Spring, in the Arctic means playtime to the locals. Each day brings more daylight, warmer temperatures and more trails that are open and maintained. Hence, this is the time of the year when Finns living in the south come north to play and to ski.
Some might argue that the landscape isn't as spectacular in spring as it is in the midst of winter since the sun melts the snow from the trees and you no longer have the 'fairy-tale' feel. However, this is probably more than compensated for by the warmer days (generally -5 to -15C, even though the nights might still be very cold) and increased daylight hours.
However, daytimes tend to bring much warmer temperatures and you may need to take off your outer layers in order to be comfortable whilst active. This is a great time of year, therefore, for the multiday safaris - particularly for those who don't want so much of an extreme adventure. Families hoping to participate in longer safaris with children, for instance, are encouraged to wait until late Spring when there is a more relaxed pace and plenty of time in the evenings to tell stories, play with the dogs, sauna and recap the day.
It is safe to say that we will be mushing, with clients, through the end of April and it is fairly safe to say that we can keep the shorter trails open until at least mid-May. Very occassionally, we are still skiing on frozen lakes at the end of June. However, this is not something that can be counted upon.
At the end of the season we have a second transition period (generally from mid April through the first week of May) when we tend to have fewer clients but those that do come can still take part in very intensive training sessions. At this time of year the dogs are fit and the guides experienced enough to really play with whatever conditions are out there. Sometimes they are great, still, and we train all day on sleighs. Sometimes they are icy and we may have to quit training for a few days at a time for the safety of the dogs and at one point the snow melts but the temperatures are still cold enough for the dogs to run. Hence, when the snow finally goes at some point in May and the lakes thaw, we bring the quadbikes back out and fine-tune running skills for older dogs by training things like GEE and HAW whilst at the same time giving the newest pups their first chance to train before the warm summer days dictate that it is time for a well-earned holiday.
More information can be found, here, about the husky guiding camp which we run, annually and farm activities and tours which are possible year-round, and summer activities like kayaking may also be possible depending on the temperature. Information about other autumn activities availabile in Enontekiö as a whole can be found from the location section which goes into a lot of detail about the wilderness areas, national parks and hiking trails that you might like to explore. NB: Late August to early October are arguably the best times of year here for hiking and biking and you will be amazed by the autumn colours which sweep the landscape from east to west.
In spring, local entrepreneurs organise Hetta Snow Adventure Week and Ice Fishing Contests. Kilpisjärvi, in the western ‘arm’ of Enontekio, attracts many spring tourists for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling (particularly for Norwegians). Guided trips are arranged by accommodation sites, and Kilspisjärvi also boasts its own Snow Adventure Week Program. Many tourists ski to the Three Countries Border Marker, visit Siilastupa Information Point or explore the regions many nature trails.
Soon after this time, the snow goes - usually within a period of two weeks - and we are into the end days of spring. These are cool, crisp and fresh and it is genuinely a nice time to be in the Arctic.