New Owners of Muotkan Ruoktu

New Owners of Muotkan Ruoktu

Published On: 22 helmikuun, 2024Categories: Yleinen0 Comments on New Owners of Muotkan Ruoktu
Published On: 22 helmikuun, 2024


Published in Inarilainen-magazine

”We know that people love this place” – For the new owners of Muotkan Ruoktu, tourism in Northern Lapland is now their entire life, watch the video from the fell village

The triangular-shaped cabins stand in their places, and the restaurant serves award-winning reindeer stew, acclaimed as the best in Finland. So, is everything as it used to be? Not quite everything, because Muotkan Ruoktu has got new entrepreneurs who keep the fell village open even during the winter season. It is a matter of honor for the successors of Hans Niittyvuopio to cherish Muotka’s illustrious history.

”We are turning a new page in Muotka’s history and starting to write our own story, but continuing the work that Hans did. We want to preserve the spirit of Muotka and hold onto its authentic atmosphere.”

This is how Tunturikylä Muotkan Ruoktu’s new owners, Kinga Jakubowska and Kevin Lietti, assure.

The Polish-French couple bought the business of Muotkan Ruoktu in October from Hans Niittyvuopio, who served as the host of Muotka for nearly 50 years.

Describing themselves as passionate travelers, the couple fell in love with Muotka and the fell village at first sight – not knowing it was for sale at the time.

”We spent a sleepless night in a tent when it was still bright at midnight. There, by the riverbank, we looked around and knew that this is our place,” Kinga Jakubowska recalls moments by the Peltojoki riverbank.

”Now this is our little paradise. We know that people love this place. That’s why we want tourists, both Finnish and foreign, as well as locals, to feel at home here.”

The Polish Kinga and the French Kevin had lived in Ivalo for four years before moving to Muotka. Both had their own existing travel businesses.

Kinga Jakubowska’s company primarily offers adventure trips aimed at women, while Kevin Lietti organizes, for example, snowmobile safaris, some lasting up to a week.

”Traveling and adventuring broaden your horizons. I used to travel around the world. When I returned from a trip where I visited places like Patagonia, I gave up everything else and decided to focus only on tourism,” Kinga explains.

Kevin’s background is in the French special forces, where he worked as a helicopter pilot for 11 years. He plans that with the lessons from the military, he could organize survival courses in Muotka’s wilderness.

”We organize vacations for others as our job. It’s like being on vacation all the time,” Kevin laughs.

During the first few months, the entrepreneurs of Muotkan Ruoktu have done various renovations in the holiday village’s properties. We visit a few cabins, most of which have completely renovated, modern kitchens. The bathrooms have also received a facelift.

Kinga and Kevin call the refurbishment of Muotka a community project. Their friends, family members, local people, and other Muotka enthusiasts have helped the couple in many ways during the first few months.

Just like the previous owner Hans, even though they don’t share a common language with the successors.

”We have never been alone in this process. The reception has been really warm. We have received a lot of encouragement and messages from Southern Finland that people plan to visit. They are happy that Muotka found a successor.”

The association Muotka Ruovttu Ustibat – Friends of Muotkan Ruoktu, founded in 1990, has also taken it upon themselves to facilitate the new entrepreneurs’ early journey.

Also, hunters and dog enthusiasts who have considered Muotka their base for decades have been helpful.

”When we bought this place, we heard that there would be sled dog races here in two weeks, which we have to organize. The dog enthusiasts were really friendly and helped us in many ways,” Kinga appreciates.

The couple repeats several times that they want to preserve the spirit of Muotka and respect the place’s long history, which is evident and encountered everywhere. Not least on the wall of the main building, where Hans Niittyvuopio’s picture watches over them.

”We want to keep the basics the same but add our own fresh ideas into the mix.”

This is evident, for example, on the restaurant’s menu. ”Muotkan Hanssi” has been awarded as the maker of Finland’s best reindeer stew, so the famous Muotka stew was definitely wanted to be kept on offer – or in fact, it was written into the sales contract that it must be kept available.

Otherwise, the new menu combines traditional Lappish dishes with the best aspects of the owners’ home countries, Poland and France. The menu includes, among other things, ”everyone’s favorite” Polish soup and French cheeses and wines.

And of course, local fish. Which one can also cook oneself – over an open fire, of course.

On a January day, the main building of the fell village, the magnificent log cabin, welcomes, among others, Spaniards coming from snowmobiling and French people coming from snowshoeing. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle.

That’s new. Previously, the fell village had kept its doors closed during the winter season, but the new entrepreneurs wanted to expand the operation to year-round. That was one reason why Hans Niittyvuopio decided to sell his life’s work to Kinga and Kevin among many potential buyers.

”I guess we’re a little crazy! But based on just these months, we can say that it was worth making that change. There have been plenty of guests, and most of the activities we organize are mainly winter ones,” the entrepreneurs reflect.

Indeed, there have been plenty of guests. As one example, Kinga mentions that as soon as the polar night began, a group of four women from New Caledonia arrived. From an island that is almost as far from Finnish Lapland as it can be.

”They loved being here, and the polar night didn’t bother them at all. They promised to come back in the summer. Many others have also said they want to see this place in all seasons.”

Every word and every action radiate enthusiasm for the new venture and the new way of life. They have come to stay in the northwest of Inari municipality.

That’s new too because the couple has never settled down anywhere before. For example, neither of them has ever bought their own apartment. Until the anchor was dropped in Muotka’s lands.

”Hopefully, this will be a lifelong journey for us. We should at least make it to 50 years and surpass Hans,” they laugh.

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