What It’s Like Working the Winter Season in Lapland


With every new day, there is a new adventure that awaits when working as a safari/wilderness guide in Lapland.

Antonin Van Der Gulik & Ewa Buczek

Winter in Finnish Lapland is an experience none will forget, and all will tell stories about. To experience it as a tourist or someone on holiday is one thing, but to experience it as someone who uses the elements of the Arctic tundra for work, I think is completely different. Because not only are you using the surroundings for fun and entertainment, but you’re also using them to create fun and entertainment for others. To see the looks of enthusiasm and joy on the faces of customers after guiding them through a “Winter Wonderland” experience is a wholesome sight.

Hands-on Experience in Snowy Lapland

Lucky for us, attending the ‘Outdoor Adventure Education’ program at HUMAK University of Applied Sciences enhanced our opportunities to experience this type of work environment. Hence, we were given 3-4 months during our studies to complete our Practical Training. Which means receiving hands-on experience by working for an outdoor tourism company; and with determination we both received the chance to work as safari/wilderness guides. So, we took it!

Image of four people on a snowshoe trek on the Pieni Karhunkierros in Oulanka National Park.
Snowshoe trek on the Pieni Karhunkierros in Oulanka National Park. Photo: Antonin Van Der Gulik

Most would say working as safari/wilderness guides is not a job where you can just party all night, not sleep at all, show up in the morning, and perform well. This is hard, physical, and demanding work. The standard workday could consist of anything from a 2-hour snowshoe hike along with 5 hours of snowmobile guiding, to 8 hours of teaching arctic survival skills and then onto a 3-hour aurora hunt experience. Not easy work. But already, after just a few days on the job you will learn to think 1 or 2 steps ahead, communicate between co-workers, stay focused, have spare warm clothes, and be prepared for anything. If you know and have these skills, you’ll be alright.

Image of a snowmobile safari in Levi, Lapland.
Snowmobile safari in Levi. Photo: Ewa Buczek

Every Day Is a New Adventure

Now, for whoever is reading this, we know it sounds stressful and a bit like a nightmare. But there is always a good side to everything. In our case, it could be walking through the snowy forest to work, seeing the winter sun in the sky, experiencing the polar night, and knowing that with every new day, there is a new adventure that awaits. As well as having the chance to work in a very isolated location where people spend most of their savings to visit. We have it for free, every single day.

But the best part is that you can’t do this job alone. It requires a lot of teamwork: with other guides, office workers, bus drivers, and everyone else helping us provide these services along the way. This “sharing part” makes us belong to a small, magical universe that only people working in this field and conditions will understand.

When we arrived in Finland, everyone was talking about Lapland with this spark in their eye that we couldn’t really understand. But after working here for the season, we have that sparkle too.

Blog by Antonin Van Der Gulik & Ewa Buczek

Last modified: April 4, 2022