It takes no little amount of courage to commit to spending a night on ice. Some have already planned a spot on the mantelpiece for the diploma that says you survived a night in minus five before boarding the plane to Kiruna. Others are more hesitant about the idea to sleep in a hotel made of ice and snow.
ICEHOTEL only exists for some four months every winter, but during that intense period, people from over 80 countries around the world will travel to Jukkasjärvi to sleep on ice. But what is it really like, and how does it work?
Most people who stay in the hotel enjoy it. The snow has an insulating effect that makes it silent and tranquil, and when you switch of the lights at the headboard, the room turns dark in a way that only people living in very remote areas experience these days.
But isn’t it freezing cold?
The trick is to keep the core temperature of your body warm, but slightly lower than normal – that goes for good sleep anywhere, not just at ICEHOTEL. The beds might be made of ice, but there’s a regular mattress, covered with an insulating reindeer skin so it’s not as cold as one might think.
The staff supplies you with an expedition sleeping bag and there is a “survival course” held every evening at the hotel, during which the guides explain what to wear and how to use the features of the sleeping bag in order to retain as much heat as possible. Here’s a tip; sleep in your thermal underwear, thin wool socks and a comfy cap.
In the morning, you’re woken up with hot lingonberry juice on tap.
When it’s time to go to bed, you pick up a sleeping bag from the reception staff and head for your room. Don’t forget to make a visit to the bathroom before heading into the hotel, because you don’t want to do that once you’re tucked into the warm sleeping bag (trust us on this). The sleeping bags are made for temperatures as low as -25° C (-13° F); but the temperature inside the hotel never drops below -5 °C (23° F), so they are more than sufficient to keep you warm.
In the morning, you’re woken up with hot lingonberry juice on tap. After an invigorating morning sauna and a hearty breakfast buffet, you are ready to start a day filled with winter adventures that is set to keep your circulation going.