We had been on several summer tours in Northern Sweden, and this year we wanted to see how landscape and life would be in wintertime. At the end of March 1995 we flew to Kiruna. We did not have special plans, we just wanted to spend some days in Abisko, then move to Jukkasjärvi near Kiruna, and, most important, we wanted to relax and enjoy the quietness of Northern Scandinavia compared to Central Germany.
Kiruna had a lot of snow, the Kebne Hotel was surrounded by heaps. Opposite to the hotel was a shop for graphical advertisement, and they could laminate hiking maps, which means to apply a waterproof cover. We gave them our newly bought Sarek map to have it prepared for the expected rainy days in summer. Temperatures in Kiruna were a few degrees below zero. Snow was driven across the street by the wind. The road was in good condition. Public buses were not very frequent now. We took a train to get to Abisko.
And there was only little snow, according to the fact that Abisko in the shadow of the coastal mountains has less precipitation than Frankfurt, Germany, in the average of the year. We tried some smaller tours, but mostly we found that ordinary hiking boots would have been the best equipment around Abisko. Surely it would look much different higher up in the mountains. We liked the stay in Abisko, perhaps because we are used to live without a lot of comfortable things that many people like to have during vacation. The atmosphere was fine, and since the Turiststation had only few guests at the moment, even the cook served the dinner at our table by himself.
To get better conditions for skiing, we made day trips to Riksgränsen with the train. The price for a day ticket was rather low. The little village Riksgränsen at the border to Norway has only few houses and a hotel. It is well known to have a lot of snow, so that one even can come for summer skiing. Most of the visitors do downhill skiing.
With our cross-country skis, we could go on a prepared track of 5 km and do short tours on the frozen lake. Since we did not have much experience with freestyle skiing at that time, a horizontal flat place for training was quite fine. In the afternoon we enjoyed a nice cafeteria at the downhill slope. The days went fast, the conditions were not quite the optimum, but we liked it. We had time to talk to other tourists, to a girl from Osaka/Japan, which came from Finland and wanted to go to Norway, to a woman, who had made a tour on the Kungsleden with a pulka, and a group which wanted to do a tour on the Kungsleden. For the rest of the time it was so quiet as we liked it, and we could go to bed early and we slept a lot.
After these days, we went back to Kiruna and Jukkasjärvi. Click here for pictures of Jukkasjärvi and the famous Ice Hotel.