Here in the UK we are accustomed to dividing the year into four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter – though sometimes it can feel that we have all four in one day!
Not so in the far north of Swedish Lapland, where the indigenous Sami have traditionally divided the year into not four but eight seasons.
March and April – when snow conditions are still good but the approaching spring brings longer hours of daylight and milder temperatures – is “spring winter”, a wonderful season offering a beguiling combination of the adventure of wintertime and the promise of spring.
For winter mountain activities such as ski touring and mountain dogsled tours, March is really the beginning of the winter season, when conditions become suitable for these activities in the northern mountain regions.
Spring-winter is an ideal time for a winter holiday in Lapland and other parts of northern Sweden, allowing access to stunning mountain areas where conditions are too extreme earlier in the winter season. In the mountains, good snow conditions normally remain until the end of April and into early May, so there is plenty of time to make the most of this winter playground!
If you’re considering getting out and about to discover the joys of Swedish spring-winter for yourself, here are some winter holiday ideas to tempt you:
Those looking for a mountain dog sledding adventure should find Husky Mountain Expedition in Lapland an ideal option. A dogsled tour through the mountain region of Abisko and along the world-famous Kungsleden (or King’s Trail), this is an 8-day winter adventure with accommodation in simple but comfortable mountain cabins along the way as well as a night in a traditional Sami “lavvu”, or tipi.
A lower altitude option also very suitable for a spring-winter tour is Discover Dog Sledding in Lapland, a 4-day tour running in a beautiful landscape of frozen lakes and rivers, suitable for adults or families and offering an ideal taste of the adventure of a longer expedition.
And if driving your own team of huskies is not to your taste, try an unusual alternative steeped in Sami culture and tradition – reindeer sledding!
Lapland is not the only part of Sweden with mountains for spring-winter adventures – a little further south in the county of Jämtland is the location for our most challenging dog sledding experience, Dog Sledding Across Jämtland: an 8-day expedition with wild winter camping ideal as a “next step” tour if you’ve done some dog sledding before and want to extend your mushing and winter mountain skills.
There are few better ways to enjoy the tranquility of the Swedish winter mountain world than ski touring – the pace may be slower under your own steam than with the help of four powerful huskies, but ski touring offers just as much adventure! Extended hut-hut ski touring tours on the Kungsleden are one of the most popular options, while if you have less experience, you should find Discover Mountain Ski Touring in Lapland the ideal introduction to prepare yourself for future expeditions.
Photo: Janey Shemilt
Once again, it is not only the Lapland mountains that beckon ski tourers to discover the delights of spring-winter – the county of Dalarna in the north-west offers world-class ski touring exploring both sides of the Swedish/Norwegian borderland.
However you choose to enjoy spring-winter in northern Sweden, there are few sensations to compare with looking out on across a snow-covered mountain landscape with the warm spring sun on your face. And there are seven other seasons to look forward to as well!
The Nature Travels Team