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Snow safari in Lapland

Chill out with some unusual winter sports

From CNN's Richard Quest

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ROVANIEMI, Finland (CNN) -- The capital of Finnish Lapland is emerging as an international business destination, but it's also a great place to try out some strange winter sports.

My safari starts with man and snow machine.

Driving a snowmobile is easy, I'm told. Famous last words its seems, as it's not too long before before machine has got the better of man, and I'm lying sprawled in the white stuff.

No harm done, and soon I was really motoring. There's so much to see in Lapland once you join the reindeer trails.

But it's easy to get over confident -- especially when things are going well, and you take your eye off the track.

Before long I was stuck in the snow, unable to wrestle my machine free -- machine had clearly beaten man.

I had better luck with man's best friend -- in the shape of Arctic husky dogs.

There are 10 huskies in a train. They can run more than 50 kilometers a day and a top dog is worth thousands of dollars.

My "musher", or sled driver, Husky Dundee, commands the dogs with a few well chosen words. From my unusual seating position low on the sled, I can feel the awesome power of these animals.

But I'm not a passenger for long. For the 150 euros I paid to ride in the sledge, I also get a chance to drive the dogs.

Sadly, it's not long before I've stalled again.

So from dogs, I move on to bigger beasts and a very unusual winter sport -- being dragged around a paddock by a water-ski rope tied to the back of a horse.

But I am missing one animal from my Arctic zoo: the reindeer.

With 100,000 reindeers in Lapland, they are not hard to find -- one for every man, woman and child who lives here -- and I'm soon riding in a sleigh that would suit Santa down to the ground.

The reindeer experience is a gentle ride -- more grand tour than grand prix -- but don't be fooled, reindeers have turbo power too, and I finish my Arctic safari just as I began, slightly out of control.

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