Location: Village of Jukkasjärvi, north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland
In one line, what makes you a PUREist?
I stay true to what I do (past, present and future) with my DNA deeply rooted into the Arctic where I operate.
Tell us your story – how did you get where you are today?
My family has been residing in the same village by the Torne River 200km north of the Arctic circle for over nine generations. I have been working with sled dogs since I was 14 years old and introducing guests to this environment my whole adult life. I got my basic education in the surrounding woods and mountains where sustainable living always was a fundamental part of the culture, instead of something out of the ordinary. I got my Master’s degree living in Alaska one year, completing the world’s most enduring sled dog race: the Iditarod. Apart from that, I have been staying at the same place and doing the same thing my whole life. I recognise I don’t know the whole world but I sure do know my world. And I believe the fact that I so intimately know my surroundings and what they have to offer has given me the ability to adapt and cater for an experience perfectly suitable for guests coming from a completely different context.
Can you share with us your single most life-enriching experience?
Reaching the North Pole with my own born and bred sled dogs together with Prince Albert II of Monaco (the first head of state ever to do so). After more than a year of carefully preparing, planning and producing the expedition (including turning our Arctic wilderness oasis – the Väkkärä Lodge – into the expedition’s training base camp), it was an enormous fulfilment to power through and finally make it happen.
What does the term ‘experiential travel’ mean to you?
I believe that one of the main reasons I keep on doing what I have done my whole life is that it gives me the opportunity to see people go through change, for the better. It is a phenomenal experience to witness, and a very big responsibility to manage. As basically all my guests have an everyday life that is dramatically contrasting to what I offer, there is an inevitable physical and psychological transformation taking place. As this experiential journey traverses several different phases it is crucial to plan and manage them well and always excel when it comes to detail and comfort in a way familiar to the guest, thus somewhat cushioning the overall experience.
So for me, having the best possible quality on logistics and services is not a goal in itself, just a basic need. The key is connection – to be able to connect with a guest, tell them my story and let them experience my world. So one might say that experiential travel is triggered by the outside but really happens on the inside.
“I stay true to what I do (past, present and future) with my DNA deeply rooted into the Arctic where I operate.”
Describe your ideal client: how do they approach travel?
The ideal client is seeking authenticity, reliability and accountability. Preferably in a secluded, private lodge-based stay with an à la carte of activities (dog sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, ice sculpting, wilderness cooking, indigenous Sami culture experience), a private chef mastering the local culinary experiences and the best possible expertise at hand 24/7.
We hope to meet clients that are curious and open-minded in an environment where our family’s been operating for generations. We believe that there is a sense of security and detailed knowledge that only time can teach you. For the same reason we also build our own lodges and camps, we own everything we use and produce and operate everything we offer to experience.
What made you decide to join PURE Life Experiences and how has doing so benefitted your business?
PURE comes highly recommended from both clients and colleagues as THE most suitable marketplace for our product and as this is our first year on board we have high expectations of great meetings and new friends.
What role do you think PURE has to play in the high-end experiential travel industry?
Today, communication is very intensive and voluminous. There is no lack of information; on the contrary there is an excess of information that is – or is not – relevant for the specific need. An incredible valuable asset is to be able to filter the noise and adapt the information to the demand.
What other brands and companies in high-end experiential travel do you admire the most?
As I’ve spent all my professional and private life in a very remote part of the world, in the wilderness – where by definition there are not to many people, brands or companies – I must regretfully admit I do not know of such an outfit.
If there were one thing you could change about the travel industry, what would it be?
I believe travelling already is in full transformation. More and more people open up their minds to stepping out of their comfort zone in search of the extra-ordinary experience. Customers and industry work in symbiosis to venture further onto this path, which is a great development on so many different levels.
Finally, who is your experiential hero?
“Experiential travel is triggered by the outside but really happens on the inside.”
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