Enjoy Winter Scandinavian Style
What are you doing this evening? Bet they won't be as memorable as catching a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights after a day cross-country skiing through stunning scenery or after tackling a World Cup slalom in a frozen forest. Unlike the Alps, Scandinavian countries can add more to your winter experience. The snow here last for up to six months, and it offers more than a day on the piste, with some amazing adventures.
Welcome to Finland, where you'll find plenty of white stuff all the way through to mid-April. The conditions are also perfect if you are a beginner - check out the gentle slopes and English-speaking ski schools - or want to enjoy unforgettable winter experiences from a trip on a reindeer sleigh to a snowmobile safari. Don't forget to stop off and warm up by the open fire in a 'kota' log shelter, relax with a spot of ice river floating, or even embark on a husky safari.
When we think of chilling Scandi-style we think of cosy log cabins and outside hot tubs and saunas - and for that, we suggest you head to Sweden. The locals know how to keep things efficient and that means fewer queues than elsewhere, and with a good spread of runs from green to black - day or night, Sweden is great for all skiing abilities. The après scene can be every bit as alive as in France, especially if you're out in Åre on the weekend.
Have a go at thrilling activities like ice diving, snowshoe walking and dog sledding and taste the traditional Swedish cuisine, including delicacies like reindeer, seafood and berries.
In Norway, skiing is also a way of life. With such reliable conditions and well-groomed runs, it is no surprise they have won more gold medals at the Winter Olympics than any other nation. Try cross-country or Nordic skiing and even snowmobiling. If you fancy something really different, head to Beitostølen, where adrenaline junkies can have a go at snow tubing while a more sedate evening can be enjoyed in a mountaintop tepee or levvu tent, where you can tuck into a warming venison stew around the fire. A truly memorable experience.
Trysil and Hemsedal both have some great bars, with plenty of live music and dancing on the tables, and don't forget to try the national firewater, Akevitt.