VIDEO: Ice Swimming above the Arctic Circle
It’s not every day that you get to jump into a mostly frozen lake between Northern Finland and Russia, but when you do, you better be ready to jump in. And so goes the story of how Marina and I ended up doing just that. While on a trip to Finland a few weeks ago, we found ourselves well above the arctic circle, in the Lapland region in a small town named Salla. Neither of us had ever been anywhere so magical, we felt like we were in a snow globe the entire time.
While we enjoyed some of the most amazing snow activities during our time in Salla, easily the most extreme experience was ice swimming. We knew a couple days ahead of time that we would be partaking but sincerely did not know exactly what we were in for. As we drove through the heavy snowfall and deep into the Finnish woods, we came upon a small wooden building with a single lamp outside, perched on the side of a massive lake. What we were in for was one of the most invigorating evenings we’d had in awhile.
The Finns have a passion for their saunas, as each house is built firstly around the sauna, and in the winter months they pair this traditional activity with its extreme opposite, ice swimming. Quickly jumping from the icy cold waters to the pipping hot (167F) sauna, we were shocked by how alive, invigorated and healthy the whole experience made us feel.
While many Finns do this up to twice a week during the winter months, and many children are raised doing variations (ie. rolling in snow if there is no lake), we might not be up for going ice swimming weekly, but much to our surprise we both would be very open to ice swimming again and there could be no better place than Salla, Finland.
.H . Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll respond super fast!