#42 sleeping in a snow room

We landed in Kittila on Christmas Eve and spent one night in the snow village. As hotel guests, we had a guide who took us around the snow village and gave us important tips on how to survive our first night in a snow room. The guide showed us the chapel, the snow rooms, the all-important warm room and patiently taught us how to sleep in a snow room. She showed us how to use the Arctic sleeping bag and where we should place our clothes, coat and boots before going inside our sleeping bags.  She emphasized the importance of keeping our clothes dry and she told us that we should avoid using the toilet in the middle of the night because it would be difficult to stay warm after leaving our sleeping bags. She also reminded us not to put anything on the edges of the bed which were made of ice. The reason was that the ice would melt a little over the course of the night and the objects placed on the ice would be stuck to it. A chisel would be needed to separate the objects from ice and that was a situation that we all wanted to avoid. We listened attentively and shortly after the briefing, we had to choose our own sleeping bags and carried the sleeping bags and pillows to our rooms. The snow room was literally a room with a bed. There was no door to the snow room; there was only a curtain which gave us some degree of privacy. There was no toilet or shower facilities in the room too. The closest toilet from the snow room was in the warm room which was quite far from the rooms. We had to walk down a labyrinth of similar-looking corridors (covered with snow) to get to the warm room. Bags were stored in the storage room and valuables were kept in the lockers. The snow room was literally just for sleeping purposes.

Y and I followed our guide’s instructions and we were careful not to drink any water after 9 pm. We also made sure we used the toilet several times before going to bed. The rooms were somewhat insulated and the temperature inside the building were about 4 degree Celsius which was significantly warmer than the outside (-10 to -15 degree Celsius). Even so, shortly after we laid inside our sleeping bags, our faces felt colder. To cope with the cold, I pulled the drawstring of the sleeping bag such that only my mouth and nose were exposed to the cold. Despite the initial discomfort, I actually slept quite well until the morning call at 9 am. It was quite a nice morning call as well – the staff came into the room, wished me Merry Christmas and gave me a cup of warm cranberry juice. It was not the most comfortable hotel stay but it was definitely a very unique experience.

Fun fact about the snow village: every summer, the snow village will melt. So every year, they will have to build the snow village from scratch and hence it will look a bit different from the previous years. Exactly when they build the snow village each year largely depends on the weather as it needs to be sufficiently cold in order to create a building made entirely of snow.

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