GALLERY: Discovering Lapland’s snow monsters

The weight of crown snow on spruce and pine trees bends them into shapes resembling snow monsters in Lapland.

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Snow shelter, Riisitunturi National Park, Lapland / Credit: Paul Stevens

Riisitunturi National Park in Posi, eastern Lapland, is famous for its snow-burdened trees during the winter months.

Crown snow, or tykky in Finnish, forms in lawyers from cooled water droplets in fog that freeze on contact with the trees, and from snowfall – especially from the wetter snow of a warm front.

In late winter the burden on a spruce tree can be up to four tonnes – making the landscape look as if the trees are giant snow monsters, lumbering across the Lapland fells.

The weight of crown snow is enough to bend and reshape even the strongest of spruce and pine trees – and spruce trees in tykky areas have adapted to this weight burden by growing shorter branches to give a thinner candle shape than southern spruces.

This gallery of Lapland’s snow monsters comes from the lens of Espoo-based wildlife photographer Paul Stevens.