Nils-Matti Vasara

Welcome to Vasara Reindeer Ranch and Glass Igloos

Reindeer have been the source of livelihood in Sámiland since time immemorial, and just as importantly, they are the source of legends, myth, magic and power.

Carrying on the reindeer herding tradition is fundamental to the Sámi culture and identity. You are welcome to the Vasara reindeer ranch, to visit our home and the home base of our reindeer herd.

You'll have a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the exquisite native animals of the Arctic and observe our everyday life at the ranch.


MEET NILS-MATTI - A REINDEER HERDER IN LAPLAND

Some people prefer winter to summer. Reindeer herder Nils-Matti is one of them.

Finnish Lapland is immense. It covers an area larger than the whole of Portugal, but the concept of Lapland is even larger. Many tourists think that they have reached Lapland when they have barely got halfway up Finland. The further north you go, the better you can understand the true meaning of Lapland. As you travel further north along the outstretched “arm” of north-west Finland, the coniferous forest gradually vanishes from the landscape and the birch trees shrink to a metre in height; the fells begin to rise around you in every direction and you find a silence unlike anywhere else on earth. You can see for miles but all you will hear is your own breathing and the snow crunching under your boots. Visit Kilpisjärvi, a small village in Enontekiö, and it’s easy to discover why tourists return year after year.


THE SILENCE OF KILPISJÄRVI SMOOTHS YOUR SOUL

On the fells you can see for miles, but all you will hear is the sound of your own breath and your boots crunching through the snow. The world is like a blue and white silent movie.

Sami Nils-Matti Vasara has lived in Kilpisjärvi all his life – his roots go back 12 generations. Nils-Matti has been to southern Finland only a couple of times and even then not entirely voluntarily. As he sees it, Kilpisjärvi has everything anyone could want in life. Most importantly is the impressive natural landscape from which his family have derived their livelihood for centuries.


ONE OF THE MANY

In Lapland you see reindeer everywhere – by the side of the road, outside your hotel, on the fells, but they aren’t really wild. All reindeer are ear-tagged and belong to one of the reindeer herding cooperatives.


GOGGLES – YOU’LL NEED THEM IN THE BRIGHT SPRING

Kilpisjärvi is at its best for tourists in the spring. When the sun shines, you’re fine on the fells in nothing but a sweater, as the glistening snow reflects the light like a mirror.

Even though the Lapland summer is beautiful, winter is a special time for Nils-Matti. Summer and autumn tend to just go by, resting and awaiting the first snow. It is only after the fells are finally covered in a white blanket that the normal course of life resumes. It is the moment you dig the snowmobile out of the garage to make it easier to travel across the fells.


HERD OF FREE SOULS

Compared to other livestock, reindeer have a pretty good life, spending their life freely wandering the fells.


FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY

Reindeer find it hard to find lichen under the snow, so Nils-Matti delivers hundreds of kilos of silage and dry feed to the fells every day.


NILS-MATTI IN HIS SAMI DRESS

Nils-Matti is one of the Sami, the indigenous population of Lapland. The traditional Sami costume is only worn on ceremonial occasions and denotes the family, area and group of its wearer.


 

 

Mia and Niti

 

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