The immense spectacle of a frozen white Lake Inari skirted by dark birch and pine trees along the faraway shoreline is a visual treat for every onlooker. The sub-zero conditions, freezing you to the bone & fluttering snowflakes around is an extravagance of awesomeness served fresh & plenty. I call it a luxury from the Arctic land for everyone to immerse themselves into the typical outdoor winter vibe. But, the question on my mind right now – how long is this privilege going to last?
If I were to put it, Lapland is more of a way of life than a mere region. A way of life kept and sustained by the Sami people. The same group of reindeer herders whose lives revolve around the reindeers, as they work alongside them and mostly live off them. But the arctic life and wildlife all depend heavily on extreme winter conditions. Winter season comes as the enabler for these cute animals not just to survive but also thrive.
The famed Arctic Winter has not been living up to people’s expectations in the past couple of years. A glimpse of which can be seen right from the start of summers. Over the years, summer in Lapland has set the mercury soaring, and eventually less snowfall has impacted the famed winter in Lapland. Things have not been as impressive as it ought to be otherwise. Lappish winter has fallen short of everyone’s expectation, thus leaving reindeer, huskies, other arctic wildlife, and those directly dependent on them in disarray. Add to the misery, the global lockdown owing to the COVID 19 pandemic, and tourism and hospitality professionals have found themselves in the middle of a crisis.
Lapland, also referred by some as Sapmi – the landmass straddling the Arctic Circle region, and running from the northern part of Norway in the west, through Sweden and Finland, to the Kola peninsula of Arctic Russia in the east, is a paradise for nature devotees. The taiga here is a mostly high plateau, covered with pine and spruce forests. The grassland remains more or less the same, just that they slim down further upward the north and is called Tundra. Winters in these regions are unforgiving, long, dark and full of exciting vistas.
There are parts of Northern Lapland that receive first snow as early as September. The surface starts thickening by the end of October and stays until April of the following year. Thus the perfect turf for sleigh and snowmobiles to skid on! These two happen to be the two most frequent sights and a major source of livelihood during winter in Lapland.
Until a few years back, the heatwaves during summers seldom soared beyond the 20-degree Celsius mark which is a common occurrence now. Recent summers in Lapland brought unseasonably high temperatures, with records being not just broken, but smashed, an outcome of the global warming impact that we are facing. In July 2018, Rovaniemi, also popular as the “official hometown of Santa Claus” – registered an unprecedented maximum temperature of 32-degree celsius.
So, where is all this heading? It is evident, isn’t it? Mild winter and unbearable summer are certainly not normal anymore. It’s high time we took the climate emergency as a top priority and worked to cut down carbon emission. Else, Lapland and many such Arctic lands will suffer from such anomalies in times to come, and the famed Arctic winter will become a distant memory. What are your thoughts on this? Share in the comments below.