!) and I brought 1 liter of hot boiling water in a mug outside. I threw the water up in the air, and it fell down like snow! Amazing!

Also, when it's minus 34 degrees C and you are hiking in the woods, you might end up looking like this, with eyelashes and hair filled with ice crystals!