We visit Niehku Mountain Lodge: a snow-pummelled hideaway in Northern Sweden, and a bucket list destination for nocturnal off-piste skiers and adventure seekers.
Niehku, which in the local native language of Sami means “dream”, is a lodge nestled in the Scandies mountain range outside the Swedish ski resort of Riksgränsen (which directly translated from Swedish means “country border”) a stone throw away from the Norwegian border. To say this place is very far up north is an understatement: it’s so far up that in fact, from mid-Spring until mid-Autumn, the ‘night’ is just a time when light retreats and glares over the horizon.
The lodge itself is resurrected from an old train house (you can still see clearly where the locomotives once parked). Apart from this enchanting structure, whatmakes this place such a dream-like experience? The surrounding mountains? The ever-glowing sun in the summer months? Is it the possibility to ski all year round? It is probably a mix of the three.
The Niehku villa offers all sorts of nature experiences and excursions. But what really makes it stand out is its hell skiing operation, and the vast area of mountains that it operates over. Unlike in The Alps or even in neighbouringNorway, the restrictions on where you are allowed to land are few and – literally – far between. Possibilities are virtually endless, and what directs the helicopter is the mountain guide’s knowledge and experience of finding the best and safest snow.
Bear in mind, you don’t have to be a pro-skier capable of winning free ride competitions with backflips to enjoy the heli skiing here. There are runs for every capability. Bring your family, bring your friends, bring yourself: bring anyone who has at least rudimentary skiing capabilities. And don’t forget the mandatory Swedish coffee and cinnamon bun (‘kanelbulle’) break – known locally as ‘fika’ – on the mountain. I would argue that fika is part of the reason that the Swedes rank so highly on the happiness league tables.
If the weather isn’t on your side, and the helicopters can’t take off, there are plenty of other opportunities: venturing into Norway on skis for example, or exploring the vast area of snowmobiling terrain. Or you can lay back in the award-winning interior, beautifully appointed lodge and enjoy some Swedish sauna and massage experience: or, if not on such a health kick, why not enjoy one of the wines from the restaurant’s extensive cellar?
Many are surprised to find that you don’t have to cross the Atlantic in search ofthe world’s best heli skiing experience: and even if downhill blading in the pristine wilderness isn’t your ‘thing’, at Niehku there’s something for everyone: not least the unbeatable natural scenery – and, indeed, a dream home away from home. You may just have to travel in a straight line, almost directly north from Monaco, into Sweden’s stunning extremities.
€6,200 for 3 days heliskiing per person. Visit niehku.com for more details.