Home TravelTopicsAnimals Wonderful sleigh ride with price-winning reindeer Tornado in Finnish Lapland

Wonderful sleigh ride with price-winning reindeer Tornado in Finnish Lapland

by Flitter Fever
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When you think of Lapland, it’s hard not to think of reindeer, right? Visit reindeer farm Wolverine Fell Wilderness & Nature near Levi, Finland and make a reindeer sleigh ride through the snowy forest! What a wonderful experience with these beautiful, friendly animals.

Reindeer sleigh ride in Levi, Finnish Lapland
Reindeer sleigh ride in Levi, Finnish Lapland

Just donated a month of reindeer feed to my friends at Wolverine Fell Wilderness and Nature in Levi, Finnish Lapland. They need our help. In winter, the reindeer come to the farm for feeding, including my favorite reindeer named Tornado. Normally, tourists who visit the reindeer farm ensure that the bill for all that feed can be paid. But now with COVID-19 this has become a challenge. Be generous in the spirit of Christmas and help the reindeer to get through the winter. Owners/farmers Petra and Kari will buy food from your donation, you can feed them viritually. To become a buddy (from EUR 10): https://reindeerandfishing.fi/webshop/

Elisa, 26 december 2020

Winter Wonderland

The car ride from Levi center to the farm is short yet wonderful. It feels like driving through a postcard. Winter Wonderland for real. So much snow everywhere! Upon arrival at the farm, two white reindeer stare at us. I get really excited. These animals look-like they just stepped out of a Disney movie. So beautiful, it feels almost surreal. Wow!

Reindeer in Finnish Lapland
Reindeer waiting to get fed

Wolverine

The Wolverine Fell farm (Finnish: Kätkätunturin Erä ja Luonto) is owned by Kari Siirtola, a professional reindeer herder “who only speaks Finnish and reindeer language”, thus his wife Petra. She is originally from Czech Republic and manages the visitors and farm like only a strong woman can.

The farm is named after the two lakes nearby: Kätkäjärvi (Wolverine Lake) and Hukkajärvi (Wolf Lake). At this farm male reindeer live. Kari owns another farm in the area where the female reindeer live with their calves.

Wooden cabin on the farm grounds
Wooden cabin on the farm grounds
Cute reindeer in the snow
Cute reindeer in the snow

Reindeer farming

The Sami people (Laplanders) have depended on reindeer herding and fishing for centuries. Running a reindeer farm is really hard work, 7-days a week. Only respect for the owners! They obviously are passionate about these animals.

Visitors come mostly during snow season (Nov-Apr), followed by the birth of new reindeer calves (May-Jun). The reindeer are semi-wild as they are living wild and free half of the year (May-Oct). Once the snow starts to fall, the reindeer are happy to live at the farm, where they get fed a couple times a day.

Winter landscape near the lake
Winter landscape near the lake

Let’s ride!

Petra clearly instructed the group, full of sarcastic humor. She has obviously seen too many stupid people this season already haha! The group was split over seven sleighs, two persons per sleigh. Each sleigh has fur and fleece blankets for your comfort and a strong male reindeer in front.

I got to sit in the first sleigh with gorgeous reindeer Tornado – hurray! Petra told me he was the first reindeer to participate in reindeer race competitions ever. How cool is that?! Tornado rules.

Tornado galloping through the snow, pulling my sleigh. Butterflies in my stomach and a big smile on my face. What a privilege to be here.

Getting ready for a reindeer sleigh ride
Getting ready for a reindeer sleigh ride

The reindeer do not need much guidance from the sleigh rider as they know their way. No yelling or pulling please! Only when a reindeer is too slow, you may want to use some motivating sounds. Upon arrival at the hut, we fed the reindeer. A big pile of moss (lichen) is their reward for the wonderful ride.

More fun

The rest of the day depends on the package of your choice (see their website). For sure the program continues in and around the large wooden cabin close to the lake. We got some tea and coffee, flipped through the farm’s photo album, warmed up by the fire place and got further instructions from Petra for the next activity.

Feeding the reindeer at Wolverine Fell Levi
Feeding the reindeer

Ice fishing

We went ice fishing on the lake. Never did that before! This time of the year the ice is at least around 80cm thick, so nothing to worry about; it’s strong enough to carry us all safely. We got a manual drill, made a hole in the ice, threw our rod into it and sat down on our folding chair.

If you catch a fish, you will get it for lunch! Apparently I am not a natural fishing talent… After a while, we tied our rod around the folding chair and left it there for an hour or so to go for a snow-shoe walk.

Snow-shoe walk

Petra kindly assisted getting everyone’s snow shoes tied. Snow shoes look-like small snowboards, which are tied to your shoes with straps. It’s pretty comfy. Petra guided us into the forest and explains how to walk further to the top of the hill for a nice view. In the meantime she will prepare lunch.

Wow, I have never seen such thick packs of snow in my life!”

Snow-shoe walking is quite a physical excercise, especially going uphill and ‘off track’. As a first-timer I liked the fact that the show-shoe walk in this program would not take too long, less than an hour I would say, making it fun and attainable for everyone.

Snow shoe walking in Winter Wonderland
Snow shoe walking in Winter Wonderland

Lunch

We arrived back at the cabin only at 14:30h – hungry!! We get a tasty lunch with fish soup, bread and butter, hot berry juice, sweet Finnish cake, coffee and tea at the fire place. Nobody caught fish this time so no grilled fish today! We shared a table with a German couple who came all the way from Munich, Germany by car and still had to drive about 5 hours south to Oulu that night!

Once we went back to the main entrance by sleigh in the dark (daylight is short this time of the year), reindeer Tornado was obviously in the mood to go home. He galloped pretty fast. So cool! A unique experience I will not forget.

Tips

  • Upon arrival, make sure you do not park after the main entrance fence. The snow is too deep! We got stuck and had to be pulled out by the farm owners with their strong snow mobile. Stupid and not recommendable!
  • Take photos during the first sleigh ride from the entrance to the cabin, especially in Dec/Jan; by the time you head back it is already dark.
  • Try a reindeer burger at Wolverine or try some reindeer meat at one of the typical Lappish restaurants in town. Lappilainen (Finns living in Lapland) love reindeer meat and offer many different tasty dishes with it, from cold thin slices of meet (reindeer carpaccio) to soup, shank, steak, etc.

Booking

  • Book your reindeer ride as early as possible. 2-3 months ahead is highly recommendable, especially during the Christmas/NYE holidays and for March/April. This counts in general for animal related activities in Lapland (high season).
  • To check availability and booking, contact Wolverine by email.
  • Our ‘Reindeer ride – ice fishing – snowshoes – salmon soup lunch’ package was €92 per person. Really a good price for 5.5 hours of entertainment including lunch! Children between 4-12 years get a 50% discount.
  • Due to a lack of electricity and 4G at the farm, only cash payments are possible.
  • Other activities at Wolverine Fell Wilderness and Nature include: kick sled, wilderness skills, hunting, sauna and skidoo (snow mobile).
Having fun on the frozen lake
Having fun on the frozen lake
Cabin where we ate the fish soup
Cabin where we ate the fish soup

Some reindeer facts

Did you know that…

  • Reindeer lose weight during the winter and gain weight during spring/summer. Food availability and weather conditions play an important role.
  • Antlers begin to grow on male reindeer in March or April and on female reindeer in May or June. As the antler grows it is covered in thick velvet. When the antler is fully grown and hardened, the velvet is shed or rubbed off. With males it is often damaged due to fighting for their position. In late winter or early spring, male reindeer lose their antlers, growing a new, larger pair in summer. Female reindeer keep their antlers until they calve.
  • Fur is the primary insulation factor that allows reindeer to regulate their core body temperature in relation to their environment.

Have you ever been to Finnish Lapland? Or do you have plans to go? I hope this article was both inspiring and helpful for you. Please feel free to share additional tips, your experience or question in a comment below.

Interested to read more articles about Finnish Lapland? Check out the Lapland Blog Archive.

Snow shoes in Lapland
Getting my snow shoes on
Snowy forest Levi Finnish Lapland
Snowy forest

Last Updated on 12/28/2020 by Flitter Fever

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6 comments

Delaja Koedijk 01/25/2018 - 14:59

Nice sis!!
xx your sister

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Elisa from Flitter Fever 01/25/2018 - 22:00

Thanks bebe!! 😀
Xx big sis

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Naomi / AuthenticChica 03/04/2018 - 21:26

Zo gaaf meis, wat een heerlijke beleving en mooie blog! Ziet er prachtig uit daar en zou ook zo terug willen! Well done and thnx for sharing! Xxx

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Flitter Fever 03/04/2018 - 21:37

Ahh dank je wel lieve Naomi! Dit was een geweldige belevenis en herinnering die ik niet gauw zal vergeten. Momenteel druk (werk, plannen Kroatië trip) maar hoop spoedig mijn volgende Lapland blog post af te ronden. Liefs, Elisa

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nicole 01/21/2021 - 21:40

I’m so excited for my trip to Lapland. I was suppose to be there next month for an Iceclimbing and snow shoeing weekend but had to postpone. We’ve pushed it to next Feb now and decided to add a few extra nights on along with a Reindeer safari. This is making me really look forward to it.

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Flitter Fever 01/29/2021 - 19:15

That is going to be a fantastic trip, enjoy! Best regards, Elisa of flitterfever.com travel blog

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