Wow, where do I begin? Remote? VERY. On the edge of your comfort zone? VERY. One of the most amazing experiences you can have? Absolutely!
Going in the dead of winter was the plan. We wanted the experience of being out of contact with the world for a few days. Secluded. Alone. We wanted to see the Northern Lights.
We arrived at the airport in Kiruna in -28c. You disembark the airplane on the tarmac so the cold was a smack in the face...prepare.
We were met and shuttled to the main office in Kiruna (the city that will soon be moved..yes, the ENTIRE city..but that is another story) Met the office ladies, paid for our excursions and got the cold weather gear. NOTE: they didn't tell us that all the gear we needed-snowmobile snowsuit, boots, gloves, hats, socks, goggles-would be provided. So you can pack a little lighter if you are coming in winter.
Then onward to the snowmobile shed outside of town. The guide pulled up in a snowmobile with a sled attached to the back. It was filled with snow! He dug out what he could, put our bags in and we hopped in and off we went. it was around -30, near 2pm and getting dark. We traveled through the forest, through the most beautiful, rugged country until we got to the river.
The river is (URL HIDDEN) looks like a lake. In the middle of winter it is frozen a meter thick..but traveling over it still freaks you out for a while..knowing that you ARE ON A RIVER IN A SNOWMOBILE.
He drove us right up to the cabin. Unloaded, a quick tour of the place- where we could find extra wood, where the water hole was -yes, no running water!!! You get your water from the river. There is a hole cut out in the ice for you to fill your container. Make sure the guide get you at the least two containers per day for your use...you don't realize how much water you use until you have to carry it from a frozen river. Showed us how to turn on the sauna (totally necessary out here) and pointed down the river and told us where our pick up location for the tour to the Ice Hotel was...sort of..NOTE: you have to walk 1km on the frozen river to the road for your pick up if you book one. They do not pick you up at the cabin!
I have outdoors training and experience...if you don't, this isn't for you. You need to know how to make fire, strong enough to carry wood and water, long walks, and solitude. This isn't "glamping"..this is the real deal.
Oh, and by the way..it got to -40! No kidding..
-They screwed up our reservation and we didn't get the cabin that we paid for. We got a smaller one.
-No Aurora-its actually not a given.
-You have to bring in your own food.
Going back? Absolutely!