Have you heard of ice-karting? Probably not, unless you happen to live in some winter sports wonderland. Even a google search for “ice-karting” just brings up a bunch of (totally awesome) YouTube videos.
Which leads me to believe ice-karting is the most amazing as-yet undiscovered adventure activity. The name is fairly self-explanatory: It’s go-karting, except on ice. You use a tricked up 4 wheel drive go kart and slide and slip and run into snowbanks, it’s essentially a real life MarioKart.
When I arrived in Saariselka, a popular ski resort town 250 km north of the arctic circle, our first stop was Actionpark, a company that merges the area’s plentiful ice and snow with that irrepressible desire to drive things really really fast. They are only open from October-March when the cold weather makes everything slippery and awesome.
Now I have this weird phobia about go-karting stemming from when I was a kid and accidentally started driving my car backwards on the little go go race track. It’s not a skill of mine. I don’t even like bumper cars because I always end up wedged in some corner getting smashed repeatedly. So I was maybe not the most enthusiastic prospective ice-karter ever, but I’ll try most anything once.
First I needed to suit up including a full orange bodysuit, gloves, boots, a ski mask and a helmet. Night was falling but the only part of my body visible to the air were my eyeballs. I was strapped in and given my only real instructions: left foot break, right foot gas, don’t get out of the kart.
With a compression of my right food I was off! Karting, as it turned out, was totally awesome. You zoom and skid around the race track, watching out for snow banks. 15 minutes whizzed right by. Every once in awhile someone would crash into the snow and need to be pulled out by the safety golf cart, but I managed to stay on track the entire time, and even pulled the fastest lap time of the group.
After I trudged back up the hill, the guys at ActionPark has another surprise for me, the chance to ride in their rally car. I was strapped in, helmeted up and the driver took the car along a quick track covered in snow and ice. Every time he hit the breaks we swung and skidded across the ice and I laughed hysterically (what? That’s what I do in adrenaline pumping situations- roller coasters too).
Afterwards they gave me a copy of my rally car ride video (which I will try to get uploaded asap in case anyone wants to see me giggling like a maniac). I left freezing cold, slightly dizzy and with a newfound need to speed.
Would you try Ice Karting?
I visited Inari as a guest of Visit Finland and Northern Lapland Tourism in conjunction with Navigate Media Group